Peer to Peer Marketing – Changing the Message Source
Sometimes the message of value needs to come from a source other than you. That’s why PR is such an effective marketing tool. If a third party source claims your product or service is great, then it must be true – the very same message in a communication from your company may be seen as mere puffery.
One of my favorite ways to change the source of the marketing message is something I call peer to peer marketing. In the simplest terms this is a marketing strategy that allows you to involve your clients in the process of converting leads to clients. A computer software firm might put together a small focus group to talk about issues and concerns in an industry they target. This group would include users of their product who have successfully addressed these concerns with the company’s product. The conversation would be facilitated by the company, but (and this is the tricky and crucial part) in no way directed by the company. Failure to heed this last point will spell disaster. If your participating clients are seen as fronts for you selling activity, they will lose all credibility. You must let the conversation flow, take the good with the bad.
The peer to peer groups you put together must be about sharing, transparency and mutual benefit. Do that, and you the long-term lead conversion impact you desire will come.