A powerful testimonial converts reluctant customers

Woodpecker proves that customer testimonials do more than tug on heartstrings: they clinch sales.

A contractor used this video as a proof point to lock in a sale. This was our best-case scenario. It worked exactly as we’d planned.

Bridget Kulla
Bridget Kulla
Senior Digital Marketing Manager, James Hardie

Pileated woodpeckers are massive birds. They can grow to nearly 20 inches in length with 30-inch wingspans, and their long, chisel-like bills are designed to wreak havoc on unsuspecting trees.

And, as it turns out, houses.

A couple in the Upper Midwest called a local contractor with just this issue, hoping to replace their aging wood siding with vinyl. They’d grown tired of the constant hammering, and were increasingly worried about the big, rectangular holes the unwelcome bird was creating in their exterior walls. Like many Midwestern folks, these homeowners were sticklers for price and had decided that vinyl was the way to go. It was cheap, it was sturdier than wood, and they were convinced it would thwart the woodpecker.

Then they watched a 90-second James Hardie testimonial video—viewable above—showing another couple who had the exact same problem, and decided to upgrade on the spot.

Harness the power of a great story

James Hardie has mountains of data and stacks of marketing materials showing that their fiber cement siding is bird- and bug-resistant. They’ve even got woodpecker-specific research proving their products can deter the most enthusiastic of pileated pests! But when faced with homeowners who’d hired him to install vinyl, this contractor reached for the testimonial video instead. He knew that hearing a story from a couple who’d been through the exact same ordeal would be more persuasive than reading a bunch of dry, lifeless fact sheets.

“He said exactly what we hoped he’d say,” explains Bridget Kulla, senior digital marketing manager at James Hardie. “He said, ‘This has happened to your neighbors, and they went with James Hardie.’ That’s all it took!”

And it worked like a charm. They happily paid more for truly woodpecker-proof siding. Which is saying something, since Hardie’s product is far more expensive than vinyl.

The Umault team knew that pricey siding is a tough sell in the budget-conscious Midwest, so we were thrilled when James Hardie came to us with this engaging customer story. Their stated goal for this testimonial video was a solid one: prove that Midwestern homeowners who’ve upgraded to Hardie have zero regrets. But we saw an equally important secondary goal: connect a story about siding to feelings of homeowner safety and relief. Capture the emotional journey of a couple with a life-disrupting woodpecker problem that was solved by James Hardie siding. Tell an unforgettable story, and link it to a quality product.

Forget high-polish. Be REAL.

Testimonial videos have a bad rep. They’re meant to connect businesses with potential customers through stories and shared experiences … and done right, they do!  But many marketers have decided that real people are a little too “real,” and recreate their testimonial spots using scripted dialogue and professional actors. The result is videos that feel so staged and corny they push consumers AWAY from a purchase instead of toward one.

At Umault, we know that stories told by real people with relatable problems always resonate, even when flashier tactics fall flat. We love conceptualizing testimonial videos that are honest, relatable, and story-driven. We show the problem and solution, warts and all, so our videos can evoke genuine emotional responses that sway consumers. Working with James Hardie on this video reinforced our belief that quality testimonials impact the “decision” phase of the sales funnel; they encourage viewers to empathize and visualize their own success, which nudges them toward purchase.

Misguided marketers may over-polish their testimonial spots, but at Umault, we know that the magic of consumer stories stems from their rawness, realness, and relatability.

What’s YOUR woodpecker?

Are you eager to connect with your customers through testimonial videos, but worried they’ll fall flat? Reach out and share your goals. We promise to help you tell a compelling story that sways even your most reluctant customers, just like we did for James Hardie.

Here’s how we can work together.

Get just the creative

Just need ideas and scripts? Got another producer in mind for the actual shooting and editing of the video? No problem. Let us work our alchemy to transform your messages into unforgettable concepts.

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Get the creative and the video(s)

We develop a creative strategy including a persona, mindset shift and competitive analysis. Then we hop into creative concepts, scripts/storyboards and finally, shoot, edit and deliver your video(s).

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Get videos plus distribution

In addition to a thorough creative strategy, concepts and production, we’ll also craft a paid media strategy, SEO optimization, designer thumbnails and launch planning so your video(s) hit their target.

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Let’s talk

We’ve helped companies just like yours win more customers with video. Tell us about your goals.


  • “Our projects were wildly successful. They use great techniques to generate leads and build brand awareness and momentum.”

    Thomas Osborne
    PerkinElmer

  • “The video is now the #1 most viewed video on the Deloitte US YouTube channel, by a long shot, with over 420K views. It’s a great use of highbrow humor.”

    Matt Lennert
    Deloitte

  • “Umault will really dig into your company’s identity, goals, and audience to find the best way to convey your message.”

    Karen Kazmierczak
    APA


Umault is a boutique video marketing agency that helps B2B businesses create captivating content, engage the right people, and drive sales. We concept, script, and oversee video campaigns that make the complex simple and sexy, transforming ordinary businesses into extraordinary brands.

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