A few years back I worked with another writer on a series of customer success stories. It became apparent that she didn’t know the difference between the business terms "revenue" and "profit."
I had taken for granted the fact that I knew and understood terms like this, from experience as a reporter for a city business journal.
Why is this so important to customer stories?
Including details about return on investment (ROI) makes a story compelling to buyers. Often that requires writers or marketers to talk about, or at least understand, such business terms.
I may know about revenue and profit, but in the course of writing case studies, I do encounter industry terms or acronyms I don’t know.
When in doubt, look it up. I frequently refer to several resources to support my writing:
Yahoo Small Business Dictionary
If you’re writing for a specialized industry, find out if there are online dictionaries just for those fields. My own work has required me to turn to civil engineering, and oil and gas dictionaries.
Have any favorite resources to share?
P.S., Revenue = amount generated from sale of goods or services. Profit = the surplus remaining after total costs are deducted from total revenue.
Each year, TechTarget puts out its Media Consumption Benchmark Report. It provides insight into how IT buyers evaluate solutions compared with what IT marketers actually produce. Great stuff!
Here's a summary, with an emphasis on case studies, of this year's findings in the report titled, "Perception Versus Reality of the IT Pro and the IT Marketer:"
Most likely to be forwarded - Case studies came in second after white papers as the media type IT buyers are most likely to forward on to a friend or colleague.
Most likely to be effective, "The most effective information sources for delivering information needed to make enterprise technology purchase decisions: white papers, trial software, search engines, IT publishers' websites and case studies."
Most likely to be used early in the process, Media included white papers, videos, blogs, widgets, case studies, industry magazines, IT publishers, search engines, conferences, IT newsletters and published research.
Most likely to grow in usage, The study pointed out that, given low levels of usage vs. high levels of effectiveness, IT videos, case studies, IT podcasts and vendor demos are set for rapid growth.
With case studies used in buying decisions 25% of the time, and a 71% rate of effectiveness, is it possible that vendors don't have enough stories available when buyers need them?
Many commercials use customer success stories, but Geico insurance has taken a creative twist the past few years. Instead of using just a real customer, or just a celebrity, they use both in tandem - creating a very engaging ad.
But are the ads effective in selling Geico insurance? If the purpose of customer stories is to create credibility, educate prospects and validate services, then do these ads work?