The Power of The Case Study [Examples 2023]
What is a case study? What business benefits can it bring? How to prepare it? Where to start, what to keep in mind and how to do it well in order to achieve the desired results? Let us try to answer these questions.
The case study, is undoubtedly one of the more effective marketing and teaching tools at the same time. Among the deluge of content, it stands out as proof of your company's effectiveness. If you're an entrepreneur, marketer or sales professional, it's worth paying attention to this form. A case study is undoubtedly a form of your promotion, but it positions you as an expert, with specific knowledge that you can and want to share. This automatically makes this type of material - well-prepared - able to attract the attention of your audience and promote your important content more effectively.
What is a case study really and what benefits can it bring to your business?
A case study is a description of a specific case in which a company or brand has applied given strategies or actions to achieve specific business goals. It is an analytical tool to analyse processes, identify key success factors and learn lessons for the future. At the same time, it is proof that a company's services or products 'get the job done'.
In content marketing, the case study is used to present and promote achievements and to build customer trust by proving the effectiveness of the products or services offered. It often takes the form of a success story, i.e. a story depicting the success of a customer or company in connection with a given product or service.
The case study as a content marketing tool has its origins in the early business schools of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Back then, the only way to learn effectively was from each other. The case study is a continuation of the method first used in business didactics at Harvard Business School in 1914. Over time, case studies have become an essential part of academic didactics both in the USA and in Western European universities. To date, management, administration, and economics, among others, are taught in this way.
A case study is valuable for several reasons - it allows for a deeper analysis by (or about) the actors involved in each process, and the conclusions of these analyses can, in turn, provide a kind of very clear roadmap for those who would like to repeat someone else's success or avoid the failure that someone else has experienced. While academic teaching uses both models - success and failure - and looks at each of them, in content marketing we only go for success stories. However, this does not mean that they are less valuable to the audience. Their great value is the recipe for success in a particular area, written virtually inside. Is it possible to find something more valuable in business?
What is the structure of a typical case study?
A case study usually consists of several elements that help the reader to best understand the business case. The classic structure of a marketing case study consists of:
Introduction: in which the theme and characters of the story are usually sketched out. Most often, this will be a customer facing a problem or a specific challenge or demanding task, and (your) company that helped them succeed.
The challenge: that is, the knot of your story. This is where you outline the difficulties the client faced, his market situation, the requirements and the goals he set for himself.
Solution: as you can easily guess, this segment is where you describe the actions taken to solve the problem, i.e. services implemented or actions taken, for example. This is the ideal place to present ourselves as a partner whose specific (specifically listed and indicated, but not in general terms, but with reference to an individual story) resources made it possible to solve a particular challenge.
Results: the last element of the case study structure is a summary of the results that have been achieved or the problems that have been solved. This is the place to bring the client back to the forefront and draw attention to the real, tangible benefits that are perceived by the client. This does not mean that you disappear here. After all, it is because of you that they have been achieved.
What else should a good case study contain?
In addition to the most important structural parts that build your story, it is worth taking care to include elements in the case study that will make it even more credible. These certainly include quotes and feedback from the customer, which will confirm that they are satisfied with the results of the proposed solution. This 'proof of concept' can also be provided by your company experts, who will point out the most important aspects of the case. Remember that what counts here is concrete: not general platitudes about how great the company is, but pointing out a few key elements that 'worked' in this particular situation and the customer confirms this.
It is worth ensuring that your case study defends itself with the power of facts. Therefore, it is worth including figures, e.g. how much profit the client managed to achieve, by how much it raised specific indicators. An attractive form of presentation will also count, which is why it is good to present data in graphic form, for example.
What are the benefits of a case study?
The benefits of preparing and publishing, for example on your website and social media, a case study can hardly be overestimated, but of course, as with any publication, it is worth bearing in mind the proper promotion or the proper use of the case study by your salespeople. The question is, what does a case study do?
You gain customer confidence
Customers increasingly expect you to provide them with evidence of the effectiveness of your product or service. Catchy marketing slogans are not enough. A case study is the ideal way to provide them with this information. Success stories from satisfied customers can be a key marketing tool to convince potential customers to take up your offer. A case study is a great portfolio that builds your credibility.
You show what problems you can solve
Customers are looking not so much for products or services, but for solutions to their problems. With a case study, show them how your company has helped others by solving problems like theirs. This not only builds credibility for your brand, but also increases your chances of attracting new customers. Concrete information makes a customer struggling with analogous problems eager to use the services of someone who has boasted of solving the exact same or very similar problem they are now facing.
You become a safe choice
Particularly in B2B marketing, a sought-after service provider is one that provides a sense of security. A case study helps you to build the image of a proven partner. By presenting material showing how you have proven yourself in similar cases, you reinforce the image of a responsible partner with whom people want to work. By publishing a case study, you demonstrate that another client was willing to sign off on your coverage of a project and attest to the effectiveness of your solutions. The buying committee in this situation has a much easier task and you have a much better chance of closing the deal. Real time marketing has a lot of upsides, it allows you to build brand awareness, but the key in B2B marketing is to arrive with content full of specifics, evidence, containing the potential to educate and persuade at every stage of the sales funnel. In these transactions, decisions are rarely made by a single person, while a case study is a piece of content that, with its specifics, can convince the entire buying committee.
You build an image as an expert
The publication of a case study is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate expertise. It doesn't matter whether you are talking about an entire company, a team of employees or specific characters. A case study is a great tool for building personal brands. What matters, on the other hand, is that presenting the specific results you have achieved for a client highlights your skills and experience. This can attract the attention of potential clients who are looking for experts in a particular field.
Learn how to solve problems effectively
A case study can also be a great learning and development tool for you. Through case study analysis you can learn what strategies are effective, what mistakes to avoid and what results are possible. This is knowledge that can give you a competitive advantage and help you to solve problems in your business effectively. In today's world, we increasingly lack the time for calm, thoughtful reflection, viewing a project from some distance. A case study opens such a space, forces you to take a critical look at your activities. You gain marketing material and, at the same time, additional knowledge about the specifics of your own activities.
You promote your customer
A case study without a story from the client makes no sense. It is also hard to imagine you publishing such material without their permission. However, a well-prepared one can serve both sides and many entrepreneurs look at a case study in this way. Your client can promote himself or herself as an entrepreneur reaching for innovative solutions, getting ahead of the competition, which has not even thought of cooperating with you yet, as improving his or her offer, working methods, solutions or, for example, the impact on the environment. It is therefore worth ensuring that the case study is created in consultation between you and the client. This dual perspective encapsulated in marketing material only increases its value, and both parties can benefit in their own way.
What challenges does the preparation of a case study pose?
When planning to prepare a case study for your company, you should bear in mind that this is a form that requires the consent and involvement of your clients, and the process of compiling the data itself may cost considerable effort. However, it is worth the effort; the results may exceed your expectations.
However, before you enjoy great material, focus on gathering accurate and reliable data and information related to the case to be described in the case study. Remember that the client may not be willing to reveal all the details of their business strategies or the challenges they faced. You need to respect that. It is possible to strike a balance between sharing relevant information and maintaining confidentiality, so it is not worth losing sight of your client's perspective. Clearly, you want to show everything you have done. However, it is better to keep some of the information to yourself. Paradoxically, a potential client who has similar problems will know that you haven't told everything. This will work in your favour as a professional partner who respects the privacy and business communications of his or her clients.
It is important to maintain communication with the client or company you are describing in the case study. You need to make sure that the activities and results described are in line with their expectations and requirements. It is often necessary to consider possible corrections and suggestions from the client or other stakeholders.
Complex data and information may require deep analysis and interpretation to draw meaningful conclusions. It is not always obvious which factors or strategies contributed most to success. Preparing a case study can be a challenge if you need to understand exactly what happened and why. Above all, you need to write about it concretely and clearly. The whole process may have been insanely complicated, you, however, need to describe it as if moving from challenge to solution to outcome is simpler than making a sandwich for your bubbly child for school in the morning. A case study needs to be clear, readable, and easy to digest.
A case study therefore requires good storytelling and copywriting skills. It should be clear and coherent in terms of narrative. Information should be combined in a way that allows the reader to understand the course of action and its impact on achieving the objectives. A case study should not only be a description of events, but also a tool to convey values and inspire others. The optimal length of the text should be chosen, and care should be taken to make it visually appealing, i.e. keeping in mind both live audiences and Google crawlers.
More and less traditional forms of case studies
The form in which you choose to present your case study is no less important than the content contribution. You can, of course, opt for the traditional form of a case study, which you will publish on a blog or in a knowledge base. This is a good solution, especially if you create such publications periodically. However, you can also consider other solutions, such as:
- PDF - great if you want to publish on LinkedIn; your audience will appreciate being able to download such a format from your website, and your salesperson will be pleased that you have prepared valuable material for them to use.
- VIDEO - the written word is unfortunately losing its value, like it or not, but it is difficult to ignore these changes, so consider preparing a video and translating the material full of figures and evidence of your competence into the language of moving pictures; you can rely on an expert to professionally explain a specific implementation or a presentation of its progress from behind the scenes. In this case, it is also advisable to provide space for the customer to speak and to ensure that the format is attractive.
- Landing page / website - this solution certainly offers the most possibilities; you can place text, charts, animations with numbers, attractively display satisfied customers and representatives of your company, and much more...
Good examples of case studies
Finally, some examples of interesting case studies:
HubSpot and Ceros
The strength of this case study (and many others by HubSpot) is that you already provide figures in the title. Showing exactly how much the customer has gained from your products and services is a strong argument for using them. The use of a website/landing page is very functional and offers a lot of opportunities for content exposure. Read the case study
Ideo and H&M
The minimalist but attractive design of this case study is a good example of how a website / landing page can be used to sell a story. There are not only statements from the client, but also links to press articles appreciating the project described. The client's well-known brand strengthens the power of persuasion: Read the case study
Rhenus Office Systems Poland and the Academy of Applied Sciences
This case study is an example of using different media to tell the story of a collaboration. In addition to the text version, i.e. the traditional article, it includes a video showing the challenges, solutions and their results. Statements by client representatives only add to its credibility: Read and watch the case study
Awario and Rozum Robotics
This case study is distinguished by its clear structure. A short summary at the beginning and a table of contents allow the reader to get an immediate idea of the subject matter of the text. Challenges, solutions and achievements are given in the form of lists, which also makes it easier to read and absorb the information: Read the case study
Netia and Mercedes Benz. Grupa Wróbel
The case study is presented on the website in a short, clear form. However, a downloadable pdf file containing the details of the case study is also available for those interested. The services used by the client and the benefits achieved are clearly indicated: Read the case study
A case study is an extremely effective marketing tool that allows companies to showcase achievements and build customer trust. Through descriptions of specific business cases, it is possible to show what problems can be solved and how to operate successfully in a particular industry. A case study helps companies to become a safe choice for customers and to build an expert image. A good case study, however, requires work - to be effective, the material must be concrete, saturated with data and at the same time clear and dressed up in an eye-catching form.
If you would like to start using case studies to promote your business but don't know where to start, let us know! We'd be happy to prepare case studies for you that your customers will love!