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Marketing & Sales
Mar 7, 2017

Proof Points: Walking The Talk

Sponsored Content provided by Jim Ellis - Vice President, Account Director, Signal

The Oxford Dictionary named “post-truth” the international word of 2016, leading The Washington Post to declare truth dead and facts, passé.
 
We contend that the truth is very much alive and that it is vital to successful messaging in this data-driven world. As a marketing professional, you can’t just say your company is the best; you must show it with relevant proof points backing up every claim.
 
Here’s how you demonstrate your company can “walk the talk.”

The Basics

The world is awash in marketing “noise.” Every day, hundreds of product claims batter potential customers, making them jaded and distrustful. Our collective craving for authenticity in marketing has increased. To rise above the din, marketers must offer compelling evidence that what they say is true, in the form of the proof point.
 
“Think of it as a ‘don’t just take our word for it’ statement,” offers a recent article.
 
With just a few words and some data points, you can succinctly address customer challenges, solutions you delivered and the results satisfied customers received. The first step is choosing the right proof points – those which are thoughtfully targeted to a specific audience and need.

Choosing Proof Points

There are essentially two main types of proof points worth having in your messaging platform or marketing data library.
 
#1 Quantitative: Using numbers and statistics
The attention span of the average customer has decreased from 12 seconds in 2000 to only 8.25 seconds in 2015 – less than a goldfish. That means we need to get the point across fast. What better way than with a strong fact or figure?
 
Examples:
  • Have participated in 4,500 product launches since 2012
  • Trials show that using our product offers an average of 12 percent increase in ROI.
 
#2 Qualitative: Featuring third-party validation
This type of evidence draws upon awards, certifications, reviews and testimonials. Proof points from industry organizations are valuable, as are figures gleaned from trials, surveys and market analysis.
 
Customer testimonials, of course, are always effective – with good reason. Research shows that 78 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations.
 
Examples:
  • Voted #1 in the industry five years in a row.
  • “This was the best product I ever used, and here’s why…”

The Dos And Don’ts Of Proof Points

No matter how you’re using proof points, keep these dos and don’ts in mind.
 
Do…
  • Keep your message short and sweet.
  • Use infographics to appeal to love of visuals. People are 80 percent more likely to read content that includes colored visuals!
  • Gear messaging toward product benefits. What’s in it for the customer?
 
Don’t…
  • Force proof points where they don’t fit.
  • Rely on only one type of proof point (figures, testimonials, etc.).
  • Forget to target your proof points to a specific audience or communication.
Jim Ellis has over 20 years of experience in marketing strategy and implementation throughout a variety of industry sectors. Since 1999 he has been with Signal, a digital agency based in Wilmington and Raleigh, North Carolina. Signal has proven strengths serving as the “local agency” for global companies, generating solid results in web design, brand identity, mobile app development, digital strategy and more. Jim provides counsel to many of the agency’s largest clients with an eye toward integrated communications and a vast knowledge of both traditional and modern practices. As a songwriter and musician with a business degree, he believes his artistic/corporate “dual personality” gives him added perspective to be an effective liaison between clients and Signal’s talented creative team. Originally from Ohio, Jim graduated from the University of Richmond with a B.S. in Business Administration.
 

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