Should b2b Case Studies Be Given Away Free?

Are you tired of giving your name, email and sometimes a mini-life history in order to get a ‘free’ white paper or case study?

I must admit to having mixed feelings when I see the ‘free’ pitch being made. Because both the marketers and I know that this transaction’s not really free. They want my email and permission to begin walking me down a marketing funnel. I just want the d#mn paper!

My case study mentor, Casey Hibbard, recently blogged about Why Companies need to free their case studies. I found her position on registration requirements for white papers versus case studies is one that fits well with how social media is changing the game of marketing… in favor of the customer/prospect.

I’ve two specific comments on Casey’s post:

On Case Studies and Search Engine Optimization:

I’ve seen a few examples (while doing Casey’s mentoring homework!) where the case study is published as a web page but also available as a formatted pdf download.

There are some folks who dislike pdf, so they’ll be catered for. And the web page version also feeds the search engine spider with all those juicy long tail keyword phrases and semantically related content.

On Case Studies with No-Registration:

I see now what she means about the implied promotional nature of case studies and ‘requiring’ people to register for them. It almost sounds ‘elitist’. Perhaps in some markets (I’m trying to think of one) it makes sense, but in the information technology space the vendors’ own marketing speak often seems to drown out the voices of their customers.

Freely promoting customer case studies as their digital scouts would allow companies to be found and talked about more often. Sounds like a David Meerman Scott approach…

What do you think?

– Mark ‘case study writer’ McClure

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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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