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What is reference marketing and when do you need it?

For certain types of consumer products or services, brand ambassadors play a key role in spreading the word.Companies that sell products like vodka, headphones or makeup, or organizations promoting events build buzz with brand ambassadors who interact with selected demographic groups. To succeed, these ambassadors must be credible, authentic and trusted by their audiences.When it comes to B2B marketing, the goals are similar – building awareness and credibility, moving to relationships and sales – but a stylish spokesperson alone can’t do the job. Because most B2B products are complex – and often represent a big budget commitment for purchasers – their stories must be told with much more detail.

Customer reference marketing is the art of telling these stories in a dynamic, compelling way, showcasing one customer’s experience with your product. This helps other prospects and customers learn more about your product, and the capabilities and benefits it provides. The customer you choose to showcase is in effect your brand ambassador.

Telling a B2B story is a lot more complex, though, than recommending a flavor of bourbon or a nightclub. But when it’s done right, it’s one of the most powerful ways to build awareness and sales.
Some organizations manage large reference programs, producing dozens of reference cases per year, in multiple languages. Reference programs can also be quite small – just one or two reference stories per year can be very effective.

We will expand on this topic in a series of articles on customer reference marketing. Watch this space for information on how to launch a customer reference program, how to maintain one, how to select customers to profile, and lots more.

Want to see a customer reference case in action? Read about Storeganizer here, and the launch of its innovative, flexible solution for warehouse storage. Storeganizer’s small management team recognized a need for marketing strategy and support, so they looked for a marketing partner to give the launch the lift-off it required.
The results: 18 qualified leads in 17 days. Now that’s a compelling story! 

 

whitepaper winning customer reference program

Anne-Mie Vansteelant
Anne-Mie Vansteelant
COO | Managing Partner at Living Stone

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