In this age of taking business online, in the form of presentations, video, webinars and e-courses, case studies have become a powerful marketing tool. An effective, yet simple way of developing case studies is known as the PAR Formula.
What is the PAR formula?
It is the case method theory that’s taught at Harvard and other exceptional institutions such as Wharton and Yale.
It stands for Problem-Action-Result.
What is problem-action-result? It’s a business story. Stories are known from the time of Aesop. Jesus was a great storyteller. Confucius was a great storyteller. Muhammad was a great storyteller. Every great spiritual leader in history, like Mahatma Gandhi, was a great storyteller.
Some politicians are great storytellers, they’re not always true, but they’re great storytellers. The beauty of a story is that it has a beginning, middle and an end; therefore, a story is memorable.
When a story is memorable now it has brandability, because a brand is memorable. What does the Nike swoosh look like? It’s memorable.
What is the brand that used to have a commercial; if you’re old enough to remember, that says ‘plop plop fizz fizz, oh what a relief it is’? That’s memorable it’s Alka Seltzer. Just do it is the tagline for Nike; why? It’s memorable and it’s a story.
You see stories on TV commercials. You see stories that build that brand and drill deep with it. You want stories in the PAR formula to give people the success stories of companies you’ve worked with. You can do this with people as well, but you can do it with companies exceptionally well.
I’ll give you an example latter in this article so you can see the PAR formula in action.
But for now remember Problem-Action-Result.
I want you to focus on your case studies the same way. What was the problem? Everything starts with a problem, if there’s no problem then there’s no case history or story. The problem must be defined. The problem defined well is half solved.
There must be a problem and you want to make it as specific as possible. The action is the action took by the person who had the problem. The action they took; they being your student, customer, cousin or family member, is the action you advised them.
For me it’s my students. That’s the action they took based on what I advised them. Then the result is the result they got. The result can be positive or negative, but it’s a result, which is a testing and tracking methodology to know whether or not you have to improve it or discard it.
If it’s so bad you discard it. If it’s not bad then you improve it. Problem-Action-Result; if you drill deep with those three concepts in the case study method that’s used at Harvard, Wharton, Yale and Stanford, is the case method theory of teaching.
This is the way attorneys are taught, through case method; because you learn more through the examples and case then by having someone explain it to you. I could tell you what case method or PAR formula was all day, but you may not get it unless I give you an example.
It’s because of this three part formula of PAR.
If you use it in your business it will change your business. It will accelerate the growth of your business, because you’ll start getting results. Here’s an example and I’ll give you an example of the example I’m giving you.
P=Problem: a veteran publisher campaigned to launch issues of his newsletter on advanced direct marketing. He wanted to test his target mailing list with postcards instead of the standard mailing package, which is expensive, because it includes a sales letter, envelope, brochure, order form and reply card.
What’s his problem? His problem is standard mail is very expensive. What’s the solution he’s going after? He’s going to see if postcards make a difference, so you got his problem? It’s well-defined. His problem is shared by many other direct mail marketers.
Here’s the A=Action, he mailed out 5,000 pieces for $1,000, not the $4,000 for the standard mail package, because mail packages are expensive. He offered three free newsletter issues with several valuable bonuses.
He also printed the front and back sides of the postcard on the package insert so they could be put into boxes and not just mailed out through the fulfillment company he worked with. He included it as a low-cost write along in joint venture mailings with other direct mail, something you can’t do with a standard mail package.
What’s the action he took? He decided to utilize the postcard versus the standard mailing package. What happened? It cost him $1,000 not $4,000, why? It costs less to print postcards than the standard mail package and that’s the action he took.
R=Result – the two-step mailing; first being the postcard and second the newsletter, yielded $1.91 cost per lead and $10.40 cost per sale for his best market segment he mailed to.
Once prospects received the three newsletters, 25.4% subscribed at a two-year rate of $299. With revenues of $4 for every postcard mailed, he made a $3.80 profit per postcard. It’s a positive result, which is why I utilized it.
I’m not even saying use postcards there. I don’t have to, because the story does all the selling for me as the person who’s trying to sell MarketingWithPostcards. You can sell whatever you’re trying to sell. If you utilize the PAR formula you’ll get a lot more case studies, a lot more testimonials and it’s better to get a story like that than to get someone saying how great you are.
That’s nowhere near as important or powerful and doesn’t have the unspoken endorsement as the PAR formula does.
Utilize the PAR Formula…
And it will accelerate the growth of your business by simply utilizing the case method theory taught at some of the world-class training organizations, institutions, colleges and graduate programs throughout the world; Harvard being one of them.