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Use Success to Breed More Success
(Marketing Memo,
April, 2002)

When you buy a car or hire a house painter, do you seek personal recommendations? And, when you make business purchases, do you investigate what other companies like yours buy and why? Publishing case studies or user success stories is an excellent way to promote your products and services as they convey how your company's offerings have solved actual customers' problems. For readers, case studies stories serve as a proxy for personal recommendations.

Writers of case studies help readers to empathize with the targeted company. Perhaps readers are in the same industry; have a similar business model; experienced similar business problems; or otherwise identify with the company and its employees. These similarities make readers ask, "How did the story end? Could we achieve the same benefits?"

CONTENT

Background: Of course, your target company must first agree to be the subject of your case study. Begin by providing a context for the case study. Briefly describe the company and its products and services and if possible the industry. Include concrete information, such as number of employees, the age of the company, and revenues or growth rate if the company doesn't provide revenue. Include other differentiators. For instance, the company may have created a new industry, greatly altered an old industry, or it may have been first to sell in China or Vietnam.

Business challenge or problem: Explain the problem, and if possible quantify the consequences of the problem. Convey how the company previously dealt with the challenge. Then, demonstrate the superiority of your company's solution. Describe the outcome and specific benefits derived from using your product or services rather than other solutions. You may also wish to briefly describe other uses or applications of your product or services.

STYLE

How you communicate is always as important as what you communicate! Keep it simple!

  • Make sure the case study complements other marketing material in message and tone.
  • Use concrete details that showcase your company and your offering.
  • Make every sentence count. Simplify overly long or otherwise unclear sentences.
  • Craft a compelling opener that says "read me." Aim for interesting and even upbeat text.
  • Use a mixture of text and bullets.
  • Include quotes from target company leaders that describe the benefits of your approach.
  • Check spelling and grammar, but be suspicious of Grammar Check suggestions.
  • Avoid clichés. Define jargon (e.g., "WiFi " refers to a short-range wireless network).
  • Use an attractive format, and avoid an overly busy appearance.
  • Restrict the case study to one or two pages.

Winett Associates can help you research and write case studies and white papers.

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