Marketing Through Example

Cross posted from my first blog at Medium:

While I was growing up, a popular TV commercial I remember was for The Hair Club for Men and featured their President, Sy Sperling, showing how he was both head of the company, and also a client:

Sy’s commercial exemplifies a powerful, yet surprisingly rare marketing approach where one shows your usage of the same product or service that you provide to customers. In this case, you become your own testimonial.

Being your own customer obviously doesn’t work for every kind of product or service. For example, startup companies that provide solutions for much larger corporations in a different industry might have trouble showing them selves as an exemplar. Maybe your startup is a software company that provides plant maintenance visualization for oil & gas refineries. It might be difficult to show how you use your own software to manage your own operations.

Over the years, I’ve run across some great examples of self-testimonials in business software marketing:

1. In the 1990’s, Microsoft was famous for “eating its own dog food” in development of Windows NT.

2. In 2005 to 2006, Oracle marketing ran a campaign showing how their enterprise software helped their own IT transform from multiple regional organizations to a single globally accountable IT organization.

3. In the last few years, SAP’s SAP runs SAP campaign show’s how SAP itself is benefitting from business transformation as a result of running its own solutions such as SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA.

You and your solutions gain a lot of credibility if you become your own testimonial. Take the time to develop your own story in a compelling way so that your customers can see how they too can benefit from your offerings.

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