This could be fictional. Then again…
It took months to get ideal customers in a target market to sign up for a customer referral program, but at long last the project began to make measurable progress.
Writers were hired, customer interviews completed and the arduous job of review and sign off among multiple parties was finished in record time.
Everyone from the CEO to the Marketing Interns was excited that real customers were telling their stories, and with your products as center stage. Here are big dollops of credibility and social proof that no amount of data sheets and brochures could ever amount to.
Now fast forward a couple of weeks…
… and imagine your prospects’ surprise, (or more likely, shock and disappointment), when they’re confronted with six mandatory registration fields on your case study landing page.
Are they going to willingly give up so many contact details just to get a look at these stories?
You see, while it may make sense to build a contactable list of prospects, there’s a time and a place to do so. People looking for IT customer success stories to validate and compare ‘your’ claims against similar stories from your competitors, may not take kindly to the psychological resistance you’ve just created with the glitzy sign up form.
Both you and they know that in return for opening themselves up to your sales machinery, some information will come their way.
And that sooner or later, the Sales calls will begin.
The question is: shouldn’t your best success stories be freely shared and made accessible to anyone who wants to read them? And without any obligation to become part of a vendor’s prospect database?
Just a few years ago that approach (of giving away info in return for nothing… but goodwill) might have seemed like a ridiculous waste of time and money. But in an online world where b2b prospects, customers, and vendors are able to communicate, share and (yes!) critique 24 x 7, the marketing rules are being rewritten.
Perhaps you should freely give your customer success stories away online but include within them an invitation to stay in touch via Twitter, FaceBook, your Blog, email … and see what happens?
The days of making prospects jump through hoops to discover why others do business with you may be numbered…
Mark McClure: Freelance IT Case Study Writer, Asia-Pacific
PS – This post was originally published on technologymarketers.com but is included here because of a change in business plans by the fine folks at technologymarketers. I very much enjoyed working with them and hope our paths cross again. Mark McClure