«Return to Blog List Lessons from a Bad Case Study – #3 Ignoring the Audience

How often do you see an email, piece of snail mail or ad that has nothing to do with you whatsoever? Every day, or maybe all day, every day, right?

You ignore what doesn’t speak directly to you.

It’s the cardinal rule of writing – write for your audience. But it’s shocking how often marketing communications fail to do so.

A customer case study or success story is a very targeted story written for a specific audience. Fail to speak to that audience, and the reader simply won’t read it.

That’s the third – and final – lesson from a particularly poor case study I came across last week.

The case study aims to pitch database services to heads of IT departments. Yet it doesn’t give CIOs and IT directors what they likely want/need from the story.

What’s missing?

  • The story doesn’t offer any specifics about the featured customer’s database setup – types, number, and the challenges therein. It’s too vague. Those details provide more credibility for this type of reader.
  • It doesn’t show why the customer chose this service provider over others. Surveys of buyers indicate that most readers want to know why someone chose a solution over others.
  • It’s not to the point. Back to Lesson #1, rambling narrative loses most readers, but perhaps IT people even more.
  • The story names benefits without showing how those benefits were made possible by the vendor.
  • Metrics – It’s tough to get customers to share metrics, I know. But this case is full of broad, sweeping generalizations about benefits such as “relieved management headaches” or “improved batch operations.” What does that mean exactly and how did it come about? Morever, what is the business impact of that?

If you simply do not give readers what they expect or want from the story, you’re missing an opportunity, and wasting your investment in creating that case study.

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