On a regular basis, I end up looking at case studies from tech providers. It may be specifically requested for feedback, or it might be me digging deeper to try to understand nuances to their story.
And, I see the same pattern repeat itself over and over and over. Even for good case studies that include quantifiable results.
The overwhelming majority of case studies mirror provider messages — They tell the what of the story. Not the why or the how.
For example, we coach on storytelling–and starting with the customer situation. When clients try to emulate that, I see situations like, “XYZ Corp needed a new e-commerce system.” The story unfolds and eventually gets to “They deployed our product and saw a 15% increase in e-commerce revenues in 6 months.” Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with these stories. Particularly with quantified results.
Unless they are the only story you are telling. Or if you can’t go deeper.
“What stories” work for buyers that know what they want. They help reinforce confidence that the path they are on could work for them.
But “what stories” dont work for people that are not that far along. They need to know the why. Why did they need an e-commerce system? What was wrong with their old one? What problems were they experiencing? With “why stories,” you can help people sense and recognize issues they are facing that they had not identified a solution path for. You can tie that in to the value of solving them.
“Why stories” help people build the case for change.
The next step is “how stories.” How stories continue to be a missed opportunity. How stories would talk to the steps to move off the old system onto the new one. They would focus on the specific things that were done that helped drive the revenue increase. “How stories” guide others into the path to success.
And often, not understanding the how is what causes buying efforts to stall.
Take an inventory of your case studies (and your content for that matter). If you are like most, I suspect you have an overwhelming amount of “what” content and case studies. You are probably light on “why” and “how.”
If that is the case, I think priorities for next efforts should be pretty clear.
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