Mad Men-style advertising, based on interrupting the audience's entertainment or news-gathering experience, is still with us—but most marketers these days recognize that it's unsteady on its feet (maybe because of all those martinis). The reality is that people are tired of being "targeted" with ads and so are inclined to take evasive action.

The intrusive nature of ads is only part of the problem. A bigger issue is that ads, whether B2B print ads for circuit chips or TV commercials for cars, simply don't elicit trust. We know that they're trying to sell us something, so our guard goes up.

In fact, I would argue that if you have to advertise a product these days, it probably isn't so good. We, the consumer, are secretly thinking, "If this [widget] is so great, why haven't I heard about it already?"

Today, in our post-advertising, Web search-obsessed, media-overloaded world, it's time to dust off the tried-and-true customer testimonial, and turbo-charge it for your website with video storytelling.

Video testimonials from satisfied customers are must-see TV for today's websites. Here are the top 5 reasons why, plus 10 tips for making testimonials work harder for you.


1. Credibility. Having real people on camera who have had a great experience with your brand lends unassailable credibility to your message. Your customers are your very best salespeople. They are the ones who can honestly and credibly explain to potential customers that their solar panels are cutting their electric bill, or that their vacuum cleaner is the best.

2. Your website is a TV channel. Make sure it has good content that people want to watch. The video player technology from companies like Vimeo and Brightcove is first-rate (and free or cheap), making it easy to post videos on your site and ensure they play properly. Your web TV channel is on 24/7. And the best part is, since you're not paying a network to air your commercial, or a magazine to place your ad, your media costs are zero. Accordingly, the process of having customer testimonials on your website is simplified.

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Ted Page is cofounder and creative director of Captains of Industry (, a marketing agency and video-production company based in Boston. Ted oversees the creative development of websites, logos, videos, and interactive Web marketing campaigns for a range of renewable energy and clean-tech clients. Ted is the author of The Willoughby Chronicles, a memoir.