The burden of marketing proof

Marketing Powerup #13: The three types of marketing "evidence" to build a strong case for your product and earn your buyer's trust.

Hey friends!

Happy New Year! I hope you’ve had a restful and fun-filled holiday break and an amazing 2023 so far.

Over the holidays, I got a chance to relax and spend time with family, friends, and friends of friends.

I don’t know about you, but whenever people find out that I’m a marketer, I get one of two polarizing reactions:

1. Curiosity: “Wow! So you’re like Emily in Paris or one of those Mad Men guys?” 😂

2. Hatred: “I hate marketers. They’re just scammers. My friend got duped by unethical advertising.” 😡

They might not say the last part out loud, but I can hear them thinking it through their body language.

You can see them subtly cover their wallets so they don’t buy what I have to sell.

Unfortunately, that often happens when marketers overpromise and underdeliver what the product can do.

Marketing (often incorrectly bundled under “advertising” in public surveys) has a statistically awful reputation. For example, Gallup’s 2020 Ethics in Profession Poll of Americans rates advertising practitioners as only slightly more trustworthy than car salespeople!

It’s because people believe marketers are willing to bend the truth and manipulate people to buy things they don’t want. Modern buyers are more skeptical of advertisements and marketing messages than ever.

🕵️ The burden of proof is on us

Melanie Deziel, VP of Marketing at The Convoy and Author of Prove it, argues the burden of proof is on marketers.

We’re in a courtroom. The buyers are the judge and jury. Marketers are like lawyers trying to convince a skeptical audience to pick their products over others. We have to bring evidence to set our claims apart from the sea of marketing and sales messages.

I love this analogy because, as marketers, we like to think of what we do as relationship-building. In some sense, it is.

But early on, with buyers who are more skeptical of anything that feels way too “marketing-y,” it’s much more appropriate to think of our role as lawyers or detectives building a case for our product.

We have to earn trust. And for Deziel, we can do that in three ways.

📊 The three ways to prove our marketing claims

In Prove It, Deziel (who came from a journalism background and was the first editor of branded content at the New York Times) presents three ways to prove marketing claims to skeptical buyers: through corroboration, demonstration, and education.

  1. Corroboration involves using the credibility and perspective of experts and “witnesses” (i.e., happy customers, clients, employers, etc.) to prove your business claims.
  2. Demonstrating marketing claims means helping people see the value of your product for themselves through free trials, success stories, and visual documentation.
  3. Finally, you can prove your marketing claims by educating people through information content and coaching sessions before they even buy your product.

Deziel goes through in her book how you can use these three types of evidence to prove the five types of marketing claims: convenience, comparability, commitment, connection, and competence. I got a chance to read it over the holidays and recommend other marketers do the same!

🎪 The Marketing Powerups Show

One of the reasons I read Prove It is because I interviewed Melanie for the new Marketing Powerups Show.

It’s a weekly video-first show where I interview world-class marketers to uncover the secrets, strategies, and frameworks they use to hit their KPIs consistently and wow their colleagues—so you can too!

It’s launching on Tuesday, January 31st, with six episodes:

  • April Dunford’s 4-part product storytelling framework that sells
  • The marketing-led SEO strategy that 2X Adobe’s organic traffic in 12 months | Kevin Indig (Shopify, G2, Atlassian)
  • The 3-phase Customer-Led Growth framework | Georgiana Laudi (Forget the Funnel, Unbounce, MeetEdgar)
  • The Second-Order Thinking mental model for creating bulletproof marketing plans | Corey Haines (SwipeWell, SavvyCal, Baremetrics)
  • The 4 R’s of buyer personas that will help you win more business | Adrienne Barnes (Best Buyer Persona, Semrush, Stripe)
  • The 3-part copywriting framework that educates buyers and turns them into customers | Jeremy Moser (Userp, Forbes 30 Under 30 for Marketing in 2023)

Each episode includes an editable powerup cheatsheet to help you apply the marketing frameworks discussed by the guest right away.

Plus, I got a new show artwork. It’s playful, fun, and has an 8-bit, late-80s arcade vibe!

Of course, you’ll be one of the first to get a sneak peek of the show and know when it launches.

Stay tuned!

⭐️ Mini Powerups

Fun-sized blurbs to help boost your marketing.

A better way to create a marketing swipe file: Corey Haines and Connor Lindsey launched their product, SwipeWell, on ProductHunt. Creating a swipe file is one of the best investments you can make for your marketing career. I’ve been creating mine with this tool. They even have an iOS app to make swiping stuff from your phone easy!

How to use ChatGPT to power your marketing: The hype is at its peak for ChatGPT. Is it just a fade, or is it here to stay? Alex Garcia chimes in by sharing how marketing teams can use it right now to power their marketing in this Twitter thread.

Five steps to starting your product-led growth motion: Hila Qu helped scale Acorns from 1 million to 5 million users as their VP of growth, then joined GitLab, where she launched their PLG motion. In this guest post in Lenny’s Newsletter, she shares five practical steps to kick-start a product-led growth motion at your company.

Have a powered-up day!

Ramli John

👋 Say hello on Twitter and LinkedIn

P.S. If you found this helpful, would you share the love by tapping on the heart below? And if you’re feeling generous, kindly forward this to colleagues or click the share button below.


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    Written by

    Ramli John

    Ramli John

    Ramli John is the founder of Marketing Powerups and author of the bestselling book Product-Led Onboarding. He's worked with companies such as Appcues, Mixpanel, and Ubisoft to accelerate their growth.

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