Case Study Advice
Make sure your client/company secures permission to mention
their customers in press releases. Have this permission written
into all new contracts whenever possible. Include an agreement
that they will speak with the media as a customer reference.
Often this becomes a negotiating point in the final contract,
and can be used to your company's advantage.
Understand and accept the fact that customers may not want
publicity. Your client may be their customer's competitive
edge, and a well kept secret. Having their problem and solution
featured in an industry trade journal is like giving information
to the enemy.
Speak with the customers yourself. Interview them to see if
there is a good story, and if they're someone you can safely
share with the media. If possible, coach them about the types
of questions they'll be asked, and how they might answer.
Speak with your client's sales team. Let them know how case
studies/success stories can drive sales and help them earn
more money. This should inspire them to look for good story
opportunities for you to convert into coverage.
You can write up a full case study and produce nice slick
marketing collateral for the sales team, but don't send that
to a reporter. It will look too much like nice slick marketing
collateral. A simple one or two paragraph abstract is more
appropriate to share with a reporter or editor. They'd rather
hear the story when they speak with executives at your company
and your customer's.
Refrain from use of marketing hype, buzzwords, and hyperbole.
Try to think and write like a journalist instead of a salesperson.
Be honest and upfront with the press. Make sure you can tell
the story yourself, and then offer the brief abstract to reporters,
along with contact information. Offer to set up interviews,
but don't expect to be permitted to participate or listen
Be prepared to offer the success story as an exclusive within
certain media categories. You're likely to be able to offer
the story to only one vertical in your client's industry,
one in the customer's industry, one general business, and
one general tech publication/broadcast. Competing media often
do not want to run the same stories. Of course if you have
multiple customer references, you have multiple media outlet
too. Develop a media list and a ranking system to determine
your top choices, and work your way down as needed.
For added value, share case studies and customer references
with analysts you've already briefed about/with your client.
This may lead to better analyst quotes and/or referrals to
analysts' media contacts.
Keep case studies fresh. Anything more than a year old is
history. Update it or retire it.
Once studies have been shared with the media, it's time to
post it on the company Web site, and start using it to develop
new sales collateral.
2004 - Jon Boroshok/TechMarcom, Inc. All Rights Reserved