Does a Case Study need to be perfect for it to be useful?
The best B2B Case Studies show how a client had a specific problem, implemented a solution, and goes on to describe how that solution led to massive, direct, and measurable results. Most companies know how valuable these stories are, and produce as many of them as they can.
Having the ‘perfect storm’ of great narrative lining up with a good client who will approve their logo going on the Case Study is not rare, but it takes work and sometimes it just isn’t possible.
Sometimes you will have a happy client that is willing to let you use their name and logo, talk about why they like you and value the relationship, but there is not quite enough to produce this optimum style of Case Study.
Some of the reasons include:
Confidentiality – Your customers are not comfortable publishing specifics on the outcomes they achieved with you
Too early – You are startup working on something new, so most of your clients are big supporters of what you are doing, but haven’t experienced the real results yet
Exhausted client list – You have done a good job creating dozens of Case Studies about your best clients, want more, but the remaining clients don’t have enough of a story to create full Case Study
Your solution is minor – I know everyone on Linkedin only talks about huge, billion dollar, game changing solutions and how to sell them, but the truth is there are tons of companies that provide great products that their clients love, but don’t go deep enough to create a full-blown Case Study.
Enter: the “Customer Success Snapshot”. A CSS looks like a Case Study, reads like a Case Study, but it lacks some of the elements.
CSS will focus on describing the customer broadly, the solution/product they use, why they are happy with it, what they like, and their experience working with the people at that vendor. It is much more than a simple testimonial, but not quite a full Case Study. It is still all about the customer, and it is still much more powerful than a puff piece (link to PP article)
For many companies, these assets can be very valuable. Consider what would be more influential to you when evaluating a vendor: a Case Study about a company nothing like yours achieving a massive result, or a CSS from a company that is exactly yours formally stating that they find the relationship with this vendor valuable.
Create as many full Case Studies as you can. But if for any reason you can’t create more top notch ones, you should not be afraid to feature some good testimonials in a longer form asset.