There was a time when most would have said putting the word credible in front of marketing is an oxymoron much like jumbo shrimp or organized mess. At the same time, companies, or their agencies, developed ads that stretched the truth or made claims that were too far from reality. And even today, there is a frightening tendency to over promise and under deliver as I’ve outlined in one of my rants.
But, what has clearly changed is when you deceive your customers in some way, it’s easy for them to tell the world through social media what issues they had with your product or service. And then, all future promises will be viewed with a high degree of skepticism that will be difficult to overcome. Think about it. If you buy a product that promises to deliver X and everyone knows it does not, then those same people are very unlikely to believe their next claim even if it’s 100% true.
With that in mind, do you think credible marketing is an oxymoron or the new reality?
Credible can be defined as “worthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy.” In today’s skeptical environment, would this not be a great attribute for your brand and marketing efforts to have? Ensuring everything your company does is trustworthy, or credible, is crucial if you want to build lifelong relationships with your customers. That’s why I argue that your third core marketing strategy needs to build credibility with your marketing efforts to engage prospects and create brands that people trust.
There’s no question that it takes time to build a trustworthy brand in the marketplace. So how can you start to prove yourself as credible to prospective customers? First, creating valuable content that your audience finds helpful and educational. Prospects will continue to engage with you if they see you as a valuable and trustworthy resource.
Since I’ve already written a lot about compelling content (here, here and here), in some upcoming blog posts, I want to explore other strategies and ideas for how you can build credibility with your marketing:
- Be a Thought Leader: Sharing the valuable content you create will help you become a thought leader in your industry. You can speak at conferences or get quoted in articles to help raise your profile with your target audience. Focus on communicating how you can help solve your market’s problems in a compelling way so you will get calls from editors to be quoted as a subject matter expert and invited to speak by conference organizers.
- Submit, and Hopefully Win, Awards from a Third-party: There are clearly different types of awards, but winning one that has been judged by a panel of experts, quickly raises the awareness of your company and provides strong third-party validation of your products or services. Promote these awards to increase your credibility.
- Earn Endorsements from Industry Influencers: It’s clear that earning endorsements from industry influencers such as bloggers, editors or analysts help but it’s a lot harder to secure that validation. It also takes a lot of time to work towards this endorsement but the credibility it gives you is worth it.
- Associate Yourself with Trusted Brands: There is a certain truth in the saying that you are judged by the company that you keep. Developing strong partnerships with trusted brands will not only increase your credibility but will also lead to sales opportunities with customers that may not have considered your offerings before.
- Build or Participate in a Community: Prospects trust what their peers and/or friends say most of all. You need to find the relevant communities where these conversations are taking place and then listen and participate in a helpful way. In industries where there is no focused community, you could start one and invite other companies to join you as well.
The good news is that you don’t need to execute on all of these strategies to increase your credibility. You need to pick the ones that will have the greatest impact with your audience. The even better news is that with the multitude of tactics and tools available to marketers you can definitely implement many with a limited budget but a lot of hard work.
This post contains some of the initial strategies that you should consider to make your marketing more credible. I will explore how to execute on them in more detail over coming weeks but, in the meantime, let me know what you would do or have done to make your marketing more credible.