About Case Studies
What is a case study?
Well, they’re customer success stories. They take the buyer on a trip. It’s a 2 to 4-page journey that shows potential buyers how one of your customers used your product or service to solve a difficult problem. Case studies show the impact of doing business with you. And spoken in your customer’s voice.
They are used in the mid to late stages of the buying process as buyers look for confirmation and assurance from others that your solution works. In fact, 79% of buyers stated that they have used case studies during the past 12 months to research a buying decision.
And, 64% of respondents shared this content with peers and colleagues. It’s the “gift that keeps on giving”. One report, multiple readers. Powerful effect.
Why use case studies?
Between identifying a product and making a purchase, buyers are in the research phase. They’re looking at product reviews, pictures, videos, anything they can find. There is actually a swanky name for this stage – “Zero moment of truth.” It’s become a critical stage of the buying process.
One of the most searched for pieces of information is customer testimonials. This includes informal reviews by customers and case studies. Buyers want to see what experiences others had when purchasing your product or service. So, let’s look at several reasons why case studies are a valuable piece of content in your marketing program.
- Your product is turned into a story. A typical format introduces your customer (the character), describes the problem they’re having (good stories always have conflict), and provides the solution. Your customers are the hero and your product or service saved the day. People remember a good story. Tell yours.
- You receive third party endorsement. Case studies represent the view of your customer or patient. Not the view of your company. They are unbiased. Not self-serving. It’s a third-party endorsement. Adding lots of customer quotes adds to its validity.
- You obtain a strong sales tool. Case studies help sales reps deal with a potential customer and their specific problem. If you have case studies covering several problems, the rep can show how another customer solved the same issue. They can be used in an automated email campaign to send to customers in the mid to late stages of their buying process. This can help close sales.
- You discover your biggest supporters. Usually you approach several customers to tell their story. Those that accept are your biggest advocates. Showing prospects that your organization has companies willing to vouch for your product or service is invaluable.
- Customers want to see a human associated with your brand. And, just like you remember your favorite movie, customers will remember a story. Give them one.
What are the key components of a successful case study?
The customer’s challenge. The problems, pains, or goals/dreams of your customer before they implemented your solution. Whatever the issue, it must be relevant to your target industry, segment, and reader.
Buyers want to know specifics. What is the core problem?
In B2B it may be hospital readmissions, product quality, government regulations, I of T integration and data security. Or, it could be issues all businesses face, leads, sales, productivity, processes, etc.?
In B2C, it could be your patient’s dreams or goals? Live a higher quality of life, take fewer medications, be able to travel, etc.?
The solution. What was your solution? How did your client discover it? Why did they choose to implement it? How smooth was the rollout?
The results/outcome. Results must show specifically how your solution solved the problem stated in the beginning. Was it reduced hospital readmissions, higher quality of care, more leads, higher productivity, more sales, cost reductions, etc.? How long did it take to implement the solution? How did your company support the use of your solution?
A strong call to action. You’ve shown your solution can solve that buyer’s or patient’s problem. Now, you want him to act. What do you want him to do? Download a special report, call a sales rep, arrange for an appointment?
Presenting these components in the right voice and right style answers the most important question in your prospect’s or patient’s mind. What’s in it for me?
Before speaking with a sales person, 40% of buyers will look at 3–5 pieces of content. And, another 21% will view 5–7 pieces of content. That’s 61% of buyers that will consume 3–7 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.
Your company has customer success stories to tell. Buyers and patients want third party validation. Case studies provide that validation.
 Demand Gen Survey Report, 2018 Content Preferences Survey, pg. 10
 Demand Gen Survey Report, 2018 Content Preferences Survey, pg. 4.
 Demand Gen Survey, 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report, pg. 11
“Bob has the ability to explain complex pacemaker and defibrillator algorithms in a clear and concise manner making it easy for a trainee to learn and apply.”
Business Development Manager, Indahaus