What is the value of a case study?

2nd June 2023 | Posted in Case studies

Case studies, customer success stories and references – all part of the marketing armoury, but are they right for you? And if they are, how do you go about writing them?

The marketing value of a case study

For a customer there’s something very comforting about finding there’s someone or some organisation with similar needs and aspirations who appear to have achieved their happy ending.

From consumer interests to major B2B projects, evidence that a solution has worked for someone else speaks volumes.

That’s what a case study does. It demonstrates your product or service works, which gives you serious credibility.

Style of case study

Does it have to be a full-blown case study? Not necessarily. Many vendors, especially in the B2C world, find short testimonials are sufficient.

But that’s just a snapshot of the story, and there may be many more interesting things to say.

A case study gives you the chance to tell your tale in greater detail, with you controlling the content.

For a start, what are the marketing messages you want to convey? Maybe you want to demonstrate that you’re great value for money. Or fast to respond. Or a credible supplier to key markets. Or have long-standing relationships with customers as a trusted supplier.

Picking different stories to focus on just a few of your messages makes for greater clarity than trying to cover everything in one case study.

Can you match the marketing messages you want to communicate with the stories you could be telling? If you can, a case study may be valuable for your business.

How would you use a case study?

If you have full permission from the customer to use their name, you could go for a fully-designed and illustrated pdf, available as a download on the website or on request. Or even a hard copy to give out at shows or include in a folder of supporting documents for a potential customer. This could be hugely helpful to your sales team in a B2B world – but perhaps a little OTT for small-value consumer sales.

If you would like to go for a full case study, but you don’t want to approach your customer to be involved, you could still design a pdf for sharing, but make it general enough that the customer can’t be identified. Naming the industry could be enough if you’re aiming to show your prowess in that particular world.

If you don’t have any input from the customer, your case study is likely to be shorter, but you could still develop a number of anonymised case studies to use as references. Send these to potential customers, use them in bids, maybe put them on the web.

That’s not the end of the story. You can highlight your case studies on social media, on your company LinkedIn profile, and in your PR activities.

And you can encourage customers who have bought into the case study programme to link to the story on their own media. If they have said yes to going public because your products and services are helping them to serve their own customers better, then they may well be persuaded to spread the word.

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