The Weekly Buzz – The Case Is Afoot
Case studies are one of the most memorable types of business writing you’ll encounter, but they’re also one of the hardest to pin down. They can be long or short, glossy and marketing-focused or dense and technical. (Oh, and the case studies you’ll see in business school are totally different from the ones you’ll see in marketing collateral.) Whichever type of marketing case study you’re trying to create, though, there are a few qualities that can really make it stand out.
The Magnifying Glass
Great case studies don’t try to sell all of your qualities at once. They maintain a laser focus on one particular use case, one feature, or one of your brand pillars. They try to present a very clear, memorable story that illustrates your solution in action. Some good examples that I’ve read recently: Workzone’s case study with Western Kentucky University looks at how their approach to project requests transformed a business unit. This Venga Dine study shows how a partner restaurant used their extensive data and survey capabilities to turn things around for a dissatisfied customer.
Aiding and Abetting
While you can’t highlight every product feature, you should highlight both your team and your client. The best case studies deliver a compelling narrative of change and problem-solving. This looks good for the client, since you’re highlighting their positive leadership qualities. When you think about it this way—free press—it’s not so hard to ask for that case study, is it? Customer stories also engage your target audience emotionally, helping them to imagine success for themselves. Instagram isn’t the only place to build profitable relationships with brand advocates!
Learning From Stories
I love the management case studies that I read in my subscription to Harvard Business Review. They publish them in a point–counterpoint format where two executives support different solutions to a business problem. Maestro has started up a choose-your-own-adventure approach to case studies, with a different real sales dilemma every week, so you can be the experts. (We publish several reader comments each Friday.) Have you checked out Field Test yet?
Asking to collaborate on case studies is just like asking for referrals: it’s an incredibly powerful tool that most salespeople neglect. To better understand the impact and how to get started, ask for our free referrals infographic