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one thing

A customer story can’t just be interesting or results-oriented. It also needs to sell.

Even more critically, it needs to influence the intended audience.

Before beginning customer success stories or case studies with a new client, I ask a LOT of questions of my marketing contacts – well before ever talking to one of their happy customers. Going into projects, I want to understand…

  1. The client’s business
    What do they do, for whom and how? How are they different from the competition?
  2. The goals for their case studies
    What are they trying to accomplish? What should the audience take away?

I need to know what messages need to be in their stories in order for them to sell effectively.

So, among the many questions I ask my client contacts before starting any stories, there’s one that’s chief:

If you could design the perfect case study what key messages would it include?

Maybe fast return on investment is just one of the messages. You might also want to highlight certain capabilities that the competition doesn’t have, speed of delivery or implementation, or responsive customer support.

Next, create your customer interview questions to elicit those key messages.

Then, whether you’re a writer or marketer, make sure those points get into every story. By showing that customers consistently have the same positive experience, you not only sell well, but start to associate those key messages with your brand.

One Response to The #1 Question to Ask Before Starting Any Case Study

  1. Ian Shircore says:

    Absolutely spot on, Casey.

    The only caveat I’d add is that you should warn the client about diluting the impact. One key message is perfect. Two messages is certainly workable. Three or more is risking losing direction. As the Chinese used to say: “If you tell me three things, you tell me nothing.”