What a difference a couple of months makes…
Earlier this summer, I was talking with a friend/associate about customer stories. The web developer was excited to capture a case study on one of his customers who had a great experience with his firm.
Not only did the web site deliver for the company but the main contact was a dream – eloquent, intelligent and very happy with the web firm’s services.
When I caught back up with my friend a couple of months later, the story was dead, a no-go. What happened?
That prized contact had left the client company – retired. And worse, no one else at the client company could really tell the story of the relationship with the web firm. Ouch.
I’ve seen this happen dozens of times. Organizations lose their strongest customer stories because they’re ultimately not fast enough in capturing them.
Knowledge and experience about working with your products and services resides with people, and when those people leave, so too goes the information.
Even if you stay in touch, they’re no longer employed with a title at that company or have the authority to provide the details or be interviewed for a case study.
It’s understandable that this happens and sometimes unavoidable even when you pursue stories promptly. Contacts can leave abruptly, and most marketers juggle much more than just customer case studies.
But when those client contacts are gone, those stories are usually lost forever.
The lesson: Grab your customer case studies and success stories at just the right time…
(1) As soon as it makes sense, meaning you have results to document
(2) Before your valued contacts move on
What incredible customer stories are just waiting to be told at your organization? Call your contacts NOW.
We all work hard to create attractive content. But just how useful is it in actually influencing buyers?
Each year, I look forward to The Eccolo Media B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report, which opens the lid on how B2B technology buyers consume marketing content.
Of course, I want to know, what's going on with customer case studies?
Again, this year's just-released report didn't disappoint. Eccolo and Global Marketing Insite collected responses from 501 participants, who were C-level execs, VPs, directors, managers, developers/programmers and technicians - all of which participate in technology purchase decisions in some way.
The survey asked about multiple types of content:
- White papers
- Case studies/success stories
- Product brochures/data sheets
- Company web pages
- Social media sites
- Blog posts
That list alone shows the diversity of marketing content that buyers consume. In fact, that was one of their main conclusions, buyers look at LOTS of different info.
Here are some key findings:
Buyers like their options - As new collateral types gain popularity, technology purchasers don’t appear to be abandoning any single form of collateral, but rather taking advantage of a broader range of choices.
50 percent had consumed a case study in the past six months when evaluating a technology purchase.
Consumption has dropped...Consumption of case studies dropped 17 percentage points year over year, along with drops in consumption of white papers and brochures/data sheets, but...
...when consumed, they are more influential than ever. When asked to describe the influence of a case study on the purchasing decision, 68 percent called them "very" or "extremely influential," up from 39 percent in last year's survey.
Case studies are just behind white papers among most influential collateral types.
"Share This" buttons make content seem more valuable. Oddly, just the option of sharing on social media gave the perception that the content was more worthwhile.
Tech buyers like LONG stories - 48 percent preferred case studies to be four pages in length.
A majority prefer written - 62 percent prefer written case studies while 37 percent say video.
The majority read on the desktop, but give them print options - 58 percent read case studies on the desktop while 23 percent say they download/print them. The remaining viewed on smartphones, tablet devices or received them in hardcopy form.
Mix your media - High numbers indicated that embedded interactive content like audio and video positively influenced the affect of written content.
Buyers get case studies from web sites - Web sites are the most common place to get case studies, with personal contact and direct response following next.
They consume case studies early in the cycle - 41 percent consume case studies in the pre-sale phase while 37 percent consume them in the initial sale period (vs. mid or late in the cycle).
"Purchasers expect you to offer collateral that provides information they can use — not just information about particular products. That requires investing considerable time and thought into the development and maintenance of a content marketing library that you can deploy across as many channels as necessary."
Want more info? Check out the full report.
Marketers, how does this information affect your content marketing plans moving forward?