Ever get tired of telling prospects what your company can do for them? Wouldn’t it be easier if your most satisfied clients called them all and told them how good your company is to work with and how you helped their companies meet their objectives?
Well, that’s not likely. But the concept of using your past clients as your advocates to generate business is absolutely feasible. One of the most influential forms of B2B collateral is a case study that tells the story of how your company solved a problem for a client. Maggie Georgieva on HubSpot Blog explains:
“To increase word-of-mouth marketing as a company, you need to amplify the happy voices of your customers and make them your best evangelists. By sharing their success stories of using your product or service, you empower them to sway the purchase decisions of many others. Creating customer case studies lends itself to our human instinct to share, tell a story and give advice.”
So what defines a good case study for B2B marketing? A good case study builds your reputation:
- Tells a success story from the viewpoint of your customer. A good case study provides readers with the customer’s perspective of what the problem or need was and how it was solved or met by working with your company.
- Doesn’t sell but rather shows a solution in action. A case study isn’t a direct sales tool. It should simply define what the customer’s need was, explain why he or she sought you out to help solve it, and describe the overall experience the customer had with your company.
- Puts your offerings or strengths into context. No spec sheet or product feature brochure can tell the full story of how a product or service can really make a difference. A case study can give depth and meaning to the solution by showing a real-world case of how a product or service made a positive difference in a company’s business.
When a good case study accomplishes these objectives, an exciting thing happens: readers extrapolate, seeing in the customer’s real-world experience how their own challenges and needs can be met by your company’s solutions.
Case studies are not new to the B2B marketing mix, but they maintain their popularity among marketers because of their effectiveness at demonstrating a solution without having to “sell” it.
Eccolo Media’s 2011 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report shows that
- 50 percent of surveyed B2B consumers said they used a case study in the last 6 months to evaluate a technology purchase.
- 68 percent of respondents said they found the content within case studies to be either “very influential” or “extremely influential” over their final purchase decision.
Another great feature of case studies is the ease with which they can be shared across multiple communication channels. Case studies are easy to include and share in your email newsletters, blog posts and Facebook/Twitter posts … and then readers may share them from there. It’s the ultimate word-of-mouth marketing!
Proven Systems has a long history of helping clients craft compelling case studies for use in their B2B communications. Proven Systems’ editorial team can help you identify what stories are the best stories to tell, then conduct interviews with your satisfied customers to get their thoughts and experiences with you and a specific product or service from which they benefitted.
Then our professionals write a case study to highlight the discovery process and the outcome, which together make a compelling third-party endorsement and a case for why a prospect should consider your company to overcome its related challenges.