By Casey Hibbard
In 2001, when I wrote my first customer case study, tech companies were just about the only ones using them in their sales and marketing.
Today, that’s changed dramatically. From building contractors to life coaches to solopreneurs, businesses of all types are sold on the power of selling with the voice of the customer.
Chances are, if a business can check off any or all of the boxes below they can benefit from marketing with customer stories:
Their products and services are complex
Their solutions are expensive
The type of decision is perceived as high risk for the customer
They sell in a competitive environment
Honestly, this list could include nearly any type of business.
But where are the real opportunities? Let’s look at the most promising categories in B2B (business to business sales) and B2C (business to consumer sales).
Top B2B Opportunities
Technology companies can typically check off ALL four of the criteria above.
Check out the website of any tech company and you’ll likely find customer case studies. If they’re not doing them, they probably should be.
Think you need to be a techie to write about tech? Not so, actually. Ninety percent of my clients are tech companies, and I certainly would not call myself a “tech person.” But I can write about it.
In most cases, you’re not writing about the bits and bytes behind the technology, but rather, about what it enables for end customers or users. What are the business benefits and value?
Before writing off an opportunity as too technical, take a closer look at the type of technology and what the audience needs to know.
It’s a competitive market out there for business consultants. How do they set themselves apart? With a trove of strong customer experiences.
B2B consulting firms span nearly every conceivable offering, including HR, strategy, technology, PR, marketing, legal, social media and more.
If you’re reaching out to consultants about case studies, choose to focus on the subject matter you understand best.
Top B2C Opportunities
In B2C, the voice of the consumer was once limited to brief testimonials. These days, smart businesses go deeper with stories that show a behind-the-scenes look at a customer’s experience.
B2C purchases usually carry lower price tags than B2B, but the decision can seem just as big or risky for a customer. If you’re deciding which college to attend or which contractor to remodel your home, you sure as heck want to hear the experiences of others.
Here are three hot categories for B2C case studies:
Every day, I receive 2-3 emails trying to sell me on training programs, from sales programs to blogging to writing. If the email hooks me enough to check out the landing page, I want to know more. Have other students found this program valuable? Have they seen the results they expected?
Anyone selling a training program can benefit from showcasing happy customers.
The number of life and business coaches has grown rapidly in the past decade. But how do buyers know which ones truly deliver results?
Customer case studies seriously set these folks apart.
Homeowners looking for help with major home projects need reassurance. Is the contactor on time and on budget? Are they respectful about noise and cleaning up debris? Do they listen closely to your needs and concerns?
Where I live, there are at least half a dozen solar installers all vying for your roof. Which one is the best? Customer success stories address buyer concerns and help homeowners make these critical decisions.
If you’re a writer looking to add case study projects in 2018, focus your outreach efforts on helping these types of B2B and B2C organizations grow their revenue with the voice of the customer. In turn, you’ll grow your business.