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“Chris Strouth tweeted “sh*t, I need a kidney” then got one.”

Whoa, what?

That’s the headline on one of Twitter’s new success stories, one of many about how the social media site has made a difference for people.

Twitter features a number of stories, but out of all of them, I needed to read that one – to know the rest of the story.

It’s powerful and moving, and it doesn’t feature a measurable result.

For years, I’ve counseled my clients on the importance of getting solid results into their customer stories. The more specific and measurable the numbers, the better, I say.

How much money does the solution save or make, or how much time does it save? Does it generate higher traffic, better customer satisfaction and so on. Whatever it is, we always try to measure the positive outcome.

But Twitter shows that you don’t always need numbers to move an audience. Sometimes it’s about the anecdote, one very specific mini story within a story.

A customer success story I’m working on right now features an anecdote instead of a measurable result.

A bank advertising with one of the country’s local city Business Journals got a big new client from an ad. They can’t really measure how many new clients come from their repeated advertising, but an anecdote about one particular customer adds major impact to the success story.

It’s a reminder, when pursuing results, don’t just ask for the numbers, but dig for those mini stories as well.

I like to ask on interviews, “Can you think of a specific time or example where the solution made a difference for you?”

After all, it’s really about the power of story, and an anecdote packs the power of story in a small package.

One Response to Case Studies: When Measurable Results AREN’T Necessary

  1. Phew — thanks for clearing that up! I’m interested in doing customer case studies for industries that I don’t think would include measurable results, and it’s good to know those types of non-technical industries might still need them! Thanks for the overview.