Influential Testimonial Development

Influential Testimonial Development

Why are testimonials important?

An MBA involves significant opportunity costs for prospective students.  With student loan debt at record levels and corporate sponsorship decreasing, MBA candidates have to overcome high barriers of time and money in the buying cycle. 

Current students, alumni, faculty, administrators, and prominent corporate leaders are key influencers to helping MBA prospects overcome these barriers. Of note, incoming student feedback collected from Percept Research’s MBA Student Entry Survey continues to point to referrals from alumni and current students as among the top influencers to apply to a program.

The challenge, however, is that business schools are stretched with resources and there never seems to be enough time to develop testimonials for websites, blog articles, lead nurturing campaigns, social media postings, and digital or print advertisements.

Moreover, there are always new testimonials to collect with every new class, every new program introduced or curriculum enhancement, making it an ongoing process. And the more testimonials you have, the better. As a result, testimonials are an integral part of business school word-of-mouth advertising.

Testimonials humanize your MBA program and need to be presented for optimal exposure and proper messaging.  It’s not simply a matter of asking current students and alumni why the program is great, what they learned, or what they achieved. It’s about crafting a testimonial from the prospect’s perspective. What does the testimonial emphasize and mean for them?  How does it reinforce the branding of the program?  It’s about making an emotional connection to drive action. In our Twitter world with limited attention spans, it’s also about developing crisp and concise messaging.

Common questions:

  • How do we decide which students and alumni to interview for testimonials?
  • What faculty and administrators should be included?
  • Which industries and functions should be represented to align with strategic recruitment goals?
  • What messaging do we want to emphasize with authentic testimonials? 
  • How do we synthesize the interviews to identify the most powerful and influential message that prompts a prospect take action?
  • How do we make testimonials serious yet entertaining? How can we keep them fresh?
  • How can we make them unique and stand out from our competitors’ testimonials?
  • How can we develop video testimonials that are professional yet affordable?

How we can help:

We can help you develop powerful testimonials that will move prospects faster down the MBA admissions funnel and to draw them to a call-to-action. 

  • Evaluate testimonials provided by competitors to determine points of differentiation.
  • Help you identify the key influencers for interviews.
  • Advise on which student backgrounds (e.g., industries, functions, geographic representation) support strategic recruitment goals.
  • Develop scripts with questions that are comprehensive yet respectful of busy schedules.
  • Conduct professional phone or Skype interviews with current students, alumni, faculty, administrators, and/or corporate partners accommodating the stakeholder’s availability.
  • Source and manage strategic partners for video testimonials to ensure consistent and compelling messaging of your brand value proposition.  
  • Analyze interviews to identify the most persuasive messaging that communicate your school’s unique value proposition.
  • Develop testimonials that align with key selling points and generate a high level of engagement with prospects.
  • Ensure your business school’s testimonials stand out from the competition.
  • Identify compelling quotations from the interview that are concise, memorable, and influential.
  • Produce testimonials that are fully integrated with your distinct marketing message and communications collateral.
  • Advise on testimonial placement in your marketing collateral.
  • Suggest innovative ideas for re-purposing testimonials within all points of the buying cycle for added value, resonance, and impact.

The benefits of our approach:

  • Save valuable administrative time.
  • Elicit authentic, impactful, and unbiased testimonials as an external partner to instill confidence in MBA prospects.
  • Deep and extensive knowledge of business school organizations, roles, and cultures to conduct faculty and administrative interviews with a high level of sensitivity.
  • Strong analytical ability to leverage testimonials into compelling stories that demonstrates tangible results and ROI.
  • Personable and engaging interview style to champion interviewees into brand advocates.
  • Extensive industry knowledge of best practices coupled with a creative flair to make your testimonial messaging stand out.