“Testimonials are your best research audience,” says Kristin Joyal, marketing director for WTLV and WJXX in Jacksonville, Fla. “It doesn’t get more honest or closer to the truth at a time when people demand it.”
Testimonial. Roget’s Thesaurus lists other words for it: recommendation, commendation, even endorsement.
Webster’s defines it as expression of appreciation, and also, evidence.
Yelp made a business out of it. And neighborhood Facebook groups seek recommendations all the time for everything from babysitters to roofers.
“Testimonials are your best research audience,” says Kristin Joyal, marketing director for WTLV and WJXX, Tegna’s NBC-ABC duopoly in Jacksonville, Fla., branded together as First Coast News.
“It doesn’t get more honest or closer to the truth at a time when people demand it,” Joyal adds.
Hurricane Elsa tracked across Florida hitting Jacksonville on the morning of July 8.
Joyal says the call came into the First Coast News hotline just hours after Elsa tore through the area.
The caller “wanted to earnestly share his thanks about our Chief Meteorologist Tim Deegan’s advanced warming and accurate forecasting giving him time to get to cover when a twister tore through.”
Knowing about that call, and having Natalie Thurlow produce a spot quickly was key to this promotion.
I’m a fan of testimonials, especially for local TV news promotion. Getting a phone call testimonial is rare, but viewers’ expressions of appreciation are not.
Make sure any positive comments from viewers — whether they be phone call, emails, comments on Facebook — don’t get overlooked. Have a system in place to harvest them for possible consideration in your marketing.
When it comes to viewer feedback and you get a call “that reinforces your brand pillars and reiterates ‘why’ you do what you do; you make the most of it,” Joyal says.
NOTE: In the initial few weeks at my first TV marketing manager’s job, before the internet, I was given a box of letters from viewers commending our station for being on the air during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. I tracked down one couple and shot them reading the letter, and edited it. I thought it was boring and too syrupy. Like molasses. I showed it to the news director. He said, ‘that’s one of the best news promos I’ve seen’.
Maybe he was laying it on thick for the new marketing guy, but don’t underestimate the power of viewers’ recommendations.
Click here to read an article about testimonial commercials.
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