As a company, part of your business to business marketing communications should be to enable the creation of newer, more up to date news stories. You could be seriously compromised if this is not the case. If most of your existing case studies are now 10 to 15 years old, then think hard.
If you think you see an opportunity for a new case study, go for it. Plus, if you want someone else to help you cover these costs, then you would need to approach other stakeholders involved in the project concerned. You may well find a willing partner. Then you will have the tools to create engaging up to date news stories.
Local company offices are 100% responsible for creating their own new case studies. It is one of the most crucial elements of the marketing mix a testimonial on steroids. Head offices generally have little knowledge of the “coal face” of local market selling.
Of course not! Whenever anyone wants to buy the best product, they do some simple research for your marketing communications. Then they make a shortlist. Then they buy. Unless of course they want to make the wrong choice.
You’ll notice the most successful brands in the world using “influencers” to push their products. This is a mini case study in action.
I think there is a subtle difference between a “customer story” and a “case study”. These are the four basic rules I use, as a practising marketer who does this kind of work every day.
Some case studies are deemed to have nil or little value, maybe in product or service segments that do not make much profit. But the branding value of working with a high-profile end-user or client like the MOD, may trump what value was initially gained from selling that product or service to that client. By exposing your product marketing communications to other potential high value customers, via news stories, the new case study returns its value to your company. It’s hard to measure, but it works.
You just need to keep a case study hitlist, with the focus on products / subjects / applications you really need to promote and keep that list updated as you search for new opportunities. At present this case study hitlist is probably empty, due to the sales team being unable to see beyond the end of their collective noses. These salespeople need this information to sell!
With quarterly local branch sales reports being analysed by head office, it is a pure numbers game. Bad numbers mean a failing management team in the local sales office. In normal trading conditions, for the average business, whether you are a district, country, or area sales office of a larger business it really does not matter. Numbers do not lie.
What can be done to improve the local branch’s sales performance? It is no good just setting them sales targets that cannot be reached. They will push back and say it is impossible. There must be a reason why they are failing. You need to look at what that office does to promote its own sales force.
Chances are it does extraordinarily little. It usually waits and hopes for an enquiry to land, then converts that enquiry into a sale. There will be truly little probing of under researched market segments to see where opportunities may lie. The reason for that is it costs money and involves a thing called marketing or actual work. That goes outside the comfort zone.
Local sales offices in large companies do not want to pay for marketing as it is perceived as being frivolous and the results cannot be seen the next day or next week. Plus in many cases marketing is not perceived to be their responsibility. Sometimes a certain marketing activity like case studies are unmeasurable unless you have a team of statisticians available. Or you restrict access to this information via onerous data opt-in forms to capture your readers details.
Marketing is where you set your sales stall up at a marketplace. Not just any marketplace, but the marketplace you need to sell to. Exhibitions, trade fairs or just gatherings of the right people. In person or online. This means research. This is probably not be being carried out. The reason for that is it costs money and involves a thing called “talking to people” and recording their responses in a reporting system. More expense. The modern world shuns talking in favour of messaging.
If you have a cosy job in a cosy office and you get paid every month, there is no reason to talk to people. People are annoying and want things. So you do nothing but turn up every day and go through the motions of answering emails and sending emails, hoping sales will just come flooding in.
What will happen is your head office will look for a solution. That solution may come in the form of an alternative or second local office being set up in the background. In many cases you will not be part of that solution. You will be replaced and find your entire office closed.
Head office in a shortish period would have sourced a better performing sales team, with new dynamism. They would have set them up in another city and they will take over your sales office’s role. You will soon be unemployed.