You just completed a great project for your number one customer. You are proud, the customer said the project went extremely well and that they are already getting results above their expectations.
You ask the customer for a testimonial or maybe a full-fledged case study….and….the communication….goes silent….
Unfortunately, this happens all the time. Many companies are loathe to let anyone know what they are doing; and other companies just don’t want to be bothered; and still others are cautious about having a simple case study seem to legally link them to you, as if a case study was a performance guarantee they were signing.
One way to avoid the uncomfortable dance, or have the lawyers simply shut the discussion down, is to start the discussion during the project start-up. People are always more agreeable when you have something they want. One agency I worked at years ago actually had case study rights written into the contract on the back of each of their estimates, which were required to be signed prior to starting a project. Even signing the estimate did not work every time in gaining a case study.
But maybe the question should be about the value of case studies. Case studies are essential in some business circles, such as military and high tech sales, and with the media. If you are looking for investors, case studies demonstrate how effectively your business handles its business and what your customers say about you. Case studies are the proof of your talk, without case studies your talk is just that, talk.
Jeremiah Owyang recently discussed how to present case studies to analysts and he makes a case for five top line items:
- Define the objective
- Tell what you actually did
- Define how you overcame challenges
- Measurable results
I am not going to repeat everything he said, slide over to Jeremiah’s site to read his take and join in the conversation.