When Good Customers Make Bad Case Studies

By Gina Kellogg

You’ve been wanting to add a case study to your marketing arsenal, and you finally have the perfect customer to showcase.

Harriett was referred to your company by your brother-in-law. She’s got a small business, and, initially, you didn’t think she would be a good fit for what you offer. You mostly work with mid-sized corporations; the typical small businesses simply can’t afford your services. Nevertheless, you did some adjusting, shaved off some service fees, massaged some numbers and managed to work with her—after all, you felt obligated to help. In the end, you were able to develop a mix of offerings that managed to suit Harriett’s needs quite well.

Now, she’s been raving about how much money your business saved her.

Sounds like the perfect customer to showcase in a success story, doesn’t she?

Think again.

The problem with Harriett is that she’s not representative of your typical customer. Granted, if you wanted to expand into servicing more small businesses, then developing a case history about Harriett’s situation might be beneficial. But the prospects you typically are pursuing simply won’t be able to relate to Harriett’s situation. They won’t be able to see themselves facing the same situation as Harriett because their business is so different than hers.

Putting up a case study about Harriett, in this case, could actually be detrimental to your business.

But don’t give up hope. Another customer’s success story is bound to come to your attention. And when it does, you can create a case study that will allow future prospects to truly appreciate the products or services you offer.

About the author: Gina Kellogg is founder/principal of The Success Story Pro and Hott Cornflakes Communications. Get more from Gina at Twitter (@Gina_Kellogg and @SuccessStoryPro), Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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