Perhaps it’s time we stopped marketing our solar products and services and instead started promoting our solar customers — and I’m not talking about testimonials. Let me explain.

Often when I see rote solar marketing from solar manufacturers, we slip into the “features and benefits” mode:

  • We list an onslaught of specs next to photos.
  • We write about the products advantages over the competition.
  • We tell prospects how our solar widget has been improved by some stat.

On the solar installation and services side, we can also go into yada, yada, yada features and benefits mode:

  • We write about our years of experience and certifications.
  • We show beautiful photos of prior installations.
  • We might show testimonials of customers who praise our solar installers for their great work, timeliness, and customer service.

Of course customers do need to hear about features and benefits, especially in the technical solar B2B world. But that standard strategy is missing something very important: the lives of our customers.

That is, instead of purely marketing products or services, let’s start marketing the stories of our customers… who happen to use our products or services.

I know you’re thinking that this sounds like I’m just suggesting doing more testimonials, but I’m really not. This kind of marketing strategy is not about someone praising you. Not at all. What I’m talking about is pure story telling about your customers and their living interesting lives…with your solar products and services.

It’s a subtle concept, I know, so let me just show you examples from how GoPro does it with two everyday—yet remarkable—stories from their customers.




Notice that there are no specs about the GoPro camera here. There are no testimonials telling the viewer what the camera does or how wonderful it is. Nobody even mentions the name of the brand. The only nods to traditional marketing are the brand flashes at the beginning and at the end.

So does it work? The dog video has had over 1.6 million views. The pool video has over 600,000. And that means there’s been a lot of sharing of this video. People shared it without celebrity voice overs or expensive animation. They shared it because they saw real people and real dogs doing fun things in real life…with a Gopro.

The great news for solar manufacturers is that every solar installer has a story and the great news for installers is that every residential homeowner or business owner also has a story. Find the best ones and market them with videos and blogs and photos, not your solar products or services.

Sure, keep the features and benefits marketing, too. There’s a time and place for that, but keep it to a minimum and put your customer’s features and benefits first. That’s the best way … to UnThink Solar.

Tor Valenza a.k.a. “Solar Fred” is the founder and CMO of UnThink Solar, and the author of Solar Fred’s Guide to Solar Guerrilla Marketing. For more solar marketing info, sign up for the Solar Fred Marketing Newsletter or follow @SolarFred on Twitter.