2 Parts of a Case Study You Should Never Skip

Number 2You already know case studies are marketing gold. In fact, Eccolo’s recent survey of technology buyers and influencers showed nearly 80 percent of respondents said case studies were moderately to extremely influential in their buying decision.

Now you’re ready to start preparing for next year by getting some new case studies for your company.

That’s great!

But before you schedule those client interviews, make sure your questions cover these two critical components of any good case study.

The Problem Solving Process
All case studies talk about the problems a client had before the hero of the story swoops in to make life easier and more profitable.

And that’s good.

It’s the part of the story where you hope the reader starts to see themselves so they’ll identify with the client and wonder if your company can do similar things for them.

Unfortunately, too many case studies stop with simply stating what the problems were.

Most problems, especially complex ones, have existed within a company for a period of time. And over that time it’s likely many approaches have been taken to solve it.

Ask about that journey.

Why is that so important?

It’s the identification factor. Maybe the reader tried one of the solutions your client did and had a similar failure. Or maybe the reader is in the process of trying one of the failed solutions. Or maybe the reader just recognizes that the problem solving process your client used is similar to theirs.

Wherever the reader might be in their own problem solving process, you want them to see themselves not just in the problem, but in the solution. It engages your readers and makes them more interested in the outcome of the story.

So don't gloss over (or skip!) the problem solving process. Talk about it so your readers can build empathy and engage with the story.


Any Mistakes Your Company Made
It’s only natural for people to downplay their mistakes. Everyone does it. And companies, with their risk-averse cultures, are known for it.

Featuring mistakes in a case study that’s supposed to highlight how wonderful a company is just doesn’t happen much.

But it should.

Why?

Two reasons.

First, consider the credibility factor. Admitting you made a mistake while working with a client shows you’re credible. After all, most companies that have worked with more than one client have made a mistake at some point. So just admit it. The reader will believe more of what you have to say if you do.

Second, admitting your mistake gives you an opportunity to talk about how you went above and beyond to fix it. And let’s face it, some of the most loyal customers a company has are ones that experienced an error but had it fixed.

So don’t be afraid to talk about a client whose story may have gotten off on the wrong foot. As long as you both end up where you wanted to be, your case study will be the more compelling for talking about it all – good and bad.

Now that you know which two parts of a case study never to skip, make sure you get the most from your case studies. With that kind of marketing gold, you want them to work for you as much as they can.

What do you think? What are some other don't skip elements in case studies?

Image courtesy of indi.ca

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