If you’re a marketer, chances are good you’ve been tasked with writing a case study. If you’re a business consumer, chances are good you’ve read a case study. If you’re me, chances are you’ve fallen asleep.
Not because I stayed up too late. Not because I forgot to drink my typical half-pot of coffee before noon. Not because it’s 3PM and that’s what the typical corporate America employee feels like doing.
I’ve fallen asleep with case studies because I’ve been searching for the relationship, not the ROI.
The typical case study more than likely contains the following pieces of information:
- Customer profile
- Customer’s business challenge
- Product, service, or tactics used to meet the customer’s need
So here goes. The Case Study I’d Like to Write:
Joe Schmo is my customer. I met him 15 years ago when my kid pushed his on the playground and Mrs.Looderdorf requested we come in for a joint parent/teacher conference to discuss appropriate behavior of our children. Joe runs a multi-million dollar company. You wouldn’t know it because he typically wears pink fuzzy slippers and says “snuck” when he should have said “sneaked”. He’s not from Minnesota. He doesn’t like sports. He’s not Norwegian. He doesn’t hunt. He doesn’t fish. He doesn’t drink Blue Moon. He’s never heard of the band Switchfoot and frankly doesn’t even know Adrian Peterson carries a football for a living.
But he has 4 kids, a wife, and knows me well. And the name of his business really isn’t that important.
Customer’s business challenge
Joe doesn’t have enough time and he doesn’t have enough people. But he’s got a a product in hot demand, a staff that truly gives a rip, and customers who are realizing both daily. While Joe’s staff is busy exceeding customer expectations, he’s busy running day-to-day operations. No one is focused on meeting the technology demands and marketing opportunities that stare him in the face daily.
Product, service, or tactics used to meet the customer’s need
Joe called. I answered my phone. Specifically, I grabbed it with my right hand and put it to my right ear. There was no cold call. There was no trade show introduction. There was no direct mail flyer dropped in the mail.
What did happen one time 15 years ago was Joe sitting across the table from me explaining why his son deserved a beating on the playground. After that initial introduction by sweet Mrs.Looderdorf, we discovered we both worked in similar industries, had complimentary professional skills, and a possessed a genuine desire to work with driven, authentic people on a daily basis.
So Joe continues to call. And I continue to answer. And many times I don’t have an immediate solution to his current technology or marketing problem. Fear regularly stares me in the face. Yet over time, the solution is continually revealed and we celebrate together when another finish line has been crossed.
Joe introduced me to Jim – a close friend and business acquaintance. His son apparently wasn’t in need of a beat-down, but we decided to meet anyway. It turns out Jim was another fellow business owner who did like the Minnesota Vikings. He possessed many of the same business challenges as Joe. After proving to myself that a life-long relationship had been established in Joe with absolutely nothing in common, this relationship seemed like a walk in the park. And it was.
Do you have a similar customer case study?
Have you read one recently that focused more on the relationship instead of the return on investment?
Comment and share.