In the age of digital, there are more types of content than you can shake a stick at. From email to the infographic, blogging to social -- you literally could produce a new type of content every day of the month and never run out of options.
Amid the fray is the case study. Case studies fit nicely within each stage of the sales funnel, from awareness to closing a sale. Case studies, though, are often earmarked by some of the driest, most uninteresting content in the known universe. Blah blah company had such-and-such problem and hired so-and-so company and then had X percent success. You can almost blindly cut and paste the phrases "increased revenue by" and "saw efficiency gains of" in every case study you create. Ho. Hum.
How can you reinvent the old, boring case study for more success in lead generation (and the rest of your sales cycle, too)?
Get Beyond Mere Industry Objectives
Marketers often craft case studies by vertical for lead generation across an industry. And that makes sense. Insurance companies like to see what worked in other insurance companies, and the same with heating and air businesses, law firms, and retail outlets. But a great case study doesn't just focus on what worked for a specific business in a specific industry. Delve into other aspects of what made that business tick -- was it the oldest business with outdated practices? Was it the smallest, trying to compete with much larger enterprises? Find new ways to showcase your customer success stories other than "ABC auto manufacturer" or "XYZ lawn care".
Explain the Strategy & Why It Worked
Too many case studies jump straight from, "the customer had this problem" to "our company brought these results." Stop doing that. Walk the reader through more than just the selection process. Explain what strategies your company took to solve their problems. Talk about the methodology behind why this solution made 865% improvements in revenue or 673% reduction in labor costs. Less what. More how.
Explore the Applications for the Solution
Part of the how is getting into the specifics about how your solution was applied to their operations and processes. Some of this, naturally, involves proprietary secrets that not all of your customers (or even your own company, for that matter) are interested in divulging. But as much as possible, be specific about how your solutions were applied to the customer's problems and how that rendered measurable benefits. For lead generation, they'll want to know specifics about how the solution can be applied in their business.
Let Your Customers Tell Their Stories & Supplement With Expert Advice
The ideal case study is neither a monolog by your sales staff about how the product worked nor a gushing review from your customer about how happy they are. It's a thoughtful blend of the customer explaining their challenges, how they met those challenges with your solution, and precisely how this worked out. Supplement those comments with your expert explaining why a specific strategy worked best in that particular situation.
Consider Calling Case Studies by a Different Moniker
Of course, when you develop your brilliant new case studies, they will suffer from the stereotype associated with other such content that is already marked by its ability to induce a coma in less time than a skilled anesthesiologist. Consider renaming your case studies to something else, like "customer success stories" or even "[insert your company name here]'s Greatest Accomplishments." Just don't stray so far off the mark that nobody knows what they're looking at. You can even stick "case study" in the subhead to avoid confusion.
What else do you need to develop astoundingly interesting and successful case studies? Well, data, of course. ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.