B2B Testimonials: Single Case Study Or Summary of Stats?

When developing B2B marketing campaigns, one of the first questions we always ask our clients is if they have any testimonials regarding their product or service. Sometimes it can be difficult to choose between focusing on one case study or a statistical summary of consistent results. Unfortunately, scientific findings  on this subject have been mixed, so conclusive answers are not available. However, these results can still offer us some direction, and are thus worthy of commentary.

Consider B2B marketing research that suggests that single examples can be more persuasive than statistical summaries.Research on the art of persuasion has found that single examples can be more persuasive than statistical summaries. For example, a research study examined how a teacher utilized a new curriculum by comparing two conditions: One was a report of the positive findings found by one teacher, while the other was a statistical summary report of the positive findings found by a group of teachers. Both conditions had the same positive findings (such as increased student performance), but the single example was found to be significantly more persuasive.

However, this is not always the case. Additional scientific research found that, in other cases, statistical summaries were more persuasive than single examples. Other studies found no difference at all. Thus, scientists continue to research this matter in order to determine what additional variables are creating such mixed results.

Though the results are not consistent, there are definitely B2B marketing lessons we can learn from this. For example, say your product is relatively new and you only have a limited amount of testimonials. According to the research, even one may be enough to persuade your target audience. Then, once you are able to gather more and develop statistical summaries, those may be persuasive as well.

If you do reach a point of gathering enough testimonials to make a statistical summary, I would also suggest holding a focus group with your target audience and seeing if the single case study or the statistical summary is the more effective buying motivator. Remember, your target audience is who is buying your product, so always include them as much as possible.

So, the next time you’re developing a new B2B marketing campaign, be sure and ask about testimonials; whether there is 1 or 100, both may be persuasive in motivating your target audience to buy.