When it comes to ranking the most credible forms of advertising, word of mouth always comes out on top. That’s because we trust people we know more than experts we don’t know.
Why don’t customers believe the experts?
Americans have always been a little skeptical of experts and the theories (or facts) they espouse. In fact, there’s a theory called the “backfire effect” that suggests some people become even more convinced they are right when experts give them evidence disproving their beliefs.
For that reason, it’s often better to let your product’s story be told by a third party with whom a potential customer can identify. That third party may not be a university professor, but if he or she has worked in the trenches—perhaps just like your customer—then that person is granted automatic credibility.
Context and Credibility
Presenting your story in the form of a case study provides potential customers the ability to not only understand the product, but also redefine their expectations. Rather than believe a manufacturer’s claims, which could be seen as hype, prospective customers often find it easier to believe the claims of an independent third party.
Case Studies Are Hallway Discussions at an Industry Conference
When asked in surveys why they attend industry conferences, respondents gave “networking” as their No. 1 reason. Anyone who attends many industry conferences knows that participants often spend more time in the exhibit area than in formal workshops and presentations.
Why? For the same reason case studies are powerful marketing approaches. People want to talk with others with whom they can relate and identify. They want to walk through the challenge, decision and outcome with someone like themselves.
Experts can sometimes make customers wary. But a customer’s best friend in the industry can be the most effective salesman you’ve even had.