Everyone loves a good story. Stories connect us to others and help to convey a sense of shared understanding. Companies with great stories are more memorable and more believable than companies with generic or impersonal messages. So, it surprises me how often I hear marketers say, “We don’t have any case studies!”
What I’ve learned is that every company with customers has customer success stories. Those stories may be untold, unwritten or unpublished, but they’re in there. As a compelling component of any thought leadership or pre-RFP opportunity marketing program, you can dig in to find, write and publish them. You’ll be glad you did!
Here are five tips to convert your hidden content into powerful case studies:
- Commit to the Hunt. Reach out to your business development team. Scour proposals for past performance examples. Review all industry award submissions and BD presentations. You’ll be surprised. Once you uncover one or two stories, customer-facing colleagues often remember others, as well.
- Push for the “So What?” Too often, especially with IT companies, the impact of a great solution gets lost in the telling. Your team modernized the technical infrastructure? Built a new API? Consolidated data? So, what? Push your experts to describe more than what they did. Get to the business impact – the “so what” of the solution. Your solution enabled government employees to do their jobs in the field, instead of taking notes and coming back to the office to enter the data? The solution reduced administrative time tenfold, helped to cut customer response time in half and dramatically improved customer satisfaction? The solution supported executive decisions by analyzing and projecting “what if” scenarios over the next 10 years? That’s what!
- Write Something You’d Want to Read. Imagine having a conversation with a prospective customer. What would you want them to know? What would interest them? Write with your customers in mind. Skip the technical jargon they don’t need. Stick to telling a story, with all the enthusiasm, creativity, respect and focus the team used to solve the customer’s problem in the first place.
- Make it Visual. If you need to describe a complex solution, use an image or infographic to help get your message across. Photos, diagrams, charts and video all stimulate interest and reinforce the important information you’re sharing.
- Include a Quote or Customer Sentiment. If you can, include a customer quote. Some government customers can at least approve an anonymous quote, using just their title or role. If not, try to represent the customer perspective another way. For example, a customer might have reviewed your aggressive project plan and expressed some doubt, “It can’t be done!” Your case story could read, “At a time when many believed it couldn’t be done, we completed the project in just four months.” The sentiment will still shine through, revealing that you understand what’s important to customers.
A well-crafted story deserves to be shared. Post case studies on your website, blog and on social media. Encourage your spokespeople to build them into sales presentations, speaking engagements and podcasts. Soon, your customer stories will be woven into the fabric of your organization’s conversations, helping to build and reinforce connections.
If you’re looking for additional support with your case studies, thought leadership or pre-RFP opportunity marketing program, please let us know. Our team is standing by to help you!