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Technology Buyers Want Longer Case Studies

by | Dec 14, 2011 | B2B Copywriting, Collateral, Case Studies, Technology Marketing | 0 comments

Most marketing pundits will tell you, when it comes to written collateral, shorter is better.

But that’s not always the case. Especially when the audience is technology buyers.

In October, Eccolo Media released their fourth annual B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report (i). Survey respondents included 501 decision-makers (63%) and influencers (37%) who had been involved in a technology purchase in the previous 6 months. Of that group, an astounding 48% expressed a preference for 4-page case studies, a rise of 29% from 2010. Meanwhile, only 30% preferred 1- to 2-page case studies. That’s down 14% from last year.

Here’s a breakdown of the responses from those two surveys:

1 page-8%7%
2 pages27%23%
4 pages37%48%
6 pages19%12%
> 6 pages9%10%
Preferred case study length, % respondents, Eccolo Media B2B Technology Collateral Surveys, 2011 (i) and 2010 (ii).

Those results represent a sharp contrast to the case studies found on most tech company websites, which usually run only a page or two in printed (pdf) form.

Technology marketers would do well to heed these preferences, as tech buyers assign high value to case studies. Respondents in Eccolo’s survey (i) ranked them second in influence only to white papers, with 68% calling case studies “very” or “extremely influential” over their final purchasing decision.

It’s obvious: buyers want to know more about others’ experiences with the technology products and services they are considering for purchase. They want more than the standard one or two pages of “Challenge – Solution – Results”. They want longer case studies.

So how do you fill up those additional pages? Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Dive deep into the challenge

Interview your customer thoroughly on the problems they faced. Provide plenty of details on the situation that caused your customer to seek out your solution. Really set the stage for the reader.

2. Examine the decision-making process

What factors did the customer take into account when evaluating possible solutions. What other solutions were considered? Why was the status quo not an option? Why did the customer choose your solution?

3. Describe the implementation

Technology buyers want to know implementation details before they make a purchase decision. How long did it take? Was there any training involved? What type of support did you provide? What obstacles were overcome? Did any unexpected problems arise? How were they resolved?

This is a great place to show how you support your customers.

4. Confirm integration with other applications

With what equipment and applications did your solution have to be integrated in your customer’s environment? Did they integrate readily? If not, how much work was involved? This is another key area of concern for technology buyers.

5. Highlight ease of use and maintenance

What do your customer’s end-users think about your solution? Is it easy to use? How big a learning curve did they face? What did they think of your support? What do they like most?

What maintenance tasks are involved? How much time do they take? How does that compare to their previous situation?

Discussing the user experience is a great way to include powerful testimonials.

6. Compare results

Ask customers if they’d be willing to share metrics on their operations, both prior to implementing your solution, and once implementation is complete. Then compare these two sets of results in your case study.

Citing quantitative improvements removes doubts from your prospect’s mind and boosts the selling power of your case studies.

7. Review lessons learned

Talk to your customer about what they learned during the transition to your solution. What would they have done differently? What plans do they have for further improvement?

Not only does this approach make your customer look good – putting any difficulties they faced in a good light – it also makes your success story seem less biased and thus, more credible. Plus, prospects love this kind of information. It helps them plan their own integration.

8. Say it with pictures

Not only are pictures “worth a thousand words”, but they can draw in scanners and make your case studies more memorable. Just be sure to use illustrations (and captions!) that really help tell your story.

Need some outside help interviewing a happy customer and turning their success story into a powerful case study? Call me at (+39) 011 569 4951. Or send me an email at


(i) Eccolo Media 2011 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report, Eccolo Media Inc. October 2011.

(ii) Eccolo Media 2010 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report, September 2010.

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