Add Drama to Case Studies – the ‘Save-the-Day’ Story
We all love a little drama now and then – especially in our stories.
Drama’s expected in novels and blockbusters, but what about in customer case studies featuring high-dollar products for engineer audiences?
You bet. Buyers, buried in their busy workdays, want information that cuts through product promises. Stories where companies achieve great feats capture their attention.
Often, the best are “save-the-day” stories. Here’s the basic scenario…
A company has a pressing problem that usually needs to be resolved quickly. As the clock ticks, the company loses money, can’t serve customers as well, is more exposed to business risks, and so on depending the type of solution featured.
In swoops the vendor who teams with the company to turn things around and avert disaster.
Let’s look at two options for save-the-day case studies:
- The full save-the-day story
You can devote a full case study to the save when it makes sense. For example, I did a case study on a hospital for a company that specializes in data center moves.The entire project was a save-the-day feat, with time constraints and sick patients being moved.
- The save-the-day anecdote
Or, you can include a save as one example in the broader case study. Often, there are multiple points a case study needs to hit – smooth delivery, certain capabilities, etc.For the dramatic anecdote, look for an incident where the product, service or person delivering service made a major difference.Often in interviews, I’ll ask, “Can you think of a specific time or incident where [insert name] really made a difference?”Recently, that question paid off with an anecdote about how a network monitoring solution helped the customer find and fix a major vulnerability in the firewall. The anecdote became a solid example in the context of the rest of the story.
- Everyone’s a hero
In the save-the-day story, there’s more than one hero. The featured customer really doesn’t want to give ALL the credit to the vendor.Don’t make the customer seem helpless. The customer is also a hero for implementing innovation or best practices, for solving business problems.Choose your wording carefully and be sure to give credit to the customer for their part in the project. Notice above that I said, the “vendor teams with the company.” When you make everyone look great, it’s that much easier to get customers to sign off on the story.