Chris Brogan on How to Make Your Customer a Hero

Most marketers put the focus on their product. Try flipping that around and showing your customers how they can be successful.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the July 2011 issue of . Subscribe »

Marketers often look at their product as the raison d'etre of a company. "How can I get more people to fall in love with this amazing product?" they ask. Of course, that's the opposite of how buyers see the scenario. A buyer is asking, "How can I be even more amazing?" The challenge, then, is to position your product as the element your hero requires to be successful.

But when you look at how companies market online, they still make the product out to be the hero. The e-mail you receive talks about all the amazing features. The Twitter stream is a raft of offers and quips about how great the products are, with zero engagement with their potential heroes.

Marketers need to use digital marketing tools to make heroes of their customers, not of their products. Here are a few ways to do that:

Video interviews and testimonials
YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google (at least in the U.S.). If you're not creating brief, interesting video testimonials with some of your success stories, you're missing a great opportunity. Be careful to word the title of the video something akin to what someone searching for your product or for products in your category would use as search terms.

Also, if you really want to stun people positively, allow for a negative review of your product or service, hopefully with some kind of silver lining to how things end. According to Bazaarvoice, an online review and ratings platform, an absence of negative reviews and opinions will trigger a sense of a lack of trust, whether or not you notice it directly.

Profiles and content promotions
Want to make your buyer the hero? Write about the customers. Show recent successes. Don't talk about your product. Instead, make it a piece about your buyer. That customer will bring their friends and colleagues to show off the profile, which is of course on your site and means they might peruse your offerings.

This content shouldn't be sales material for your product; it should just be interesting content that is helpful to your buyer. Make them grateful that you care so much about their victory.

Blogger outreach
If you want to keep the hero story going, reach out to bloggers who cover the space your product serves. Not sure where to start? is the magazine rack of the internet. Look around for bloggers who talk about your space and build a relationship with them. Don't immediately offer information or access to your products. Rather, learn what the blogger writes about, comment where appropriate (still not mentioning your product) and build a relationship. From this, more opportunities will arise.

Steve Jobs gave you an iPod that let you carry 1,000 songs in your pocket. Richard Branson let you flaunt the sexy way to fly with Virgin. You can make your buyer a hero, and that will ensure your future as a company doing good things for its community.

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