Case StudiesMarketing Curmudgeon

By Barbara Pfeiffer, The Partner Marketing Group

You’ve seen the stats over and over again. Today’s buyer is independent. Before they ever contact you, they’ve already researched your solutions and, hopefully, your company as a potential provider for those solutions. If you want to be on their short list, you need content that convinces them you are worthy of their business! And there is one particular piece of content that trumps them all when it comes to convincing a prospect to take action.

Shining Your Light

In this case, your light is your clients. The single most compelling content—that ONE thing that will convince them more than all the other content you can deliver—are your customer experiences. There is simply nothing more effective than a customer sharing their positive experience to demonstrate your brilliance and help remove obstacles to purchase.

None of this is new. It’s not even a trend. So why for so many companies are customer stories an afterthought? Even those of our clients that know the value of content and are willing to invest in it, seem to put customer-centric content low on the priority list.

Case Studies

When we ask about customer stories, here’s what we usually hear:

1. “We have some. I think there’s one on the [insert web page name] page? I’m not sure how many we have.”

Some? Really? The single most important piece of content you can create and share and you don’t know how many you have or where they’re being used? If this is you—sit down right now and take inventory. List ALL your customer evidence. This is not limited to just case studies. You have quotes, testimonials, case studies, videos—anything where the customer story is front and center. How many do you have? How old are they? Do you have any from the last year? Do you have at least one to represent each or your solutions or target markets? Are you using them everywhere you possibly can? With these findings, you can develop a plan for creating new pieces and extending the impact of the pieces you have.

2. “Our clients don’t want to provide a case study.”

Again. Really? NONE of them? A study a few years ago by Texas Tech showed that over 80% of satisfied customers are willing to provide a referral but only 29% actually do. The reason? They aren’t asked! The same can be said for case studies. So what if you ask and they say no? You may need to spend some time convincing them, or maybe think about how you approach the ask in the first place or what you can provide in return. The Content Marketing Institute has a great piece on how to remove objections and get a yes. If they really don’t want to do a case study, ask if they are willing to provide a short testimonial instead.

 3. “We don’t have time.” or “Our customers don’t have time.”

If you don’t have time—outsource. If your customers don’t have time—outsource. A good writer can interview you about your client and do a SHORT call with them to fill in the details.

 4. “We don’t put our customers on our website. It’s too easy for other companies to steal them.

I don’t even know where to start on this one (at least politely) so I’ll go with NO. NO. NO. A solid customer, particularly in the B2B technology arena, is not going to just rip and replace their system for a better price (or any other incentive). If your clients are happy, you have nothing to worry about. If they aren’t, you probably wouldn’t be asking them for a case study in the first place, right?

Got a customer story to share?

Once you have customers who are ready to tell their story, the next step is to create outstanding, unique ways of sharing those stories—and use them everywhere. For inspiration, read our blog on new, creative ways to tell your customer stories. Also check out our article from the latest issue of The Partner Channel Magazine, 8 Brilliant Ways to Make Customers Part of Your Story.

Putting customers at the center of your marketing shouldn’t be so hard. If you want experienced professionals you can trust to work with your clients on their stories, or need help creating exciting visuals and design, we’re your partner. Get in touch and get ready to shine!

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