Writing a Case Study

How to Write a Marketing Case Study That Drives Sales

Writing a case study is one of the best marketing communication strategies to clearly describe the benefits of your product to your target customer. This is particularly true for B2B businesses. Here are our top tips for writing a compelling marketing case study that will drive sales. Contact us to ask about our case study templates. 

The most important use for the marketing case study is to give your target customer a specific example of how your product or service has been used to solve a business problem that they share and can relate to.

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Writing a case study is not about touting your product features, but about the customer problem, the solution, and finally the results. It can be nice to include some lessons learned also, so long as they don’t reflect poorly on your company or your product.

But case studies need to be written well to be effective.

Why Marketing Case Studies Often Fail

When I was responsible for services sales and marketing for a major technology company, it was always a challenge to get good marketing case studies. Many of the case studies and customer success stories from corporate marketing never got used effectively. This experience is common across many businesses. But why?

Well, in my experience, the main reasons why case studies fail as sales and marketing tools are:

  1. Too little information about the customer and their specific problem (answering the question “Why?”);
  2. Not enough details about exactly how the problem was solved. It is not enough to say “customer adopted our product and everyone lived happily ever after…”. The case study should address these other questions also:
    • How (How was it implemented? How long did it take?),
    • What (Exactly what was adopted? What were the main challenges?),
    • Who (Who at the client was involved? Ideally provide some key quotes).
  3. The customer is not representative of your target segment;
  4. There is no backup information available;
  5. Focuses too heavily on the product/service features, or is too much of a sales pitch.

A marketing case study needs to be an effective presales tool. It should be used to drive conversation and interaction, not just be a glossy piece that gathers dust on your customer’s desk. In that interaction, credibility is key, and a weak case study can destroy the sales team’s credibility: if the customer has questions either the sales team or the case study itself need to be able to provide the next level detail either through links, references or speaker notes.

WritING a Case Study That Engages Your Prospects

You want your case study to engage prospective customers and make them see themselves in that story. That is what makes a compelling marketing case study.

These are my top tips on writing a case study that will drive sales effectively:

  • Use a professional template (or hire a professional for help with writing a case study for you). We have a case study template available - contact us for information.
  • Start by describing the customer’s problem in language that they can relate to (avoid technical jargon etc) – use that to pull in the reader.
  • Give a clear, detailed overview of the solution: how did your product or service resolve the customer’s issue?
  • Outline the results – try to make then as tangible and quantifiable as possible.
  • Describe the key customer lessons learned, if you can do so without any negative implications on your product or service obviously.
  • Make sure the customer is typical of your target market.
  • Don’t tout your product features too early in the case study – try to stick with customer benefits.
  • Give the reader references and links where they can find more details.
  • Provide speaker notes for the sales team or others who will be delivering the case study.
  • An even better solution, if you can do it, is to get a trusted third party such as an analyst or industry magazine or website to publish the case study.