My clients are having a harder and harder time these days getting their customers to sit still for case studies. The last thing I want to produce after that is a formulaic story that says, “Yes, your product worked as advertised, we’re so happy we found you and, oh, yeah, your tech support staff returned our calls”.

Here are 12 angles I look for, in my work for trade publications and vendors, to find the “nugget” that lifts a case study out of the ordinary. I ask myself if the customer is:  

1)      A leader in its market space?

2)      Bouncing back from a setback?

3)      Prospering while its competitors are hurting?

4)      Diversifying (profitably) while its competitors focus on older businesses?

5)      Focusing on older businesses (profitably) while competitors are unsuccessfully diversifying?

6)      Building a business model /exploiting a market/serving a customer need you’ve never seen before?

7)      Among the first to see the flaws in a hot new technology and replace it with yours?

8)      Gotten significantly more benefit from your product than others by being smarter in how they use it?

9)      Thriving in a commodity market by adding value in a new way?

10)   Avoided common mistakes (in business or technology) that have hobbled others?

11)   Doing something (in business or technology) that’s an example of a wider trend?

12) NOT doing something that's a common trend and succeeding?

The key, as I’m sure you see, is finding something new, important or of broader interest than one company’s experience to hang the case study on. The next challenge is to get the customer to explain, very specifically, how the product or service helped them and keep the text focused on those themes. Good luck!

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Filed under: Content MarketingIT MarketingPR/Marketing Trends

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