Case studies are among the most credible sales tools you’ll ever put in front of prospects. They reap the “equity” you’ve earned by solving your customers’ problems. And they show the economic, commercial and technical benefits that you delivered to a real client.
Best of all, technology buyers read them. According to a recent survey, 67 percent of respondents reported that they often read case studies.1 Forty-seven percent go one step further, frequently passing case studies on to co-workers and colleagues.2
One of the things I like best about case studies is that marketing and PR professionals can use the content in so many ways. It is one of the few tools that allows you to amortize the cost of creating the piece among the many different ways the content is used. And it achieves even more impactful results when case studies are leveraged across many content delivery channels to support your marketing, sales, and thought leadership programs.
Here are some ways to get the most out of your case studies.
Reuse the content in other communications deliverables
1. The challenge-solution-results case study format is ideal for creating a press release. When I write a press release based on a case study, I select the main topics and the juiciest quotes. I also add some of the metrics that the solution provided to lend credibility and improve the newsworthiness of the release. This increases the chances that it will be published (in some form) in newspapers, trade magazines, and online sites.
2. Because case studies are essentially a story, they easily turn into an article for publication in your company’s newsletter or ezine. Given the real-world perspective of the story, these are often the most widely read pieces in these posts. After all, it’s your customer who’s telling the story, so a “third party” perspective is more interesting than an obvious piece of corporate bragging. Internally, a case study can be a good sales education tool, demonstrating successful sales strategies and tactics that won.
Seventy-four percent of tech buyer research and information gathering happens online.3 Marketers align their content distribution tactics with how their prospects consume content by posting their case studies on relevant online sites. For example, major technology vendors post their case studies at http://www.knowledgestorm.com, as well as [http://www.bitpipecom]. Add niche sites tailored to your specific industry as well.
3. The case studies also provide excellent synopses for executive presentations to shareholders, potential investors, analysts, employees, and prospects. They easily fit into PowerPoint slides and serve as credible proof points for executive claims.
4. Case study quotes are also great for use in other marketing materials such as advertisements, brochures, and websites. Naturally, you’ll want permission to use them in this way, but the credibility of a satisfied customer praising your solution is hard to beat.
Use it across your business
5. As a sales tool: Salespeople often share case studies with people who are considering their company’s products and services. This is particularly true for high-tech products where the sales cycle requires overcoming the concerns of skeptical engineers and technicians. Some may think that “pushing” such content from a provider is not an effective content distribution tactic. Fortunately, research shows that “79 percent of technology buyers receive 25 percent or more [emphasis added] of your information from content sponsored by the provider.”4
In addition to providing a .pdf detailing an implementation similar to the one the prospect is considering, vendors often use case study slides in their presentations. Also, case study brochures at trade shows are more likely to survive the trash can of attendees’ hotel room and be read.
6. Case studies in .pdf format provide relevant, specific and contextual content on web pages of technology products and services. Along with white papers and solution briefs, they complete your case for why a potential client should consider your services.
7. A detailed case study is a good gift item along with white papers. Use it to motivate prospects to respond to your online and offline promotional campaigns.
In these seven ways, you can leverage your success with current customers to positively influence other technology buyers to consider and purchase your products and services.
1 “Issue One” How Technology Marketers Satisfy Buyers’ Appetite for Content, March 2007, KnowledgeStorm Inc. and MarketingSherpa, p. 14. Retrieved from http://www.knowledgestorm.com/search/viewabstract/87939?pos=1&referer=SEARCH_RESULTS&trkpg=search_results_abstract on 08-22-07.
2 Ibid., p. sixteen.
3 Ibid., p. eleven
4 Ibid., p. 3.