I'm a big proponent of what I call "win-win storytelling" in customer case
studies and success stories. The company creating the customer story has to
benefit, as does the featured customer.
The key - especially for landing big-name customers for customer stories - is
finding what motivates each customer (on an individual, departmental or
company level). Simply reminding the customer they receive free publicity may
not be enough.
In just the past two weeks, I've worked on several stories with interesting
customer motivators behind them:
- A civil engineer is enthusiastic about being featured because
it showcases his own success on a major project (and he used my client's
software to do so). Nice addition to his resume!
- An IT department participated because it wants to highlight its
innovative best practices publicly.
- And a marketing department... (more)
Mark Twain is said to have called it, "a minimum of sound to a maximum of
sense." Who else could so perfectly provide such a sound bite describing
sound bites? If a customer story is the most powerful evidence of a
customer's experience, then the customer's own quoted comments are the jewels
in that crown. They sparkle and stand out above the rest of the story. Often,
it's all the viewer or reader may remember, so they better be good.
In a written customer case study or success story, sound bites are best
highlighted as "pull quotes." They are literally pulled out of th... (more)
If you heard that a certain type of fox is endangered, would you be moved to
How about if you heard that a mama fox was trying to keep herself and her
litter safe as their forest disappears?
Now that's different. There's a story there with actual individuals being
Such was the storyline for a campaign by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF),
which told a universal tale of survival to communicate about the kit fox
problem in Northern California.
Information in the context of a story is dramatically more compelling than
straight facts. Yet, many nonprofits fail to tell... (more)
It's clear that customer case studies and success stories are integral to the
sales process. But how many organizations actually use them in every
According to Robyn Haydon, Australian proposal-writing expert and author of
the book The Shredder Test, companies don't integrate customer evidence
nearly enough in actual sales proposals. But those that do, see the payoff.
"I know that a lot of my clients get short-listed because they have pushed
hard to include evidence in their proposals, and case studies are really part
of that," she said.
How do you bring your customer ... (more)
If asked, will customers submit themselves as possible case study or success
From consumer-products companies to B2B to nonprofit organizations, many now
actively solicit stories with self-service “Share Your Story” links on
their Web sites. Apple created a link for this soon after the release of its
wildly popular iPhone. FileMaker software includes a link to “Tell us your
Girl Scouts of the USA asks former members to share their experiences for its
alumnae program. And Toyota Motor Sales gather owners' stories and gets usage
permission through an o... (more)