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.

T.J. Tedesco is a sales growth, business strategy, marketing and PR consultant operating at the intersection of clear vision, compelling content and effective outreach practices. For nearly two decades, T.J. has been an independent consultant and sales growth team leader. Previously, he sold commercial printing, graphic arts machinery and supplies, and finishing and bindery services. T.J. helps North American companies with content development, Web and print design leadership, nurture marketing programs, sales coaching, sales team alignment and business strategy. Since 1996, T.J. has worked with more than 100 clients on retainer, 80 percent in the graphic arts industry. T.J. is author of "Win Top-of-Mind Positioning," "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry," "Fire! How Marketing Got Hot," "Direct Mail Pal" and four more books published by PIA. He can be reached at (301) 404-2244 or
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