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How Case Studies Engage Buyer's Emotions

Posted on September 19, 2014 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (6581)

This is part 3 of my article, How to Shorten the B2B Sales Cycle with Case Studies. Read the full article here.

Engage Buyers’ Emotions

Advertising Mad Men recognized the emotional component of buying decisions over 50 years ago.

"Purchasing seems like a very rational kind of thing, but in fact we don't make decisions rationally. We make decisions emotionally.6"

A recent trend in advertising, dubbed ‘sadvertising,’ seeks a stronger emotional response from buyers, and to tell a story that connects with people. Technology companies have employed this tactic successfully in recent product ads, as in these examples: “No White Flags” (Microsoft), “Dear Sophie” (Google) and “Chérie's Verse” (Apple).

Effective B2B case studies also resonate with buyers emotionally, satisfying the need for connection. The customer’s own words forge that connection better than any marketer’s prose. People relate to other people, their stories, their challenges and their success.

A great example is this quote by an IT director at a South Carolina school district from a recent cloud videoconferencing case study:

“These kids come from families that don’t have a lot. I will never, ever forget when a reporter asked one of the students, ‘What did you get out of the project?’ and she said… ‘It feels good to help other people!’”

Another example:

One month after launch, the founders of a NYC IT services company entered the World Trade Center on 9/11, just before the first plane hit. The experience forged a business continuity mindset that their small business customers relate to well.

Their customer service performance during hurricane Sandy makes the reader think, “Wow, these people must really care.” Here’s a quote from a case study about the firm:

“In the days leading up to Sandy, every employee was moved to a support role, checking backups and making sure clients were as prepared as possible. Within 72 hours of Sandy, we recovered all of our 400+ customers. With that effort, we not only kept all of our customer base, we have expanded another 50% since Sandy.”



6”The Rise of Sadvertising, Why Brands are Determined to Make You Cry, By Rae Ann Fera,” Fast Company

7”The Future of Marketing Automation,”


Speed Through Know, Like and Trust

Posted on August 27, 2014 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (484)

The second part of the article "How to Shorten the Sales Cycle with Case Studies addresses how case studies get prospects to Know, Like and Trust your company, all prerequisites to a purchase decision.

Moving prospects through “know, like and trust” to get to the purchase decision takes time and 7-13 touches, according to current marketing thought. B2B case studies speed up the process by addressing all three milestones in a single document, performing like three or more touches:

1. Prospects get know your company reading details about the business, its products and services.

“Phast Online has extensive experience with QuickBooks and other financial applications.”

“Concentric Solutions is more than a software development company. They are a trusted business advisor for companies having technology as a core part of their business.”

2. Feelings expressed in case studies influence the buying decision. When a satisfied customer says they like you, others are more prone to as well3. 

“I love Phast Online! The time saved allows me to take on more clients with the same staff.”

“It just works and I love it!”


3. Positive feedback, quantified results and quotes from customers in case studies build trust, like getting advice from peers when you ask, ‘Would you buy from them?’

Does MedPix Hosted save 62 hours per week as MedPix claims? “Easily, and more,” responded Williams.

“I would recommend them to similar organizations because of their competency, collaborative spirit and ease to work with. I consider them a trusted advisor.”

Here's a good quote to wrap it up:

“Include case studies that document the success of companies that you have served in the past. Any positive feedback or proven results will help assure visitors that they can be confident choosing your business.4”

Watch for my next post on how case studies engage buyers emotions.


3“Emotions Are Contagious—Choose Your Company Wisely,”

4”Content That Helps Shorten Your Sales Cycle,”

Case Studies Optimize Content Marketing

Posted on August 21, 2014 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (167)

I've divided my article "How to Shorten the B2B Sales Cycle with Case Studies" into four digestible parts. Here's the first:

“Getting to yes” has changed since I piloted a direct sales force 15 years ago. Now it takes coaxing with content before a prospect will engage with you personally. Surprisingly, written case studies are still one of the most effective types of content. Read on to find out how B2B case studies get you to yes faster.

First, some evidence supporting the important role of case studies in B2B content marketing.

Case Studies Optimize Content Marketing

According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), B2B content marketing is now used by 93% of B2B marketers, up from 91% in 2013.1

Yet, B2B marketers struggle to optimize their content marketing strategies. The top three challenges cited by B2B content marketers in the 2014 CMI study are:

1) Lack of time (69%)

2) Producing enough content (55%)

3) Producing content that engages (47%)

Written case studies meet these challenges well because they:

1) Take little staff time to produce

2) Are easily re-purposed for blogs and articles

3) Engage buyers’ minds and emotions

Content marketing seeks build a relationship with the prospect, nudging them closer to the purchase decision. The strength of marketing materials and messages is a key factor in shortening this process.2

This article will discuss three ways case studies shorten the B2B sales cycle: 1) By presenting prospects with the kind of information they need to “know, like and trust” your business, 2) by effectively engaging their emotions, and 3) by supporting the purchase decision with quantified results. Continue reading to find out how.

Continue Reading in my next post where I show how case studies help you speed prospects through "Know, Like and Trust".



1 “B2B CONTENT MARKETING, 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America,” Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs

2 “How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle,”