Please hold

Three posts and already Content Jitsu is a zombie?

Fear not. We’ve decided to move from the free WordPress-hosted version to our own URL.

Monkeying with technology. Content resumes shortly.

Coked up

David Vanadia (“Discussing the art of narrative, storytelling, and storymaking”) has a two-part video presentation of Coca-Cola’s high-level view of content strategy and brand stories.

Fun to watch, and very thoughtful.

One interesting key point, among many: Around 4:40 in the second video, several examples are presented of successful brand messages/concepts that were developed and released without the sort of rigorous quantitative testing that big companies expect. In fact, the assertion is that Coca-Cola overtests and calcifies its ideas too early based on the results, advocating instead a more flexible and iterative approach that uses consumer feedback loops for improvement.

This feels intelligently counter-cultural. Measurement is invaluable, but over-reliance on metrics leads to incrementalism. If you want to change the world, you’re going to have to think outside the (Hit)box.

And now Clint Eastwood will edit your content

You sure talk a lot, mister.

Searching for the link, but yesterday I read that Clint Eastwood took a pencil and crossed out most of his own dialog in the script for The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Said everything he’d cut could be expressed “with a look” instead of words.

I bloviate sometimes.

Must think like Clint.

Why your case studies stink, and what to do about it

The traditional recipe for a marketing case study goes like this:

  • They had a problem.
  • They bought our product.
  • We fixed the problem!

Ever read one of those case studies? (Sure, hundreds.)

Ever written one yourself? (Me too. Sigh.)

There’s a time and a place for that formula. If the problem  was food spoilage and the solution was a box of plastic wrap, simplicity is in order.

Here’s why those case studies don’t work in many B2B settings:

Ever worked in a big company?

Ever tried to solve a problem in a big company?

You thought up a solution, pitched the idea to your boss, who told you to write up a one-page formal proposal, then convene a meeting with reps from two other affected departments, one questioned your assumptions and the other “had a better idea”, and after you argued through that you were in the wrong part of the budget cycle, and so on and so on and so on.

Businesses and their problems are complex. If you pretend that your product is simple and your customers have simple problems with simple solutions, potential clients simply respond “That wouldn’t work in my
company.”

You haven’t connected with the reader’s real pain point.

Case studies stink – whether they’re marketing material or articles in a B2B journal – when they gloss over the reality that readers face.

Here are questions to ask sources/clients in order to write a case study with realistic depth:

  • What advice would you give to help your peer in another company avoid potholes in the evaluation/purchasing/implementation process?
  • What other approaches did you consider, and why did you choose the course you chose?
  • What is the most challenging part of the project to get right?

These don’t have to be antagonistic questions. They are reader service questions, and you can help the source understand that.