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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.
 

Compelling Proof Points that Set the Stage for Successful Case Studies

 
Last week Fire Enterprises (FEI) Marketing Tribe Leader Marka taught rookie customer-service rep Aetius the value of customer testimonials. This week, Marka shows Aetius how to create an excellent “baseline study” in advance of a case study. Remember, fire=print.

One morning Aetius found Marka in her office, looking over a speech she was writing for her upcoming presentation to the OCMA (Olympian Chariot Manufacturers’ Association).

“May I interrupt?” Aetius asked.

Marka looked up from her work. “Of course. What can I do for you, Aetius?”

“I need your advice on something,” Aetius said. “FEI recently installed a set of FireStarter kilns at Sully’s Stonecarving Factory, completely replacing their old, worn-out kilns. Sully’s CFO has estimated that the efficient, longer-burning FireStarters will save Sully’s almost $5,000 Drachmas per year—and they only paid about $2,000 for the whole set!”

“Nice!” Marka exclaimed.

“We’ve got an awesome potential case study here, but now we have to wait a whole year until Sully’s can confirm that their actual savings match their estimates,” Aetius said with disappointment.

“Do we?” Marka asked. “Why don’t we create a baseline study?”

“Baseline study?” Aetius asked with interest.

“If we’ve got a new customer who’s anticipating excellent ROI from one of our solutions, why wait a whole year to let everyone know?” Marka asked. “If we cook up a baseline study, we can start showing off this awesome proof point immediately. We’ll use the same Challenge/Solution/Results formula we always use for case studies, replacing ‘Results’ with ‘Anticipated Results.’ The Anticipated Results section will include Sully’s projected savings at benchmarks of three months, six months, and one year. We’ll include a big ol’ bar graph that makes it easy to see at a glance exactly how much Sully’s is expecting to save from our kilns.”

“I assume we’ll follow up with Sully’s at the benchmark dates to see how closely their estimates match reality?” Aetius said.

“You bet,” Marka said. “And the best part of a baseline study? If we find Sully’s actual ROI is within the estimate range, then we’ve got an awesome case study to boot!”

“Every client proof point we collect is valuable,” Aetius said. “Why wait a whole year to confirm results we’re pretty sure will happen anyway? Baseline studies allows to get a jump on collecting awesome proof points, and can double duty as effective case studies as well.”

“Now you’re getting it!” Marka said. She gestured to her O-Powerpoint slide deck. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to come up with some good chariot jokes.”
 
Next week: Marka teaches Aeitus how to create an effective whitepaper.

Today’s FIRE! Point
When your client is anticipating excellent results from working with you, don’t wait for the results to create a case study. Instead, get a head start by creating a baseline study that details anticipated results. Be sure to build benchmarks into your anticipated results, and check in with your client to see how closely actual results match anticipated.

FIRE! In Action: Hubspot Uses Customer Case Studies to Bolster Web Presence
The internet marketing software company posts dozens of case studies on its Website. Every case study is relatively short, includes graphics or video content, and, most importantly emphasizes the measurable results the client has seen.

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