Customer participation in your marketing and PR efforts provides validation of your products and services. While you may have many satisfied customers, getting them to YES is one of the challenges we face as marketers.
Sales is your friend: A happy customer is more likely to renew contracts. Believe me, sales will know who these folks are and can point you to the right contact or make the initial introductions. As long as you’re providing something of value to the customer, sales will support as much as they can.
Engage customers: Engage customers as part of a strategic, white glove outreach program. This way, you engaged in a conversation about their programs and provide another contact for the customer. Otherwise, you’re just constantly asking for a favor.
Listen, listen, listen: This is very key. Engagement is more than talking at a customer. It requires the ability to listen and respond to your customer.
Highlight the benefits: Once you’ve engaged the customer, and depending on the implementation, highlight the benefits of participating in the customer program, such as increased brand awareness, positive positioning, etc. If your customer contact is career minded, then mention how marketing and PR can raise their profile within their industry.
Be sensitive to their day-to-day demands: Ok, let’s assume that your customer is open to doing PR/marketing. It’s important to confirm what types of activities he or she is open to doing, such as a testimonial, media opportunity or case study, and how often. The last thing you want to do is embark on a case study but the client is too busy to review or approve the final draft. And being aware of availability will help you to prioritize PR/marketing requests.
These are just a few suggestions that you can consider. Are there others that you’ve used to get a customer to participate in your programs?