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B2B Customer Case Studies and Testimonials

Testimonial Cartoon

B2B customer testimonials and B2B case studies — What’s the difference? In the world of B2B content marketing, real-world customer testimonials and case studies continue to stand out as preferred sales support tools for convincing new prospects that your solution truly does deliver tangible value. There’s a spectrum of possibilities here that differ in terms of complexity, customer commitment/involvement, and long-term value for the solution vendor.  So what’s the difference between a customer testimonial and a case study? Here’s a breakdown that may be helpful:

Writing Branded B2B Customer Case Studies

B2B customer case studies come in several shapes and sizes, but one of the first considerations for marketing teams and their writers for each new case study opportunity is this:  Should we go for ‘branded’ or ‘unbranded’?
 
What do we mean by this distinction?  A couple of quick definitions will help:
 
Branded Case Study — A case study that clearly identifies the actual customer/client who is the subject of the piece.  This customer willingly lends their name and logo to the finished piece, so we use the term ‘branded’ (or ‘fully branded’) here.  Further, we can usually then also get a customer executive to fully participate in the finished case study, including name, title, and (optionally) a photo of the executive.
 
Unbranded Case Study — A case study that obscures the identity of the customer or client, usually at the customer’s explicit request to remain anonymous.  These can still be useful marketing and sales pieces and can be faster to produce, but usually lack the punch and credibility of a fully branded alternative. 

SEO Pricing from 500+ Agencies (SEOmoz.org study)

I found an interesting SEOmoz post on pricing from SEO consultants and agencies a couple of days ago, and was happy to see that they included some embed code for further sharing of the main infographic (see full post).

In brief, the international study found that:

  • SEO costs vary widely, with $76 to $200 per hour being common in the US, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand  
  • Per-project pricing is quite prevalent.  Project-based pricing has the edge over retainer and hourly based projects
  • Retainer pricing varies widely
  • ‘Hands-on’ SEO support is still commonly provided
  • ‘Inbound marketing’ firms are becoming more common, vs. pure-play SEO specialist firms
  • Web design/development agencies also provide many SEO services
  • The majority of SEO consultants serve SMB (small to medium business) clients


Estimating Target Audience Size in B2B Marketing

Image - Estimating B2B Market Audience Size

When thinking about a B2B target market segment for any particular solution, it’s obviously important to consider the size of the total (human) population the company needs to reach, at least as a rough estimate for framing the discussion about coverage and outreach efforts.

The diagram below provides one way to visualize this.

Target Accounts:  The darker blue dots in the smaller circle at bottom represent the individual accounts the B2B vendor should be targeting with its solution.  These can be company headquarters, geographically distributed divisions of companies, etc.  They are basically any entity or ‘purchasing unit’ that can make an independent buying decision for your solution category, place orders, pay vendor invoices, etc.  Estimates for this number should be available from your company’s market segment research and market sizing work.  

In the business-to-business world, this number can range from literally a handful of accounts, to hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands or even more.