Carabiner recently developed a case study to serve as a basis for marketing outreach on a client’s behalf. The task involved interviewing one of the client’s customers, a company among the first to deploy a new product offering, to capture the customer experience. We were already well acquainted with the new offering’s general benefits, having managed media relations for its launch based on briefings from the client’s marketing team.
With this particular solution, the client had, as is often the case in a launch, created a perfectly logical story about the product’s many benefits and the marketplace needs it met, without benefit of customer feedback. That internally developed story drove initial marketing content.
During the interview for the case study, the client proved to be highly enthusiastic about the solution, but had a strikingly different take on its value than was expressed in marketing materials. The writer realized early on that she was gathering important feedback to deliver to the client’s marketing department.
The real surprise – something never hinted at in existing content – came when the executive being interviewed said that our client’s solution assisted in recruiting. One result of its use is that it greatly improves job satisfaction relative to after-hours engagement, a common requirement of environments in which it’s used. And it does that so well that it serves as an attraction to potential hires. When asked if it also contributes to retention, the answer was that it almost certainly would.
In talking afterward with the writer who conducted the interview, it struck me how critically important it is for marketers to get close to customers, and how infrequently many do. So many times the basis of content creation consists of surveying the competitive landscape, identifying the features and functions that give a solution a positive edge, and constructing a perfectly sensible story around that.
But without actual customer experience to color that story, it’s almost certain to be incomplete. In this case, we discovered not only potential misalignment, but also an attractive element missing from the story. We’re now conducting research to validate what we learned, and so far we’re seeing consistency.
To whatever degree this exercise manages to help improve marketing content for this client, it sprouted from a customer dialog. If you’re responsible to any meaningful degree for your company’s messaging and content, consider developing a personal, regular routine of interviewing, say, a customer a month as if preparing a case study. Whether or not the case study actually sees the light of day, there’s a great chance you’ll be amazed at what you uncover.
And of course, if you need assistance with that, we’re here to help.