MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023

Exactly How B2B Marketers Earn Trust: Evidence-Based Content, by Melanie Deziel

Your audience is skeptical.

Not because of anything you did. But because they’re surrounded by claims, scams, and fraud.

But there are things you can do to counteract that skepticism.

Number one: provide proof!

In this clip from her presentation at B2B Forum in 2022, Melanie Deziel reminds us of the importance of providing proof.

Beyond that—she shares six different types of proof you can provide to help convince your prospects you really can deliver.

Watch the insightful clip from Melanie’s presentation or read the transcript below.


Today we’re gonna be talking about how we can use evidence-based content to earn trust.… Now bear with me, ‘cuz this is gonna seem a little depressing. But I promise you, I will leave you with hope.

Your audience doesn’t trust you, right?

And this is a hard truth, it’s a hard one to swallow. But the data backs it up, right? There’s a study from the 4A’s that shows that only 4% of consumers believe that marketers and advertisers practice integrity. 4%! Like, that’s not great!\

And what the problem is, is that so many of us as marketers are saying lots of things, right? We’re telling our customers that we’re convenient, we’re telling them that we’re competent, how we compare to the competition. But we’re very rarely providing the proof—the evidence—that allows them to see that for themselves. 

And there is so much audience skepticism as a result of this. I mean, we know that there’s so much fraud happening, right? So many scams, so many people trying to mislead you. I mean, you could look at your spam folder and your email or your missed calls list, and you’ll see plenty of reasons why our audience is skeptical.

So what this means is that, if our audience is going to understand that we are telling the truth, that we can be trusted, that we are not some of those scammers, then we need to be providing the evidence—the proof—to help them see that.

So these are the types of content as evidence that you can use.

So just to run through ’em. Again, when you find these claims, anything that you’re telling your audience, claiming, promising, declaring… you wanna make sure that you’re providing some type of content as evidence to back that up.

So the “corroboration content” is really good. “You don’t have to take our word for it. Here are others that you can believe.” This is also a really great way to re-engage the folks who you’ve had a good relationship with. It feels special when a brand that you’ve worked with comes back and says, “Hey, would you like to talk about your experience? Can you share why it was so fun to work with us?”

It’s also a good opportunity to reconnect with lapsed customers you may not have had contact with recently. So look for that in your corroboration content.

With “demonstration,” we’re trying to show them. So that could be telling deep stories that really demonstrate what it is that we’re claiming, or documentation that allows them to see it for themselves. Could be behind the scenes.

My favorite kind of documentation honestly is… the show, “How It’s Made.” So that’s like, they’re really showing you, “this is behind the scenes. This is every step of the way. This is what you need to know.”

And then the last type is “education.” We can make all the claims we want, we can provide all the proof, but if folks don’t understand what those claims mean, or why they’re important, then we need to sort of take a step back and educate them, help them understand it, and therefore be able to make the best buying decision.

So your instinct may be to try to choose one of these types and go all in. And I’d rather have you do that than nothing.

But I think the best way to go is to kind of sprinkle these things throughout the content that you’re making. 

So that could be adding a new section to your newsletter that’s just including a testimonial at the bottom, or, you know, some sort of witness statement at the bottom.

Could be adding a new section to your website that has some sort of number counter that ticks up and shows how many people you’ve worked with, how many results you’ve created, whatever that may be… From a consumer standpoint, you often see that when you’re doing online shopping. It has the little popup in the bottom left that’s like, you know, “Melanie from Raleigh just bought something,” and you’re like, “okay, all right, so people are buying stuff.”

That kind of stuff can be, can be really helpful, just looking for ways to bring this type of proof into all of the content that you’re making.

Because the reality is, we’re not trying to just prove one claim and call it a day. Because we all know you’ve gone to look at a product or look at a restaurant review. And if you see no reviews from the last year or so, you’re kind of skeptical. “Is this place still open? Maybe they used to be good and now they’re bad…”

This is an ongoing process. This is more of a mindset than a one-time tactic, right? It’s thinking, “how can I prove it? As we’re making these claims, as we’re building this campaign, how can we prove it? How can we make sure that this audience that we know is incredibly skeptical understands that the value we provide, it’s not just smoke. Like when we say we’re committed, when we say this is an easy onboarding process, when we say we’re gonna help you avoid this negative outcome… we mean it, right?”

So really, the onus is on us, right? If we’re going back to the courtroom, the burden of proof is on us. We are the defendants here.

And so the question to be asking yourself and your team at all times with your marketing is, “how can we prove it?”

Because your audience is waiting for you.

Published 6/21/23

B2B Forum is packed with marketing insights, strategies, and tactics taken from the real world experience of over forty industry experts, packaged into context you can actually put to use.

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