Jordan Ogren

February 7, 2022

Why customer stories are the least used but most effective marketing weapon.

Few companies take advantage of customer stories (also known as case studies).

Why is that? I think it’s because most companies can’t tell a story to save their life.

They can pitch, sell, and feature blast, but few can tell a story about a customer that draws you in; while also selling you on their solution.

Some try to write customer stories, but they typically fall flat because they are a sales pitch hidden behind the guise of a customer story.

Let's cover why good customer stories are compelling:

They sell your product and the pain you solve from the vantage point of another company. When reading a case study, your guard is not “as” up. You get lost in the story and then realize you have a similar problem and wonder if you could solve it with X product.

They also can target specific customer segments or pains that your product or service solves.

Let’s say you have a software that enables companies to host courses. You have many business customers, but you’ve noticed some schools have adopted your solution (especially with COVID).

So, you can write a customer story of a school that has had success and then share it with prospects that fit the customer segment of “schools.” Those prospects will respond much better to the customer story than a cold pitch.

Now, what can you do to tell a compelling customer story?
  1. Forget selling your product
  2. Understand the arch of a story (old world to new world)
  3. Focus on the pain or tension they faced before switching to your product
  4. Don’t tell, show through emotions and quotes what the customer was experiencing
  5. Tie your product’s benefits to how they solved their initial pain 
  6. Share what life looks like now (the promised land)

A more practical tip is to talk to your customers. Have a (recorded) conversation about why they chose your product (i.e., what pain were they aiming to solve), how they tried to solve that pain before, and what life is like now.

Don’t ask one question for each. Dig deep. Keep asking why or “can you share a story of how….”

To tell an effective and differentiated customer story, you need to avoid surface-level answers and get the emotional response. 

To show this in action, Figma did a beautiful customer story about how Notion saved their business by using their product.

Read it here and take some notes: https://www.figma.com/blog/design-on-a-deadline-how-notion-pulled-itself-back-from-the-brink-of-failure/

How have you used customer stories to drive marketing results?

🧠 + ❤️ // JO