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A ready-to-use case study – How long does it take?

In the discussion about customer case studies, one question comes up over and over:

How long does it take to get a case study done?

How many days or weeks are needed to get a completed, approved customer story in hand and ready to use?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that easy.

On average, I would say about one month. BUT, it really depends on the part of the process that makes customer stories different from other marketing projects – the review and approval phase.

From the time you interview the customer to completing the draft, video or audio might be a couple of weeks. Then, how long is it in the customer’s court?

I’ve seen customers approve stories the same day they receive them. But I’ve also seen them make the rounds of customer review for months.

Often, it depends on the size of the featured customer’s organization. Generally, the larger the company, the longer approval takes.

Small companies have fewer reviewers and not as much legal and communications review required. Larger companies have multiple levels of approval, and your story can get stuck in any of those levels.

You can do a few things to help speed the process, such as setting the expectation with the customer before starting that you will need the story by a specific date. However, you are still limited by your customer’s internal processes.

But in general, start early! Capture the case study as soon as there’s a strong story and the customer is ready.

For example, if you have early January trade shows, it’s not too soon to start now. Once, I got a call from a company in mid-December wanting to get a case study done for a trade show the first week of January.

If it was a brochure, maybe that’s doable. But not with a case study. Three weeks just isn’t enough time, even if the end-of-year holidays did not get in the way.

More tips on expediting customer approval.

 

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More Stories By Casey Hibbard

Casey Hibbard is the founder and president of Compelling Cases, Inc. and author of "Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales & Marketing Asset." She has helped dozens of companies create and manage nearly 500 customer case studies and success stories over the past decade. Casey is featured in numerous books, articles, and teleclasses. She consults with organizations one-on-one and conducts online customer-story classes.