As a kid, when your mom told you to put on a scarf before heading out into the cold, it was probably easy for you to dismiss her advice. Hearing the same advice from a bundled-up friend, however, probably swayed your decision. The power of peer influence similarly controls the business world.

In fact, the elasticity of word-of-mouth referrals is about 20 times higher than that for marketing events, a 2009 research report on the  Effects of Word-of-Mouth Versus Traditional Marketing  showed. Word-of-mouth marketing is more sustainable than media appearances and, as the study pointed out, "may be among the most effective of marketing communication strategies." No wonder that in 2008, spending on word-of-mouth marketing  increased 14.2% to $1.54 billion!

To increase word-of-mouth marketing as a company, you need to amplify the happy voices of your customers and make them your best evangelists. By sharing their success stories of using your product or service, you empower them to sway the purchase decisions of many others. Creating customer case studies lends itself to our human instinct to share, tell a story and give advice.

So, what are the immediate benefits of writing or video recording a case study?

You Help Your Sales Team Close Deals 

Case studies help potential customers identify with handpicked success stories that reflect their business needs and problems, making it easy for sales to communicate value. Your consultants can emphasize specific aspects of the product by pointing to different examples. In our case, for instance,  one customer  loves our software’s lead nurturing, while  another  is most excited about the CMS.

You Spread Content across Different Channels

When creating case studies, think about the multiple platforms to which you can upload your content. You can use YouTube and Blip.tv for videos, SlideShare.com for presentations and PDF files, and Twitter and Facebook for promotion . Thus, you make it easier for potential customers to stumble upon your product.

You Identify Your Most Passionate Evangelists

Reengaging with your current customer base to select a fascinating case study can bring you lots of insight. Along the way, you will learn who your most passionate advocates are, and you can use that knowledge to better design your marketing initiatives and target the ideal marketing persona. At the end of the day, this is a learning process that offers inspiration, valuable feedback and fresh ideas.

You Convey a Human Story

Telling your customers’ success stories in their own words puts a human face to your product. It shows both the challenges and excitements involved in the purchase and usage process, thus creating a more personal experience. The online community gravitates to these types of stories and is willing to share them with friends.

You Focus on the Message, not Its Form

To be effective, case studies don't have to be a huge corporate undertaking. The message is what brings out the true value and the voice of your most passionate customers. Think of case studies as opportunities for a genuine dialogue with your customers.

Creating case studies allows you to harness peer-to-peer influence, generating influential brand evangelists out of your most successful customers and facilitating word-of-mouth marketing . For more study ideas, browse through some of HubSpot's own case studies , and then start creating your own today!

Photo credit:  Mrs Logic

 

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Originally published Mar 2, 2010 2:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016