Are case studies still even valuable?
Short answer: No.
Case studies were big about 10-15 years ago, if not longer. Companies do still use them, but they’re not as broadly effective. First of all, everyone has them. We all know you (as the provider of the case study) picked the three best client engagements you’ve had recently. We know we’re not necessarily getting the full picture of working with you. We’re getting a curated picture, i.e. the Instagram version of engaging with you.
Other issues: putting yourself front-and-center (as the brand) repels practitioners (who actually do the work). Case studies make it about you, not about your customer.
Another issue: No one really reads these things. Executives certainly are not clamoring for it.
Another issue: We are aware legal signed off on everything.
And finally: When you write a case study about your work with Widgets, Inc. and then Widgets, Inc. is revealed to be a fraudulent Ponzi scheme with global sex traffickers on its Board of Directors, what happens to you? You pull down the case study, sure. But people still know it and saw it and associate you with it. Did you just validate evil in the marketplace? You might have, in the eyes of a prospect. Now you’ve got additional problems.
Talk to people (customers, prospects)
You come in peace. You just want to learn. What’s their story? In visual form:
That’s the core of it.
We actually did a webinar with TextRecruit a while back, and barely mentioned TextRecruit in the process. (Here’s another one.) We talk about that process with other companies sometimes, and often they freak out. They want to be mentioned a lot. Me me me. They want to be mentioned as solving a problem for some S&P 1500 company.
Pause and think about DVR for a second. Why is that popular? Why is, in part, streaming popular? Oftentimes: no commercials. People do not like advertisements. Younger generations, who have grown up around ads constantly? They really do not like advertisements. People skip commercials and ads. When you do a webinar and it’s all Our brand is so great yadda yadda yadda, that’s a commercial. People tune out.
The best strategy here is to listen and find ways to make the story about the unique challenges of the target company — their innovator’s journey and their needs. It’s much better than vomiting up a bunch of stuff about yourself.