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January 27, 2011

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Thanks for this! This is a topic that comes up frequently with my clients. It's becoming more and more the norm for customers NOT to allow use of their names in case studies, leaving us without much to work with in some instances. Depending on how powerful the story is, using it without attribution could be a workable solution.

Agree wholeheartedly, Michelle. My experience has been that relevance to the prospective customer is the top consideration, assuming that the source of the case study data is trusted.

Your point about telling a good story and concisely showing the reader the (relevant) problem is key.

I run a software company, www.techvalidate.com that works with b2b corporations (and their marketing or PR agencies) to help them capture customer data while respecting and preserving the customers' public-facing identities. This is a software-based approach to addressing the problem that you're talking about. Often, we see the assets that TechValidate creates become the ammunition for deeper human-written case studies that then capture the "story" quality. Frankly, that's something our software cannot do... I think we're many decades away from software replacing the ability of a human to weave together a good story!

Thanks for bringing attention to an often-asked question that I also encounter daily, Michelle.

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