Converting reluctant customers with powerful testimonials

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

The project

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. Like many Midwestern folks, these homeowners were sticklers for price and had decided that vinyl was the way to go.

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.

Have a project? Get in touch today


What are folks saying about Umault?

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"It moved revenue in a BIG way...over 700%!"

The project we completed with Umault was worth its weight in gold. The campaign that Umault helped us create blew our expectations and frankly set marketing records.

Marsha Hartman

“#1 top performing video”

The final piece had such a mainstream appeal even for non-buyers. ‘We the customers’ is our #1 top performing Enterprise video with respect to view rates, it has nearly 70% greater performance than our next best performing video.

Jonathon Dreyer

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

Tom Osborne

“#1 most viewed video”

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

Matt Lennert

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They created a masterpiece. More importantly, it’s had a dramatic impact on our audiences. There were hundreds of thousands of visitors on the site and inquiries.

Research director
Management consulting firm

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The ad is a hit with investors and employees. People have commented saying it’s the nicest work we’ve ever created.

Joe Rokowski

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From the moment I hired them, I didn’t have to worry about anything – from creating ideas to fleshing out the script. Working with Umault was one of the best professional decisions I’ve made.

Angela Johansson

“More than we've ever made”

The video became part of a 24-hour campaign, and we made more than we’ve ever made in six months, let alone 24 hours.

Karen Kazmierczak
American Planning Association