Case Studies: Short Stories of the Marketing World
When marketing a product or service, traditional brochures or collateral just won’t cut it. Why? Because consumers aren’t interested in reading about what you’re selling. They want to hear about why they should purchase, or how a product or service has been implemented successfully. They want to listen to stories. This is why case studies are invaluable in educating customers and increasing conversions.
Everyone has heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” In marketing, the stories we share paint pictures and elicit emotions. This is exactly what a case study enables us to do-- tell stories about a brand using the customer’s voice.
Generally, there are three major components to a case study: the problem, different solutions available, and proven results that showcase your product/service as the ideal solution. Primarily, a strong case study highlights the question every consumer wants to know: “what’s in it for me?”.
Steps to Build a Case Study
1. Decide which project or campaign is worth developing into a case study. Typically, case studies hone in on a specific goal related to your product or service offering and, as a result, they resonate with your target audience.
2. Determine the purpose. Knowing the target audience and what questions they need answers to will drive the content and format.
3. Establish the example that best fits the goal. Consider a case study from a particularly compelling client and begin with a pre-interview with the client, if necessary, to learn more.
4. Assemble the basics. Core information should be quantifiable and factual. Use a journalistic approach when writing a case study, by learning what’s valuable to the reader and adapting the story to fit.
5. Develop in a compelling format. A well-written case study will only be persuasive if it’s visually appealing. Consider including visuals, video (if you have it) and a testimonial (again, if you have it). For a more relatable piece, quote your customer in their own words.
6. Promotion. Now that you have a shiny, new case study, the world needs to see it! The type of promotion you choose will depend on who you wrote the case study for and the stage they’re at in the buyer’s journey. For a broad reach, you can post the piece on your website, or incorporate it into lead nurture or social promotion to target leads.
In today’s competitive marketing environment, having robust case studies validate the value of your company and serve as powerful testimonials to prospects and leads. With quality content, you can demonstrate that you understand the problems faced by your buyer personas and how to solve them better than your competitors.