How to Engage with Customers to Elevate Your Brand
Image by Charles Deluvio
Nailing down a customer for your PR program can be tough, but garnering coverage with your most vocal influencers is a home run. Customers validate and add color to your story, and oftentimes reporters require that third-party reference to help make a case for their article. When you hear that there’s a possibility to bring on a customer to support PR, check out these tips to ensure you get the most out of your customer engagement.
Build a relationship first – Set up an introductory call between the customer contact and PR team with the goal of understanding the customer’s business objectives. By knowing your customer’s priorities, the PR team can secure media opportunities with their goals in mind, which benefits both parties. For example, if the reporter’s story focuses on promoting a customer’s key message or storyline, the customer is more likely to participate. Additionally, in an intro call, you can walk the customer through the PR process and reiterate the details that come with pitching customer opps (e.g. data is everything).
Know your options – It’s important to understand the goal of the customer reference. In PR, there are multiple ways to work with a customer whether its placing a case study in a highly targeted publication, validating momentum or offering a perspective on an upcoming product launch.
Utilizing customers in news announcements for quotes — and if you’ve warmed them up to it, speaking directly to the media — is a good way to add in that third party validation for launches. When the news is mutually beneficial, for example if customers can highlight how they’re innovating with technology, it’s more likely that they’ll be keen to participate in your news.
When looking to work with customers on telling use cases, keep in mind the goal is to show the great work they’re doing, highlighting how your solution is responsible for making that happen. For clients Splunk and Talend, we secured a mention in The Wall Street Journal of how their joint customer Domino’s Pizza is leveraging data management and analytics in alerting customers with order updates. As another example, Datanami published a feature about how Western Union leverages our client Cloudera to fight the fraud in its digital money transfer business. Customer coverage can also be a contributed article, such as this byline in DZone by Coastal Community Credit Union that details their use of Quest Software’s unified endpoint solution KACE.
Think beyond media – Some customers may be unable to participate in a media interview. That’s OK. See if your customer contact would be willing to do a joint speaking session at a conference, submit a case study for an award or participate in a social media campaign. PR can point reporters toward those resources and use the assets to further tell the story.
Another way to encourage customer engagement is by showcasing their case studies in company blog posts. This is a great way to get them familiar with working with your team, but with a method that isn’t as daunting as speaking with the media. The company blog is a great place to highlight customers and point audiences across social channels.
Quality over quantity – Sometimes it’s best to aim for one great media opportunity vs. pitching many different opportunities. Getting the customer to agree to one interview is easier, plus it’s less of a time commitment and is an easier sell to their corporate marketing teams.
We’d love to hear your tips on customer engagement (or if you’ve tried this and still have trouble). We are here to help. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.