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  Reference Point
  a newsletter for customer reference professionals
  October 2010
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IN THIS MONTH'S ISSUE:

  1. Customer video 2.0.
  2. Information About Workshops
  3. Links to job openings, local reference meetings

Customer video 2.0.

What will that look like? How can you give your customer videos a jump on your competitors'? It's worthwhile thinking about these questions, because customer videos are proving to be powerful tools for engaging visitors to websites and generating qualified leads, and we're only beginning to tap their potential. It's an exciting area, and it will reward innovation.

To get a great glimpse into the power and the future of this medium, i highly recommend this video by TED's Chris Anderson--it's one of the best TED videos I've seen (which is saying something), and although it's subject is the impact video can have on innovation, trust me, there's a great deal here for those who make customer videos.

Here then, are some thoughts on how customer videos will evolve in the near future and more fully realize their potential:

  1. Video will do more to convey the customer's emotion.

    This isn't just about showing the customer is happy or pleased. It means thinking through, "What was the underlying emotional driver that caused him or her to buy--and that presumably your firm has delivered on?" And every experienced sales person knows that it was an emotional driver that caused the customer to buy. It might be a sense of reduced stress because your solution enables so much more productivity than the one they had before. Or a sense of security because yours is more dependable. High production values, music and other devices don't convey this nearly as well as the customer himself, unscripted, talking in the moment about this with real feeling. Here's a great example, which I blogged about recently.

  2. Video will SHOW what your solution did.

    So many videos have the customers just telling what happened--hardly the best use of a medium that's so adept at showing! It may seem difficult to show what a complex technological solution does, in a way that can be quickly grasped by a prospect who knows very little about it--but I think leading edge firms will starts cracking that code. Management consultants have grown extremely skilled at creating process visuals--illustrated charts, diagrams, and so forth--that convey the gist of complex concepts in ways the mere text descriptions can never match. And video should be able to take that up a notch. Check Chris's TED video for (mid way through or so) showing scientists how to conduct a complex biological experiment--which provides a much more effective way to communicate the process than a text description.

  3. Customer videos will facilitate idea-sharing.

    Why not encourage your customer communities to share ideas using video? Among the many benefits of this to your product development people, you would likely get additional footage that would make terrific testimonials. Toward the end of Chris's video is a particularly inspiring example of how this can work--and it comes from poor villagers in Africa who used video to share ideas on improving the efficiency of their once primitive food growing efforts. It will bring tears to your eyes.

  4. Customer videos will help qualify the buyer.

    Some customer videos could do more to qualify the buyer and make sure she gets to the videos and other information on your website that are most relevant to her situation. Instead of relying on a system of website categories and links that require the customer to navigate her way to the right video, why not provide an elegant and entertaining video that does the work for her? Something like this Groundswell winning video used by marketing intelligence firm Eloqua--and think how much more effective it might be if peers of the buyer--that is, your customers--were guiding him through the process.

  5. Customer videos will interact with the buyer.

    Marketing departments will regard the video as one part of the engagement process, which accelerates the buyer to deeper and more intimate engagement with the firm. After getting the buyer emotionally involved, providing compelling information and substantial value, he'll want more. Videos can interact with him to determine where he would like to go next: to a teleconference, demo, event, online community, etc.

All the best,

Bill Lee, President
Customer Reference Forum and Customer Strategy Group
Author of the forthcoming Harvard Business Review Book, The Hidden Wealth of Customers

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