I wrote recently, dear reader, on the voice of the customer and its importance for case studies.

I’d like to add to that post here, and improve on it somewhat, I think. When we talk about case studies in the wider context of customer advocacy, we distinguish between the shorter testimonials and larger format case studies. They have slightly different objectives and slightly different audiences – both organisationally and individually – and for that reason they are subject to slightly different best practices.

The testimonial is shorter, punchier, a bit more ‘gushing’ and works best in the voice of the customer – the first person singular or plural – as much as possible. It’s intended for earlier in the buying cycle where evaluators are researching alternative solutions – and solution providers – to their problem.

The ‘proper’ case study is longer, requires more narrative delineating the measured results or outcomes, and works better with a combination of third person accounts and amplifying quotes from the featured customer. You need more reason, more argument and more explanation in it. This kind of document is for further along in the buying cycle where influencers and buyers are getting into the nitty gritty and are seriously judging what you can do for them in their situation.

I should have made that important distinction in my previous post. Silly not to. Perhaps this post, then, should be entitled Moron on the Voice of the Customer instead :-).