Last week I mentioned case studies, and one of the comments from readers was: “What is your take on the increasingly common reaction of end user customers to decline permission for their name to be used in this context? I find it takes the stuffing out of any press editorial pieces. “A major manufacturer of Product X said…” isn’t my preferred option.” This must be a problem facing so many marketing managers, so I wondered if we could get other readers’ experience of this. Do you find getting permission to quote a customer by name to be a problem? Do you care? Is the grief so much that it makes sense to cut your losses, in your opinion, and just say: “Our Blue Widgets are being used by one of Europe’s leading tractor manufacturers?” Or do you have some ingenious method of getting them to agree? Do you even think (as one company I once knew did) that you don’t even need their permission?
We all know that in most cases, the reason they say “no” is for a quiet life. It’s rare that a customer would lose a competitive advantage by letting the world know whose components or services they were using. But it’s another example of the “just keep your head down and keep your job” syndrome in business – especially if it’s a commissioning or design engineer you’re approaching. What’s in it for them, after all? Publicity, of course. So in theory, you ought to have more success in approaching marketing managers, but what’s your experience with that?
Finally, what about companies who ask for payment if you even want to quote them as a customer? I remember this being commonplace in Formula One, once upon a time, and that may still be the case. Is this worth it? Do you get extra co-operation if you shell out for the privilege?
Do let me have your experiences and ideas here in the comments section for this article.