Case studies are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

They are a tool designed to attract a specific prospective buyer.

If you’re aiming for a buyer that is vaguely defined, it’s like target shooting underwater. You’re never going to hit your mark.

A customer story has to speak to the right audience.

And different audiences need different types of information.

For example:

  • A CEO or CFO may prefer seeing high-level results, such as how did the product or service affect the bottom line.
  • A manager may prefer an overview of how it affected the team, and achieved key business objectives.
  • A technical expert may prefer to see how easy it was to use, how well the product was supported, and how those solutions were deployed.
  • NPOs may want to see the type of impact that you made in your community.
  • A day-to-day user of your products and services may look for different types of results than executives.

You may even have several audiences reading your case studies, such as a CEO and a technical person. In that case, you may want to create multiple stories or one that gives each audience what they need.

Here are a four questions to ask to determine your audience:

  1. How will your case studies be used—at which part of the sales and marketing process?
  2. Who is the decision-maker(s)?
  3. Who’s the audience for your studies–executives, managers or technical people (or all of the above)?
  4. What key messages do you want to communicate to your decision-makers?

The key is to resonate on several levels with your target audience. When selecting a case study candidate, pick someone that is similar to your target audience and you’ll have the best chance at attracting your ideal prospective buyer.