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@Christa - you're on the right track - focusing on the end results of the work more.

@Beth - the best form of testimonial to me is that of the spontaneous kind, like engaging in conversations with customers publicly and evolving what is being said depending on who shows up. Having said that, many organizations are still very careful about their employees talking about a service provider freely online.

@Harriett - that's why it's important to talk to customers on a regular basis. Is the service you're providing helping them look good with *their* customers? A case study that highlights how then would be helpful and welcome. It takes understanding the connections and the value points to insert yourself successfully in that conversation.

@Valeria - Valuable insights for anyone involved with case studies. The biggest problem from what I've seen over the years is a total lack of focus on what's in it for the customer when they're asked to participate. Companies often see it as as a no-brainer that their customers would want to participate for the promotional value. More than ironic, isn't it, since the customer is the central focus of the study. Talk about a total lack of relevance;-).

@Beth - Thanks for the insights on one-size-doesn't-fit-all case studies. I'm always amazed when companies see their heaviest lifting in getting a company to cooperate as a reference or the focus of a case study when, in fact, the bigger challenge is in translating that customer story so it's relevant to a variety of audiences.

Valeria,

That is definitely one of the better pitches I’ve seen in a while. That said, I struggle with:

“…magazines will bring them to the attention of tens or even hundreds of thousands of readers at no cost to you. The articles can often be placed in more than one non-competing publication by writing them with several audiences in mind. Case studies also can generate traffic and backlinks on your website and serve as great printed handouts.”

I agree with you, first you need to have the customer relationships in place to even get to the point of a case study. But once in that position, there are many other hurdles to jump before getting to the end points your pitcher describes. I think this whole section leaves out the fact that most of these items are not guaranteed and take rolled-up sleeves work well in advance… Why? Because they rely on multiple second-parties finding enough value in what’s written to publish it or link to it and that is surely never a given -- even when you do have relationships in place. As well, there is a cost to getting anything placed in a blog or magazine…and that is either the agencies/employees time (PLUS the fee to pay the pitcher for his companies services). Nothing is free.

I also think the notion of writing a case study for multiple audiences lends itself to a bit of multiple personality syndrome that never really satisfies anyone in the end.

Thanks for bringing up this all important point… Looks like in today’s marketing world there is no avoiding customer relationships… ;-)

Beth Harte
Community Manager, MarketingProfs
@bethharte

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