The best case studies are primarily informative
Prospective customers may want information about a product or service, but initially they’re not ready to make a purchase. They need information for themselves and for decision-makers in their organizations, but they may not know exactly what they need or what solutions are available. Spending time with a sales person may be counter productive, since they may not be far enough along in their investigation to know whether they’re “in the market” or not!
A case study can be a useful informational tool for both the prospective customer and the sales person. Case studies are informational in nature. They’re less about selling and more about informing. At the early stages of investigation, customers want information rather than a high-pressure (or low-pressure) sales pitch.
Customers appreciate case studies because they:
- Help prospective customers define their needs
- Help readers identify similarities in their own circumstances
- Deliver product information in a no-pressure format
- Help customers see and evaluate solutions that someone else implemented
Sales people like case studies because they:
- Efficiently provide information for prospective customers
- Prepare potential customers for more productive sales meetings
- Demonstrate successful product and service implementations
Case studies can be a valuable part of a content marketing strategy, and should be considered by firms that sell large, complex or customized products and/or services.
Some marketers consider the case study to be comparable to a white paper, but there are significant differences between a case study and a white paper. While a white paper can be used as an informational tool, its primary goal is to solidify the decision to purchase. A case study is more effective in the preliminary stages of investigation, before the decision to make a purchase has been made, or even before the investigator’s needs have been fully determined.
A case study typically focuses on the needs or circumstances of a single buyer and the accepted solution. That’s not to say that every case study features unique needs. A case study may easily and effectively focus on the most typical needs and solutions available.
If you’d like more information about case studies and how you can use them in your content marketing strategy, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (734) 961-0408.
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