Rethinking Company Testimonials: It’s About “Insights”

August 17, 2017

Meeting room

There may be no greater “third party validation” than a reputable company already operating in your region that is willing to go on the record about how great a place really is. In our tri-annual Winning Strategies survey (the latest of which will be launched at IEDC in September), companies have reported every year since 1996 that “dialogue with industry peers” is one of the Top 3 influences on their perceptions of a community. That’s not a trend; it’s the norm!

That feedback shows the potential impact of having company testimonials in your arsenal, although there is some debate on how exactly to showcase them: Written text or video? Long or short? Feature them solo, or as part of other content? What prominence should they carry in our website content strategy? Answers can vary, but I don’t think that matters all that much. The more important factor is what the testimonials say. Do they speak in general terms highlighting PR-generated statements about great workforces and business climates, or are they revealing in a more meaningful way?

Let’s be real—getting a corporate executive to reveal a secret to potential competition is hard stuff. But when done well, testimonials can be quite powerful in highlighting “X factors” about your community. Here are a few we’ve extracted during recent months:

  • In sitting down with a large, multinational company that recently relocated headquarters across Canada, we were told that their selection was largely driven not by where they could easily “recruit” talent, but where they could most easily “retain” talent. It’s a fine line, but in moving their own employees, they didn’t want a mass exodus three months after the transition. So much is made of talent attraction, but less about retention, which we found interesting.
  • Another services-oriented company from the Midwest shared that about half of their 4,000-strong workforce was locally recruited. That’s impressive and a great testament to the local talent pool. What’s more—they were also able to recruit about 2,000 people from outside the region, which speaks to market attractiveness. In a tight labor market, the latter number might ring loudest to current investment prospects.
  • A third company, an upstart food and beverage manufacturer that recently opened its first U.S. production facility, said a significant reason for their final selection came down to one thing: “The speed they move at is the speed with which we like to move.” That included an impressive site visit organized in less than 10 days with more than a dozen other existing food and beverage manufacturers.

Scoring well in a data analysis during the site selection process is important, but matching data with context is extremely powerful. Whether you’re on the sales or marketing side of things, insights drive conversions.

So, how well do you know your own companies and why they’re there? Are you getting watered-down reasoning out of a press release, or are you talking to their decision team for true insights that can help you sell the next prospect in your pipeline?

Written by Steve Duncan

Steve Duncan is Vice President of DCI’s lead generation division. Since 2004, Steve has managed marketing programs for a diverse set of city, state and country organizations, from Albuquerque and Houston to Tuscany and Wyoming.

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