One of the prominent marketing uses in the education industry today is the use of testimonials to endorse a school. The power of a testimonial shows that success at a particular school not only can happen, but that it has happened. Using case studies to show the effectiveness of an institution’s training program certainly speaks volumes to individuals considering the lengthy commitment of returning to school.
Testimonials can go so far as to endorse a school that they can easily be used to mislead and entice individuals with exaggerated or false claims. Due to excessive use of testimonials the FTC has written guidelines on the dos and don’ts to shape education marketing compliance. Here is a list of guidelines to comply with when using testimonials in marketing materials:
- If a testimonial endorses a service and the result for that endorser was not a typical result, the advertiser must disclose the expected results of that service
- Any transaction that is made between an advertiser and the endorser must be disclosed in the advertisement
- Endorsers not representing “actual customers” must be adjoined with a disclaimer stating the testimonial is not from an actual customer
- Testimonials have timetables. If an endorser provided a testimonial at a time when they were an actual user, the testimonial must still reflect a “current” opinion of that endorser
- Wording cannot be distorted to endorse an advertiser
Testimonials are important as they serve as a connecting point between a successful user and a potential user. Staying in compliance for use of testimonials is just as important and can be followed given thoughtful consideration.