Proof Points – Walking the Talk
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 have to SHOW it with relevant proof points backing up every claim. Here’s how you demonstrate that your company can walk the talk.
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?
- Have participated in 4,500 product launches since 2012.
- Trials show that using our product offers an average of 12% 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.
- Voted #1 in the industry by 5 years in a row.
- “This was the best product I ever used, and here’s why…”
The Do’s and Don’ts of Proof Points
No matter how you’re using proof points, keep these do’s and don’ts in mind.
- Keep your message short and sweet.
- Use infographics to appeal to love of visuals. People are 80% more likely to read content that includes colored visuals!
- Gear messaging toward product benefits. What’s in it for the customer?
- 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.
Need more? Reach out for more ideas about how to find and use your organization’s unique proof points.