MarketingSherpa.com presented an excellent article on June 26 that I highly recommend every marketer reads. You can read it for free until July 3rd by visiting http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=30024 after July 3rd you have to visit Marketing Sherpa.com and pay for closed access.
The article covers some seriously important issues regarding the claims marketers make for their products and services. One section I found worthwhile is about using customer testimonials. Did you know that anything a customer says on behalf of a product is subject to the same FTC regulations as an advertiser’s claim? Based on the MarketingSherpa.com article, there are certain precautions required for customer testimonials including:
- Getting affidavits from customers making testimonials certifying the claims
- Any connection between the customer and advertiser must be disclosed
- Testimonials must reflect a typical scenario for the product’s use
From my experience reading businesses sales letters and web copy, it seems that many of these precautions are not being followed very carefully. Although it’s probably fair to assume the FTC is too overwhelmed to pursue minor claims against the use of customer testimonials – I recommend still being careful and following these precautions.
The article also covers suggested requirements covering claims about “clinically-proven” product demonstrations, expert endorsements and product comparisons. If you are using any of these best practices to showcase your value proposition, then it’s probably a good idea to read this article.