Customer success stories are a highly effective marketing tool for B2B vendors because they provide proof that the vendor’s solutions do what they say they do. However, getting customers to agree to work with you on a success story is often a challenge.
If a customer won’t cooperate, should you write the story anyway without using the customer’s name? After all, the sales rep can always drop the customer name in conversation even if they can’t include the name in the written document.
Here are the factors to consider when deciding for or against a blind case study:
Clearly a customer name and endorsement is the most powerful proof point. If you don’t have that, you lose a significant portion of the value of the case study.
That said, some customers, particularly large companies that often make the most desirable success stories, have policies forbidding them from providing endorsements. For example, Wal-Mart never provides endorsements.
Also, many industries will never provide endorsements because of possible regulatory or competitive concerns; for example, life sciences companies or other research-based companies often refuse to provide endorsements. Other companies don’t provide endorsements because the vendor’s product provides a critical competitive advantage and they don’t want to give away competitive secrets.
What to do?
In my opinion, and in those of many of my clients, it’s worth it to produce the case study even without attribution. This is because stories are an extremely powerful way to convey information.
- People pay to attention stories.
- Stories provide highly concrete examples that make your products’ benefits much easier to understand.
- Stories are memorable—people are much more likely to remember information if it’s told in the form of a story.
- The right story can inspire people to action.
So by all means, start by getting case studies from customers willing to give their name. But if they won’t, and they have a particularly interesting story, consider writing a “blind” case study.
What’ve been your experiences with blind case studies?