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As potential customers grow immune to the hard sell and endless ads and emails, B2B marketers are looking for more effective ways to entice their target audiences. The case study is an age old marketing technique that some consider obsolete and outdated in in the face of social media, which offers a place for prospects to search for customer opinions of products and services. But if prospects are ignoring sales reps as much as they can in favor of readily available customer testimonials on social media, we think it’s time for the case study to make a comeback. Today’s buyers listen to each other more than they listen to us, the sellers. Case studies give buyers a way to promote a message from a customer to a potential buyer, and offer what we think is an invaluable sales pitch.

Why Use a Case Study?
Marketers have hundreds of options for creating campaigns. So why a case study? A case study communicates your sales pitch to your customer without the sales rep. Prospects have a chance to digest product information on their own terms. Case studies show how your products or services provide benefits in the real business world. For example, if you sell customer relations management software, a case study would illustrate how your application streamlined a company’s database and made it easier to locate customer data. Case studies are great ways to show the many benefits a product or service offers a prospect. Prospects can see the value instantly because they get to envision your offering in action.

Another good reason for using case studies is that they are inexpensive compared to other marketing methods. All you need is a staff member or a writer to interview a happy customer about a problem that your company helped them solve. The most effective case study involves real ROI data, but doesn’t always have to. Just an outline of a problem, a solution, and an impact can deliver a powerful product message. A case study is a story where a sales pitch is just that: a sales pitch.

Video Case Studies – New Ways to Tell Stories
Marketers today have flocked to video case studies. While more expensive and difficult to promote than a written case study, video case studies are easier to consume. In 2009, Google changed their Analytics code to rank video content higher in search results. We’re not sure where video stands today, but we’re willing to bet it hasn’t become less relevant than text content. Video case studies also create content for a YouTube channel or an interactive homepage to your website, both of which offer additional venues for prospects to engage with your brand.

How Case Studies Increase B2B Sales
Case studies or success stories of your customers allow potential clients to see how your company actually helped another business to achieve its goals. Case studies are one of very few types of content that engage prospects and customers throughout every phase of the buying cycle. Anonymous leads and prospects can turn to case studies to learn about your offerings, sales reps can push out case studies to help prospects understand how their solutions fit into business life, and customers can use case studies to learn product and service best practices. Promote case studies everywhere that you can for the best results.

By giving prospects several case studies – whether written or on video – to read or view, you help them understand how much your company has to offer. By telling a simple story of how your company helped another company achieve one of its business goals, you distinguish yourself from your competitors and increase the chances of making another B2B sale.