Most B2B companies recognize that Case Studies – real examples of how they have helped specific clients succeed – are the most important marketing content they can create.
What some companies fail to recognize is how Case Studies (AKA Customer Success Stories), are unique and truly different from all other marketing content.
In this article we are going to lay out the key differences between standard marketing content and Case Studies.
We are qualified in this area because we specialize in creating Case Studies for B2B companies. We handle every aspect – interviewing our client’s customers, designing the asset, and writing the content – and we have created hundreds of Case Studies over the past few months.
Difference #1. Case Studies should not be about your product, service, or offering
Most marketing content should be about your product/service/offering – that is how prospective clients can learn about what they are actually getting after they hand you their credit card number.
But Case Studies are different. Prospects are going to read a Case Study when they want to learn about a company like themselves, and know more about the experience of being your customer. If you are using your Case Study as another product showcase, you are missing the point.
What you can do: Force yourself to really focus on the client and their outcomes. Remember that there are plenty of places to talk about what you do. Make 100% sure the Case Study is primarily about the client.
Difference #2: Technical details don’t sell
I know: it is really tempting to go into every little detail about how you were able to get results for your client, especially in the context of comparing with your competition. But in a Case Study, this is actually detrimental to your purpose.
A case study should speak specifically to a customer’s experience and focus on their perspective on life prior to your company and life with your company. Throwing in a bunch of specific details (that aren’t necessary to tell the story) just cheapens the experience and will ultimately distract prospects from the real story.
What you can do: Limit each Case Study to 1 page, 2 pages MAX. Tell the Case Study subject in advance you want to mostly talk about business outcomes, not specifics on your offering.
Difference #3: The content should not read like you wrote it
Devotion to your company, and an unwavering belief in what you do, can be a fantastic strength. However, this absolute bias often leads to propaganda-like material, which is exactly what you want to avoid when it comes to Case Studies.
You have to be very careful that standard self promotions do not keep creeping back into your case studies, edit after edit. Telling the story of the customer’s experience, from their perspective, is what will make your Case Study compelling.
What you can do: Consider working with a third party that can objectively tell the story.
Difference # 4 Still valuable without client & brand approval
Your most compelling marketing content is often when you gain approval to slap the client’s logo right alongside yours. If people trust that brand, and that brand trusts you, then you must be doing something right.
Unfortunately, depending on the nature of your industry or who your clients are, getting that approval might not be so easy. Luckily, with Case Studies, this is not necessarily game over.
What you can do: All of your clients will not give approval to write a Case Study, and an even smaller percentage will allow you to market and publish the material.
But that doesn’t mean it is not valuable. Create some assets that are only to be used 1 on 1 in specific sales cycles, perhaps even with approvals. You can also create anonymized versions that can be used more broadly. Track and document how each asset is approved to be used.
Difference # 5 Volume matters, a lot.
More is better, everyone knows that. With Case Studies this is especially true. Your prospects are going to want to get in your client’s shoes, to know what life is like working with you.
The broader your Case Study collection, the likelier it is that there will be a Case Study that addresses your prospect’s key concerns.
What you can do: The best B2B companies have dozens of case studies. You want to look like a proven company, not an upstart.
Furthermore, the best Case Study for a situation is the one that relates most directly to the prospect. Create a process to create and release 1 new Case Study each month, and stay consistent.
Need help creating content? Use this link to schedule a meeting directly with our Founder to see if we can help.