“Objective Evidence” Can Help Win the Marketer’s Case
by Stan Hazen
If you’re a marketer or seller of anything—whether it’s a consumer or a B2B product or service, and whether it’s inexpensive or extremely costly—you’re often going to be dealing with potential customers who aren’t going to take your word for how great your product is. They’ll want more proof. They’ll want some type of “objective evidence.”
It’s like you’re the plaintiff in the “court of the marketplace,” and the customer is the judge. (Or if it’s a group purchase decision, they’re the jury.) For them to rule in favor of your product or service, they’re going to want to hear independent, unbiased evidence that supports your case.
It’s not that customers are totally uninterested in what you have to say. They do want to hear your description of your product’s features or benefits and your claims of its strengths or advantages. But they’re not necessarily going to believe everything you say, nor will they feel that they have the full, objective story. Your competitors are making similar claims about their own products.
You shouldn’t take customers’ distrust personally. It’s just their natural sense of skepticism. There’s always risk in buying something, and there’s almost always some level of distrust of anyone selling something.
The degree of risk in purchase decisions can range from slight to huge. And there are many types of risk, such as:
- Risk that the product or service won’t do the job, or it won’t do it as well as you need it to.
- Risk that it’s not worth the price paid.
- Risk of significant financial loss.
- Risk that the product doesn’t work and that time and effort are wasted, and that you’ll have to go through it all again with a different product.
- Risk that you’ll miss out on your only window of opportunity.
- Risk that your purchase decision will be criticized or viewed negatively by others.
- Possible risk to your job or career (when making large and important B2B buying decisions).
If a customer can find evidence that they consider to be somewhat objective or independent, it can help reduce their feeling of risk and increase their confidence in their buying decision.
Here are some types of at least “quasi-objective evidence” that can be positive influences on customers’ buying decisions:
- Recommendation or referral from someone they know and trust
- User reviews
- Testimonials from users
- Free trial or sample
- Product demonstration
- Product tests or research results
- Compelling customer stories or case studies
- Reviews by professional reviewers
- Independent side-by-side product comparisons
- Awards from recognized groups or organizations
- Excellent and responsive service
- Easy return policy
- Excellent warranty
- Company or product “transparency”
- Brand/Company reputation or recognition as an industry leader
- Strong brand and advertising awareness
If a marketer or seller can help provide some positive objective evidence, or point a customer to it, it can help sway the customer’s decision. And if the customer happens to find this evidence on their own—through their own research or investigation—it’s even more powerful.
Do tell your marketing story and make your pitch—and make it as compelling as possible. But remember that some supporting objective evidence can often be critical in helping win a positive decision.
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