Why Putting Your Customer Case Studies Under Lock and Key is Lousy Marketing

by John Spindler on June 29, 2010

I’ll admit it. I’m often looking around for new work. And since I write lots of customer case studies, I often scrounge through the websites of companies that regularly produce these success stories. They’re great marketing tools because the words of satisfied customers add big-time credibility to your sales efforts.
Trouble is, I’ve found that more and more companies are increasingly demanding a name, company name, email address, etc., before granting access to that content. Sure, that’s a good way of keeping me from seeing how well your cases are written and perhaps offering something better.

But deflecting annoying sales pitches from me aside, the move doesn’t strike me as particularly brilliant marketing. Why? As we all know, the internet is all about open access to information. What’s the latest buzzword in internet marketing these days? Content. Marketers are falling all over themselves to provide more and more of it. And since case studies are, in essence, nicely crafted advertisements for your products and services, why put them under lock and key?

More fundamentally, though, the problem with the “give me your name and I’ll show you some content” is that you are short-circuiting the logical flow of good marketing. You’re saying, in essence, “Be prepared for a sales call from us.”
And that’s a problem. Not everybody wants a sales call. In fact, some of the people kicking the tires on your case studies are in the discovery phase. They just want to know a bit more about your company, more about what you do and more about your satisfied customers. If they like what they see, they may put you on their short list next time they’re in the market for what you’re selling.

Worse, the prospect feels pressured to either provide the information and resign themselves to a sales call, provide you with bogus information or simply walk away. From a marketing standpoint, all three options are dreadful. A far better idea is to simply make your cases available for all the world to see—prospects, customers, competitors. Even me.

Then, if your prospects like what they see from your case studies, they’ll be in touch.
And, who knows, maybe I’ll be, too.

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