Capturing User Content – Inspired by a CAT moment at Harley


During the last week of 2012 I took my Harley-Davidson motorcycle into the local dealership for a regularly scheduled service. While checking the bike in I started chatting with the Service Manager, and in the course of the conversation he asks where I work.

For the first time I get to say “Caterpillar.


And I get a reaction I tend to associate more with my other life as a comic book and pop-culture writer than with a business exchange, I can only describe it as he went “all fanboy” and started waxing lyrically about Caterpillar products and his experiences using them. Turns out he used to be in the construction business and is happy to list every piece of CAT equipment he has ever operated. He even has a wish-list of the ones he still wants to try.

As I’m heading out of the service bay he says: “I’ve used all sorts of equipment (and lists a bunch of other makes), but nothing does what a CAT does.

My marketing brain kicks in and thinks, “what an awesome soundbite.” Then I start thinking we need a way of capturing that, and others like it. And that will certainly be a conversation I will have as I ramp up my new role at CAT – maybe they already have a way of doing it that I’m not currently aware of – in which case, great. But I’ll certainly be looking at how we can leverage this sort of interaction from a Content Marketing perspective.

As I’ve been looking at various content marketing examples of customer interactions, from a variety of companies in all sorts of industries, over the intervening period, that exchange keeps coming back to me. It struck me that the vast majority of the customer endorsements and sound bytes in a business-to-business environment come from the customer’s executives and buyers, but very few come from the people who actually use the product everyday to do their job.

It’s only natural for as a marketing and sales organization you probably already have contacts with your buyer and probably his boss and executive sponsor too. You can just use that relationship to ask for an endorsement, soundbite, case study, or video interview.

But does that tap in to the people who really love your product and brand, the ones who get to experience it everyday?

Is it time to dig a little further into your customer’s organizations and capture the user stories from the real operators? The user stories that will appeal to, and provide all important peer recommendations, to other potential users.

Time to put the marketing excavators in to action.


1 thought on “Capturing User Content – Inspired by a CAT moment at Harley

  1. I’m not sure a room full of people trying to come up with a good phrase would have hit what the guy in the Harley dealership came up with on the spot. Maybe at best, they’d come up with a line like that.

    I definitely listen to endorsements from users or friends over most marketing directly aimed at getting me to buy something. More and more, if I see someone genuinely talking about something they love on YouTube, I’ll check it out if it’s something that interests me. I also find myself attracted to companies that figure out interesting ways to get their message out.

    I juggle, and all the top prop manufacturers produce a good product. My loyalty once lied with a company that just happened to be available in a magic shop in Kansas City. My father lived there, and my first set of juggling torches were purchased there. When I bought new props, I always gravitated toward this particular company. These days, though, another company gets my business because they get that something as simple as a prop is more than just an object. Juggling is a community, and this particular company is just as much about sharing videos and taking the time to reply to people sharing what they’re doing online (regardless of the props used) as they are about saying, “Please buy our product.”

    I’ve seen a shift in my loyalties to companies change in the last 10 years. The company that tells the stories of the people who use their products or that simply share information, instead of saying, “Buy our stuff!” are the companies I talk about.

    All the best with the new position at CAT!

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