Case studies

Why use a case study?

Using a case study can be a successful means of demonstrating to a prospective buyer the effectiveness and success of the solutions that your business has offered to clients who have had similar problems to them.

Types and styles of case studies

It is essential that before embarking on developing a case study, you assess the specific results that you wish to achieve from the case study. The are two prominent types of case study that achieve two separate goals:

  1. A case study that highlights an example of how a previous client has dealt with a similar problem using solutions and resources offered by your business.
  2. A case study that highlights how your business is different to competitors and why your business is the one the prospective buyer should go with.

In establishing the type of case study that would meet your objectives best, you should also consider the medium; namely, whether it is to be written, audio or video.

Preparation

Once you have decided on the style or type of case study that you would like to go with, keep the following in mind in preparation:

  • Approach a client who achieved great outcomes by implementing your solution, and ask them to participate (the case study will be more authentic if they are willing to disclose their name and their company name; if they’re uncomfortable about doing so though, acknowledge that they could participate anonymously).
  • The next step is to get the information required from your client. We recommend an interview for this purpose.
  • If completing an audio or video case study, creating a thorough script is important to ensure that the interviewer and interviewee stay on track and cover the content you want them to. This script needs to be approved by the client prior to recording the interview.
  • If completing a written case study, getting the interview spot on is less important, but you should still give them some pointers regarding the content you want them to cover.

Structure

All case studies should follow a specific structure, we recommend the following six point structure (particularly when developing a written case study):

  1. Situation: a description of the client's situation;
  2. Objectives: an outline of what the client was trying to achieve;
  3. Problem: the problem that the client was facing;
  4. Need: the need that the client had - what's necessary to solve the problem?;
  5. Solution: the solution that you offered to solve the problem; and
  6. Outcomes: the outcomes that were achieved by implementing your solution

One of the most important points to remember is that your script should be crafted in such a way that it yields the answers that you want.

Call to action

Once the case study has been developed and presented, it is essential that like most marketing initiatives, it is followed by a call to action. In this case a 'call to action' should encompass some additional information about who you are or about the solutions or resources you offer that relates to the problems and solutions raised in the case study. This 'call to action' must include contact details.

General notes

  • When developing a case study, we recommend establishing the opening situation debrief (as outlined above) in third person and then switching to as if the client was talking in order to add authenticity.
  • Before releasing any case study, it is crucial that you have the script and final product approved by the clients involved.
  • If creating a video case study, see the Video production wiki for a list of tips and ideas.