Sheila is an international marketing specialist with particular experience in the market research software marketplace. She has worked for over ten years in high-tech multinational organizations – including SPSS, Toshiba and Xerox. Sheila has been a meaning associate since 2003.

 

Customer case studies come directly from the customer’s mouth and give prospects the reassurance and confidence that no other marketing materials can achieve. Every website should have them! But they take skill to produce. So what are the keys to success?

 

  1. Prepare the ground. Encourage your sales people to talk to customers at an early stage about the possibility of a case study. They can even make it an integral part of the negotiations.
  2. Have a plan, but keep it flexible. A customer is usually ready for a case study after they have been using your product for a few months. So, as you close sales, keep a note of prospective candidates for future case studies. Review your list regularly and consider which customers are ready and how their story would fit in with your marketing plans.
  3. Appoint an author. Ideally use an experienced marketing professional with the technical expertise to understand your product who can also converse knowledgeably with your customers. Using an independent author will bring a valuable objective perspective to the case study.
  4. Brief the customer and introduce them to the author. Check with the customer that they are happy for the case study to go ahead and reassure them that they will be able to review it and make changes before it is published.
  5. Request metrics. Encourage both the customer and the author to focus on metrics because they have the most impact. By this we mean, for example, the product helped the customer increase their revenue by $1million or enabled them to do something in 20 minutes that previously took several days.
  6. Quote a named person. Quotes from named individuals, especially if they are senior or well known in their industry are worth their weight in gold!
  7. Request the customer’s OK. To ensure good customer relations, always send the finished case study to the customer before publication and allow them to make changes.
  8. Just in case…. have a backup plan.  Sometimes, despite earlier assurances, your case study may not get approval by your client. Consider what you can do instead.  Carefully anonymising the case study while remaining faithful to what the customer told you can still provide you with a usable and credible success story.
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