Case studies: is it all about the quantity?

The more companies I’ve spoken to recently about strategic marketing issues, the more I’ve become convinced that case studies are increasing in importance. Finding suppliers is easier than ever before, and every time-served sales manager will tell you that prospects come armed with more knowledge of the competition than they ever used to. Case studies are a huge weapon in distinguishing your company from the opposition.

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But how much does the technical content of the case study really matter? I’m not sure it’s anything like as important as it used to be, when case studies were primarily written to get magazine coverage. Now we’re in an age where it’s all about using them to provide reassurance to prospects that you’re the experienced supplier who won’t let them down. And in that respect, perhaps it’s more about quantity than quality. Prospects might like to see a case study which replicates their own requirements, but what they want to see even more is a lot of case studies.

In a sense, case studies aren’t really doing much more than testimonials. Maybe they’ll never be read, but their value is just in their existence. The most valuable thing of all is a web page crammed with links to them. A 2-minute video describing an application could be as valid as a technical writeup. There are a lot of possibilities, but maybe we all need to reassess how we view the case study.

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