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Customer Champions: Bringing B2B Tech PR to Life Using Customer Stories

By David Beesley

Customer Champions: Bringing B2B Tech PR to Life Using Customer Stories

Any B2B technology business still wary of asking customers to support their own PR and Marketing activity needs to wake up! 

Customers are actively looking for opportunities to highlight their achievements and boost their reputations both externally and internally. 

The real challenge is not finding customer success stories, but ensuring top customers share their stories. Plus, of course, discovering engaging individuals who can talk competently about big technology and corporate issues, not just the ‘exciting partnership’ is another challenge. 

With the right spokespeople, customer advocacy can impact the entire PR, Marketing and sales mix, from delivering compelling media stories to anchoring demand-generation campaigns.

Building Trust
Providing prospects with access to customer reference sites has always been a key stage within the B2B sales cycle. For any organisation looking to invest in a technology provider, the ability to share experiences and understand lessons learnt is a vital step in reducing risk and building trust with potential suppliers. 

In recent years, the concept of customer advocacy has expanded radically from the traditional challenge/ solution/ benefit case study format. Today, prospects want more insight. Individuals are interested in the human-interest element of a story. They are looking for inspiration. They want to understand how organisations are exploring and innovating and, critically, how that investment has affected a company’s ability to meet core objectives.

As a result, the way this information is provided has also changed. The customer's voice is now at the heart of PR and marketing activity, from videos to conference speakers, guest blogs to podcasts, even media round table discussions. 

The customer's voice has expanded beyond the core projects. It now includes discussions about the role of new technologies such as the impact of generative AI; how to achieve corporate sustainability objectives and the downstream impact of investment on their customers’ customers.

Value Exchange
Expecting a valued customer to commit to this level of advocacy may sound demanding to any organisation that has struggled to get customers involved in marketing activity in the past. Attitudes have changed radically in recent years, however. Customer advocacy activity is a now two-way value exchange, providing a profile-raising opportunity for individuals, teams and companies.  

This platform offers a compelling opportunity for customer CTOs to raise their profiles, boosting career prospects externally, while also highlighting their achievements – and those of the team - internally. It supports future budget discussions and the expansion of successful projects across a wider stakeholder group. It gives corporate communications teams a chance to highlight the way a company is achieving core objectives.

Rather than pushing back on requests for customer advocacy, many organisations should be actively looking to work with partners. 

More than ever it is vital to find the right spokesperson – one able to provide a trusted and credible source of information. Individuals need both confidence and expertise and be prepared to have an opinion. Can the individual bring emotion to the story? “I’m excited by this partnership” will not cut it (has it ever?). A good spokesperson will tell anecdotes, and explain what they have learnt, what went wrong as well as right and how the implementation has affected staff and/ or customers. 

Creating Press Interest
A customer spokesperson will also provide the PR activity with a serious boost, especially if they can quantify business outcomes. Journalists are increasingly measured on story reads, shares and comments and have little tolerance for technical product information or for PROs that fail to recognise the pressures they face.   

Journalists are looking for customer stories that bring the personal element to boost their performance metrics and ensure new commissions. PR companies will build stronger press relationships and gain far more coverage if they can offer credible customer - rather than vendor - spokespeople. Even the addition of customer quotes to press releases will garner more attention than bland new product or service initiative updates. 

Add in research and statistics, anecdotes about a technology’s impact on sustainability, managing a new regulatory challenge or the downstream effect on the customer’s customers and a PR has a great story to take to a wider media audience. 

Measuring Value
With customer advocacy touching so many aspects of the marketing activity, there are multiple opportunities to deliver additional and measurable value. The customer's voice is increasingly at the heart of demand generation campaigns. Customer interviews and customer feedback forms inform analyst reports. Social media engagement is typically significantly higher with customer-driven than vendor-driven content – and the impact is even greater when the customer’s marketing team is also actively promoting and sharing. 

Furthermore, a customer advocacy team will now work with many parts of a B2B organisation, from customer advisory boards and executive programmes to customer success managers. A truly collaborative approach will deliver value across the entire customer lifecycle story, from initial adoption through implementation to ongoing success. 

It is also worth analysing media coverage and its impact on brand visibility and perception. 

Sentiment analysis and share of voice can provide insight, although, in a world where a press release can be picked up globally from Finland to Azerbaijan, it is important to focus on the top tier of target publications to accurately measure value. And while it is still difficult to directly relate PR impact on revenue, tracking sales via pipeline influenced and pipeline closed as a result of speaking to a customer or content supporting an RFP will further underline the value of the customer's voice.


Customer advocacy is not new. PR and marketing teams have always looked to leverage customer endorsement. But the customer's voice is no longer a point story; an isolated case study posted on the website and forgotten. Today all marketing and communication activity has to be customer-led. It is a constantly evolving, two-way value exchange that customers are actively seeking and delivers benefits to both sides. The customer's voice is now the beating heart of PR and marketing.



Tags: News, PR, Digital PR, ITPR