This is a guest post by Kiko Fronda.
Content is the lifeblood of any B2B company’s sales and marketing efforts. In fact, 93% of truly successful marketers have finely tuned marketing strategies revolving around B2B content. Of particular importance is content that is informational, not promotional. According to a study by Demand Gen Report, B2B buyers are more discerning about the content they consume—they are no longer as easily swayed by marketing fluff and sales talk. What they seek are answers.
While whitepapers and product overviews are great, they do lack that little bit of promotion that helps your brand stand out amongst your competition. That’s why case studies are a particularly potent tool in your arsenal. In fact, 41% of B2B buyers have said that case studies or testimonials were a crucial part of their journey. If you haven’t been using this to your advantage, then read on.
Let’s take a look at the top three reasons to utilize case studies in your marketing right now:
1. Case studies establish credibility.
It’s easy for any business to claim that theirs is the best solution to particular consumer pain points—they do it all the time. If you think that you don’t do that, take a peek at any of your sales brochures and flyers. Buyers today are getting smarter and far more wary about overly promotional materials. Forbes has found that we’re exposed to—on average—between 4,000 to 10,000 ads daily. Those are big numbers that explain why we’re immune to overt marketing and sales messages.
Because case studies showcase your product and your customers’ real-world experiences of it, they are far more credible in the eyes of your consumers. It makes a lot of sense in the eyes of other buyers looking for the same solutions. This is especially true if you include testimonials and your customers’ accounts of their experiences with you and your products. Highlight statistics that showcase their success given their use of your products. It’s a much richer and more relevant story overall.
2. Case studies show your products off—with evidence to match.
This ties in with the preceding point. After all, you naturally want to have your business and products/services front and center of any content piece you invest in. You’re paying for it. There’s a big difference between showcasing your products as you would in marketing materials and showing what your products actually do. The latter is what you want to have in your case study because it comes off as more natural—especially when you back everything up with the numbers.
Remember that in order for you to achieve this natural-ness and authenticity, you should focus on your customer as the hero of your case study. Yes, you read that right. Minimize throwing your name out there and focus on what your customer did with your product and what success they ultimately enjoyed. This allows other potential prospects to imagine themselves and their situation as your case study subject. They’re more likely to purchase if they can relate.
3. Case studies move leads along through the sales funnel.
If you keep just pushing out marketing materials and sales brochures, you’re quickly going to get leads clogging up your sales funnel. Again, because we’re so heavily exposed to advertising on a daily basis, we’ve become far more immune to these types of content. Don’t get us wrong, they’re great to catch the attention of potential leads at the beginning. But if you want to move them towards actually making a purchase, you have to give them more.
Case studies are this ‘more’ in that they answer the essential question on everyone’s minds: “does it actually, really work?” By presenting an authentic use case, you answer that question and move them onto other questions further down the line—most likely questions of pricing and affordability. It should be mentioned that to get case studies to the right people at the right stage of the journey, you can turn to content syndication.
Make it work.
There are three key things that you need to make case studies work. The first is to focus on the customer as your hero. This moves the narrative away from you and the tendency that has to come off as sales-y and disingenuous. The second is authenticity. What your customer actually experienced is what you should narrate. Share how your products are the means to their success. The final bit is sufficient evidence. People will want numbers to crunch when determining whether you’re a fit for their own pain points.
“Kiko is a seasoned marketing professional with over two decades of sales, product management, and marketing experience. Understanding a market and planning how to tailor technology-driven products or services into realizable benefits is something he is passionate about. Kiko previously held Senior Management roles in Product Management and Marketing from various B2B technology companies.”