Credibility: 9 elements that help make your marketing claims more believable


Lance Armstrong cheated. Manti Te’o didn’t have a girlfriend. Heck, a Subway footlong isn’t even 12 inches long. Face it — we live in a fairly uncredible age.

Which is, of course, a major challenge for marketers trying to communicate the value of their products.

That’s why, in the MECLABS Value Proposition Development online course, Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, teaches about the importance of communicating with credibility.

After all, you can create an extremely appealing and exclusive value proposition. But, if no one believes it, it is essentially worthless.

“If your value statements are not believable, then you have nothing more than an ‘As Seen on TV’ gimmick product,” said Adam Lapp, Associate Director of Optimization and Strategy, MECLABS.  “They may work, but you don’t really know until you try. And usually they don’t.”

So, how do you overcome skeptical consumers?

“For your words to be believable, you need to be transparent, specific, and show some proof you are telling the truth,” Adam says.

Let’s look at some proof you can provide …


#1. Testimonials

These can come from customers or industry experts, but having people who do not have any skin in the game and will not profit from your product or service talking about how good it is helps your entire offer become much more believable.


#2. Case studies

Richer than a testimonial, this deep dive shows exactly how others have benefited from your product.


#3. Press

Media reports are also a credibility indicator, and are more powerful the more prestigious the news organization is.


#4. Social media

The Web 2.0 of testimonials, they have the benefit of happening in an unsolicited fashion, making them even more believable. Just be careful how you display them. If you’re simply allowing a stream of social media, an overwhelming amount of negative comments could hurt you.


#5. Negative comments

That doesn’t mean you don’t want any negative comments at all. If you are naturally and credibly showing customer feedback, some people won’t like your product. Some people don’t like everything. Even if nine out of 10 dentists recommend Super Spiffy Dental Floss, there’s always that “10th dentist” who doesn’t like it …

Some people complain about your product for legitimate reasons. And then, for others, their favorite team lost the playoffs, they got into an argument with their wife, and then they see your offer and just rip into your product for no good reason.

Either way, treat them transparently and honestly, and you will help improve your company’s credibility in your customers’ eyes.


#6. Reviews

Give your customers a clear way to express what they like about your products (and, per above, what they do not). Not only does this show the value of products from your customers’ peers, but it can help you identify and fix or pull defective products, further increasing your credibility.


#7. People

And not just your customers, but the people that work for you. Faceless Megacorporation is not very credible. But Marcy is — especially if she is constantly and publicly interacting with your customers through blog posts, social media, and the like.


#8. Industry awards

Everybody loves a winner. The more credible the award, the more that credibility rubs off on your product offerings. The less credible the award, the more it makes customers question your products.


#9. Specifics

Let’s get down to brass tacks. It’s one thing to say the computer you’re selling is “fast.” It’s quite another to explain exactly how long it will take to perform certain tasks (according to third-party benchmarks, naturally). Even if your computer is quite speedy, fast is a relative term. There are always people who will disagree.

This brings us to the title of this blog post. I didn’t call it, “An easy way to get your customers to buy tons of stuff by believing you more.” I promised you nine ways to make your marketing claims more believable, and hopefully, I’ve delivered.

If not, leave us a comment below. We don’t delete negative comments … even if you’re the “10th dentist type.”


Related Resources:

Transparent Marketing: How to make your product claims credible … not incredible

Reputation Marketing: 7 tactics to manage and protect your brand

Customer Value: The 4 essential levels of value propositions

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1 Comment
  1. Nigel says

    Great post, Daniel, and comprehensive. I would reframe “Negative Comments” as more generally as “Honesty” or “Objectivity”. If you’re honest and admit your product is not perfect in certain ways, or acknowledge where the competition might have a delimited advantage, it will boost your credibility.

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