Never doubt the power of a single case study or the positive impact for the featured customer.
Last year, United Airlines racked up five major awards – and countless resulting PR – for its CRM and direct marketing efforts for the MileagePlus loyalty program:
• 2012 Gartner and 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards – Silver
• 2012 DMA – Marketer of the Year
• 2012 1to1 Media Customer Champion
• 2012 DMA Innovation Award
• 2012 Travel Weekly Magellan Silver for Loyalty
What fueled every application for the award entries was a single case study, initiated by United’s data partner, Acxiom Corp. United teamed with Acxiom for data integration, enhancement and segmentation, helping bring together 90 million records for the United and Continental Airlines merger, as well as for United’s companywide CRM initiative.
I worked with Acxiom to help the company and United document the story. From there, we used the case study to populate the dozens of questions throughout the award entry forms.
When awards were announced, and press releases drafted, I saw that same copy appear again and again in various publications. Best of all, it was in language that United and Acxiom had approved, giving all positive exposure in the perfect pitch they desired. The internal champion for the project at United also got recognition within the company for his efforts.
It’s a powerful but often-overlooked way to get more mileage out of a customer case study.
Companies build goodwill with their clients by submitting case studies for relevant industry awards. In this case, Acxiom took on the award submissions so United didn’t have to. It’s a big benefit for customers. You can even put awards in the list of benefits when approaching a customer about participating in a case study.
Over the years, I’ve helped several clients use case studies to apply for and win awards, but this is the most successful outcome ever.
How about you? Have you used a case study to apply for awards?
A glowing customer success story is a coveted piece of marketing collateral, but case studies are not always easy to create. If you manage case studies, or write them, you know the challenges: getting a customer to agree, conducting interviews, writing and editing the story, and getting customer signoff.
After all that work, how do you use the heck out of a case study to engage prospects and customers?
Nearly every organization posts a completed case study on their website. But how do you get traffic to it?
Companies today are using case studies in multiple ways to pull prospects to their websites, from traditional print media to social media to digital advertising.
Here are some fresh examples of success stories in action:
I recently caught a Dell tweet about the success of one of its customers, with a link to the full version of the case study. It was engaging and specific, encouraging prospects to click.
LinkedIn and Facebook
Last year, I featured PostcardMania.com for its extensive use of case studies. The company helps organizations market effectively with postcards. I also learned the company mentions its customer successes on LinkedIn and Facebook.
In the course of a conversation on LinkedIn, the company's social media manager might point a dentist, for example, to a gallery of visual examples of other postcard campaigns or to a video and/or written case study showing how another dentist brought in new business with postcard marketing.
For marketing to existing fans, PostcardMania posts teasers to its success stories on Facebook. But it's critical to be specific:
"Find out how this landscaping company, ABC Lawn, brought in $15,000 from just one postcard mailing."
While perusing Wired magazine this week, I came across a full-page ad from HP featuring its customer, NASCAR. NASCAR and HP teamed to create a way to measure NASCAR's impressions and success across its media channels.
After a brief summary of the story, the ad then shares the URL to find the full, engaging customer case study with all the momentum worthy of NASCAR.
Digital Display Advertising
EarthLink runs digital display ads that link back to a landing page featuring a specific case study. The landing pages include engaging images, a summary of the story, a link to read more, and a call to action.
These are just a few examples of how companies use case studies to bring eyeballs to their websites. Seen any great examples lately? Share them here!