Plenty of case studies – informative and well-written – should be part of most companies' arrays of business-to-business communication tools.
Unlike the consumer market, where impulse and emotion can have a profound impact on decisions to purchase, the B2B sector tends to be more rational, with decision-making based on a mix of factors such as price, lead times, customer service, technical advice, and regulatory compliance. Specifiers in this area often also look for evidence of the experiences of other customers.
In a long product life cycle there can only be one real 'launch' media release – after that it is no longer 'news' (until, perhaps, the product is re-launched with uprated specifications or other improvements.
Case studies, on the other hand, provide a continuing source of opportunities for news on how a product and service package has successfully solved problems for customers. Case studies are a legitimate excuse for repeating the benefits of Product X many times over – but each time in support of a third party project.
Cleverly written case studies will also include some supportive comments from the customer, the specifier or the contractor, presenting a real-life endorsement of the product. So the case study can make a compelling sales case to other specifiers.
The trick with case studies is to achieve the right balance between details of the featured project and the sales messages attached to the product: too much of the former means there's no space to 'sell', while too much of the latter erodes the news value and editors are less like to include it in their pages. In addition, there needs to be a balanced, information-rich paragraph putting both the project and product in as few words as possible to suit the needs of trade journals that publish hundreds of short items.
There's a cost involved in having case studies produced professionally, but it does not need to be excessive. I f the words are reused in the company's own news stream – including website, blogs, brochures, flyers, newsletters and social media outputs – then the value of good copy will cover its cost perhaps many times over.
David Goddin Communications has extensive experience of B2B case studies – call us today and let's talk about how we can make your case studies work harder for you.
David Goddin was born in the UK and educated in South Africa. He began his career on daily newspapers and trade journals, before moving into public relations consulting. He produced award-winning writing and became an Accredited PR Practitioner, the highest qualification of the Public Relations Institute of South Africa. Since his return to the UK 17 years ago he has also contributed to a number of highly successful PR and marketing communications campaigns for major national and multinational clients. He is currently also President of the Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce.