Can’t Use the Client’s Name

This post was written by John White on Thu, 22 Jan 2009 18:04:31 +0000
Posted Under: case studies,caselets,endorsements,marketing manager

Sound familiar? You desperately want to tell the galaxy that your product or service has just saved Reuters or Deutsche Bank or Unilever $35 jillion.

But it’s not allowed. Your client:

  • doesn’t grant endorsements or permit vendors to use its name in success stories;
  • won’t do a joint press release with you, or allow you to use its name in a unilateral release;
  • is likely to run your copy through a spanking machine of attorneys that will leave it insipid and banal;
  • is elusive and won’t give you the interview or quotes you need for a bona fide case study;
  • doesn’t want anybody to know it had a $35 jillion hole to plug up;
  • wants to keep you and your technology in its back pocket as a “secret weapon.”

This makes your job as marketing manager a bit tougher, doesn’t it?

Try a caselet.

Caselets are brief case studies that describe your service or technology, the problem it solves and the benefits enjoyed by “a worldwide provider of [your customer’s industry goes here].” We relied on caselets in the early days with one technology company for a simple reason: We had plenty of technology and target markets, but no customers yet.

Instead of interviewing your customer, you interview your own in-house resources – engineers, product managers, account executives – who have been close to the customer’s business situation and understand how your product has been beneficial. You’ll end up with slightly less detail (and no legitimate quotes) than in a real case study, but a good caselet is longer on sizzle than it is on steak.

And, don’t forget your original intention: you want to tell readers a story about your services, a story in which they can see their own predicament and begin to envision a solution to it. If the caselet is written well, the fact that you can’t mention Pepsi or the Vatican or The New York Yankees does not get in the way of the story.

Interested? You’ll find a few caselets on my site, about halfway down the page. They’re just a few hundred words, less than two pages. The sales team eats them up, and they help you tell your story.

Comments are closed.