Say you’ve gone online to purchase a new pair of shoes. Once you’ve identified a type (perhaps a running shoe) and a color (let’s go with yellow), what’s the next step? It’s probably not hitting “Add to Cart,” right?
More and more, consumers are taking part in a stage of the buying cycle known as the “zero moment of truth,” or the research stage. Between identifying a product and making a purchase, they’re looking at product reviews, testimonials, pictures, videos — anything they can get their hands on. And this isn’t only true for B2C, it’s also true for B2B, where the ZMOT is becoming a critical stage in the buying process.
One of the most persuasive sources of information that consumers seek out are customer testimonials. For B2B companies, this not only means informal reviews by customers, but also case studies. Just like when you’re shopping for shoes and want to browse through the customer reviews, prospects want to see what kinds of experiences other people have had with your product or service.
Case studies are one of the most important tools in your arsenal for a variety of reasons. Let’s go through a few of the benefits of using case studies as marketing collateral:
Turn Your Product into a Story
If you think about it, case studies are a lot like stories. A typical format introduces your customers or clients (your characters), fills you in on the conflict they experienced, and then wraps it up with the resolution. Your customers are the heros of these stories and your product or service is what helps them save the day. This makes case studies both engaging and relatable. And even better — they always have a happy ending.
One of the most obvious benefits of using case studies is that they represent the view of your customers and clients, not your company. Blog posts, webinars, white papers, and other types of content that come directly from your marketing team are often viewed as self-serving, meaning that people tend to be slightly more skeptical of them. Case studies come from the mouth of the consumer, so they act as a third party endorsement of your brand. Including direct quotes can add even more credibility.
Create Helpful Resources for Sales
Case studies make great collateral for sales. If you use a marketing automation system, you can incorporate case studies into drip campaigns to send to your prospects so that they can see real examples of how your product is being used. They’re also helpful when sales members are dealing with prospects that have very specific problems or needs. If you have a library of case studies to pull from, sales can point the prospect to the case study that most closely resembles their situation. Often, working a case study in at the right time in the sales cycle can help sales members close deals.
Discover Your Brand Evangelists
When you create a case study, you typically approach several of your clients or customers to ask them to participate. This process will naturally lead you to the people who are willing to become your brand evangelists. The fact that you have customers who are willing to vouch for you speaks volumes about the quality of your product or service.
With businesses being forced to lean more and more on word-of-mouth marketing to cut through the advertising and marketing clutter, adding case studies to your marketing strategy can prove invaluable.
Consumers want to see the human behind your brand. Don’t be afraid to show them.