What is a case study? Yes, it's a write-up of a successful project – but it's also much more than that.
I bang on to my clients that, in order to improve their marketing communications, they need to see through their customers' eyes and talk their customers' language. Well, who better to help you achieve this than… an actual customer!
Your immediate thought possibly isn't your best thought. Why? If you choose to focus on a job which has gone swimmingly then you're missing a trick.
Your back's to the wall, the deadline's up, and the vultures are moving in – but you manage to turn it around for the benefit of your client.
If you can pull a win out of the bag at the toughest of times, then that's a far stronger endorsement of who you are and how you work.
There's another thing to consider too. The client you're thinking of right now probably loves you (and rightly so.) But, supposing, unbeknown to you, they did have a bit of a niggle with the service you gave, and didn't want to tell you in case you took it personally?
My advice is to always ask your trusted copywriting expert to speak to your client for you.
A professional copywriter will know the questions to ask – and how to ask them.
The client shouldn't have an issue raising a potential problem because the interviewer is an independent third party with no reason to take adverse comments to heart. In fact, the negative stuff is how we all improve. If constructive criticism does come back, treasure it and act upon it.
You may also find out that what you think your client loves about you and what they really love about you are quite different.
There could be a wealth of fantastic unknown benefits (and therefore selling points) waiting to be discovered, which could genuinely differentiate you from your so-called competition.
If you do choose to invest some of your precious PR & marketing budget in case studies, make sure you get the maximum value from them. They should be written in such a way that you can use the content in different formats across multiple promotional platforms.
There's just one word of caution.
To issue any material publicly without your client's written permission is not only discourteous and unprofessional but also reckless. You're opening yourself up to a world of pain. Their sign-off is absolutely essential, and it doesn't just apply to words, of course.
So that's it. Have fun. Learn stuff. Improve your customer service. There's no better time to start than… now!
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