Mission Impossible? Customer Reference Initiatives

Oct 8, 2010

Welcome to our first post on HiTechPR’s new blog on trends in PR and marketing. The blog will be hosted by Mark Bruce, HiTechPR’s president, along with members of the HiTechPR team and occasional guests. This blog will serve as a platform for analyzing PR objectives, strategies, tactics, measurement (and rants) across the product and service spectrum. For starters, we're exploring what has become a Herculeon task in technology PR: finding enthusiastic customers willing to be references or public champions in support of your sales and marketing programs. It's not that your clients aren't evangelical—it's that they are often stymied by No Vendor Endorsement rules or multi-department approval processes. One 30-year PR veteran recently told me, "I don't even try to convince my customers to talk to analysts or the media. It's impossible!"  I agree. It's impossible—but it has to be done. More to follow...


Customer Reference Trends

Oct 6, 2010

So, why is it so difficult to get customers to talk to analysts or the media? After all, management teams purchase consulting services, software and new technologies after checking references. Right? Most PR and marketing professionals know that reference based PR activities reduce marketplace uncertainty, attract new customers and build product and company credibility. They also shorten the sales cycle.

There are several trends here including customer resistance to participating in reference programs; the use of Internet-based multimedia portals aimed at reducing reference burnout; more customers using the Internet as a forum operating beyond corporate control, and a growing push to formalize reference initiatives. As this blog progresses, I’ll include recommendations about how organizations can increase customer buy-in and new ideas focused on how references can be used to support marketing efforts, media and analyst relations. I hope, if this topic interests you, you’ll share your insights with us as well... MB