IT Case Study or Customer Success Story?

What’s in a name?
Consider how prospects and customers view the terms ‘case study’ and ‘customer success story’:

1) Do IT buyers care whether documents are presented as ‘case studies’ or ‘customer success stories’?

2) More to the point, how do download rates vary with the use of different labels for the same content?

A while back I came across a network management company that had their case studies within a sub-directory called “customer_testimonials.” For me, customer testimonials are typically short quotes, a few sentences at most, and I was surprised to find case studies there too.

Over the years I’ve noticed that words and phrases often come loaded with connotations and inferences picked up from colleagues, industry thought leaders and vendors.
Yes, I’m sure my parents, teachers and playmates had a role too but we’re talking IT networking terms, so their influence was probably minimal.
Then again if an IT manager was scared witless by those “big bad clouds” as a five year old, who knows what hurdles lie in wait for the unwary cloud computing sales rep…

For readers who are b2b technology marketers, I leave you with two questions:

a) How do you distinguish between ‘case study’ and ‘success story’?

b) Have you run any split tests or surveys to discover if web visitors have a preference?

– Mark ‘case study writer‘ McClure

PS: As an IT case study writer (whoops, I’ve blown my cover), I’m mostly agnostic on whether a client wants me to write one or the other. However, when marketing my IT writing services to b2b prospects I make a clear distinction between the two.

If you’re interested, click over to the b2b case study page and all will be revealed…

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About the Author
Author: Mark McClure - A freelance b2b case study and white paper writer to the computer networking industry. Based in Tokyo, Japan. About the 'Samurai Writer'.

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