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How to get loads of case studies without the grief

Yesterday I talked about how most companies make their living from customers with fairly unglamorous applications, but only ever write up the rare case study where the product has been featured in a movie or made it into space. When the majority of prospects visit their website, there’s nothing they can relate to.

But one company I know has taken a refreshing new approach to case studies, and I think many of you could copy this idea. The company has deliberately targeted customers who are smaller than it is, and offered them the chance to produce their own writeup of their application. What a win-win situation! The supplier gets a large selection of case studies for their marketing use, at almost no cost, and the customers get publicity and links from a major website.

I understand that they’ve already identified over a hundred possibilities, and are getting a decent response. Sure, one or two customers don’t want to publicise whose components they’re using, and others don’t see the value in the exercise and won’t get around to it. But move on to the next one; there are a lot to approach, and you might only need one in ten to say yes. The traditional excuses you give yourself for not doing case studies are all overcome: there’s no problem with getting customer approval, and there’s very little cost/effort involved in getting the writeup done. What’s more, you know the description of the application is 100% accurate.

I think there are a couple more advantages to this approach. Firstly, if the customer writes up the case study in the first person, you could leave it like that, as a customer report, which would be an intriguing presentation. But even if you change it to the third person, I suspect it will have a ring of authenticity to it.

Secondly, it’s something real. As I mentioned previously, case studies are no longer just something with which to get trade magazine coverage. They’re essential to back up the claims you’re making on your website.

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