The Case Study: An AV Integrator’s Best Marketing Tool

I’ve been teaching a Marketing 101 class at InfoComm for a few years now. And, ADVICE #1 to my students is: Publish case studies.

But, I continue to be amazed at how few AV dealers market their services this way. They’ll spend thousands developing a cool logo, hire interns to use social media, place ads in local business journals, pay web developers to beef up their websites and even still advertise in the Yellow Pages.

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Yet, they won’t use the FREE’est (and best) marketing tool they have — using case studies to show what they can do!

Sure, some do, most don’t. Easily 95 percent of AV integrators have either never published a case study or have only done one in the last 5-years.

And, yes, I know the excuses — but, let’s talk truths:

1. The case study should be your PRIMARY way of gaining new business. You see, anyone can say they do AV integration, anyone. And, unfortunately, it’s easy to become a dealer of most AV products sold today — heck, even Amazon sells a ton. But, the differentiator is what you an actually do. Case studies prove your capabilities, show off your worksmanship, are problem/solution oriented (i.e., simple to understand) and are visual — assuming you realize that the best case studies have photos.

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2. Yes, professional photography is expensive. But, that’s stupid. Don’t use a professional photographer — use your iPhone. Seriously, it’s good enough. Most of the case studies will not be looked at in print; they’re shown via the web. And, you know the average web resolution of your browser? Well, in case you didn’t know, currently, 68 percent of people browsing the Internet do it at a resolution of 1024×768. And, the other 30-some percent, are MOSTLY at a lower resolution than that. You know the resolution of the camera on an iPhone 5? It’s 3264×2448 — yes, that’s the truth. Oh, and that’s a three-year old phone. Do you know what the resolution of an iPhone 6s camera is? It’s like 4000×3000. Seriously! It’s 4K. So, forget the fancy, expensive, over complicated photography. Use you dang iPhone.

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3. Oh, yeah, the client has to give you approval. That’s an EASY problem to solve: just put that in the PROPOSAL, up-front. Tell the client, up-front, that you want to use this as a case study (do it in ALL your proposals). Sure, 10 percent of them might say no but that leaves you 90 percent. I am sure 90 percent represents enough good quality work for you to show off and for POTENTIAL clients to see your capabilities.

4. Speaking of potential clients, case studies spark ideas. How many clients are walking in right now asking for a “digital-canvas” or for their conference room to be multi-image capable? Hardly any. You know why? You can’t ask for something you don’t know exists. And, if you don’t tell them it exists, I promise you they won’t buy it from you.

5. So, now you have a case study, where do you publish it? Well, on your own website, of course. Don’t have a place to publish it on your website, or, costs too much to pay your webmaster to do it? Then, go get a FREE Medium blog and post it there. Sure, link it to your website, but, more importantly, use social media to blast it out there. OK, I understand that you may not understand the art of social media marketing, but we at rAVe do and we have been publishing a blog series (for months now) called “It’s Social Marketing” that will teach you everything you need to know about Social Media Marketing — and it’s free!

So, what are you waiting for! Use case studies to market your AV potential!

Images via this BrightSign case study