"The essence of a well-written case study is to have a third party enthusiastically talk about your company's selling proposition." David Leland

This simple statement by David Leland in his blog, Writing Killer Case Studies just jumped out at me when I read it.

We all give more credence to a third party endorsement than we do to a slick Madison Avenue ad campaign. We know that this third party, who is usually and enthusiastic customer, not a paid actor, is someone who truly believes what he or she is saying about the company's product or service.

But a case study is much more than just a third party endorsement. It is the company's selling proposition told in the form of a true story. When we read a story, we read about the pain of a real problem that is attacked head on and eventually solved.

Think about any story, movie, novel, play or true memoir that has ever held you spellbound. They all had a ruthless enemy, a villain, a natural disaster, a horrible disease, or an impossible mission to overcome. Stories are about problems that are beaten by heroic characters.

Well-written case studies have all the power of a best-selling novel or a blockbuster movie. They show your customer as the sympathetic hero who must face these problems and challenges. They also show your company as the mentor to the hero.

In other words, in a case study story, your customer is the Luke Skywalker, the problem is the Darth Vader and your company is the Obi-Wan Kenobi who mentors and guides Luke through the problem-solving process.

When would you want to use case studies to get your message out?

  1. When what you sell is expensive,

  2. When what you sell is new, or represents a new way of doing things,

  3. When the customer may not easily understand the benefits your product or service offers,

  4. When adopting your solution would require a significant change for the customer's company,

  5. When the customer's company is entrenched in a relationship with a competitor, even though doing business with you would give them many more benefits,

  6. When selling your product or service involves making a difficult and complex concept more easily understood,

  7. When the customer's company has many levels of decision makers, any one of whom has the power to say "No."

  8. When your customers tend to be blissfully unaware or in denial about a potentially devestating problem,

  9. When your own company is not well known,

  10. Or when you have a great story to tell, but you are not getting buzz and two-way conversations that are so vital to doing business on the web today.

Chances are, your company has a story to tell and has customers who have success stories worth reporting. If so, start getting your case studies written so you can spread the word.

COPYRIGHT © 2008, Charles Brown


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