Marketing case study 101: How to build an effective case study that converts
A B2B marketer’s biggest mistake is often talking too much about their product or service.
They’ll highlight new features, use cases, and competitive advantages as they market their product. This strategy sometimes falls apart since B2B prospects aren’t always looking for products. They’re more focused on solutions.
To counteract this, marketers need to create marketing case studies. These assets focus on the tangible outcomes and results that customers reap when using a product or service.
With a solution-focused approach, you can show prospective customers how you can help them get the outcome they need.
This post will share how to create an effective marketing case study that will delight and convert prospective customers. Before we jump into the details, let’s define what a marketing case study is and outline the benefits of creating one so we’re all on the same page.
What is a marketing case study?
A marketing case study is an asset that outlines the root problem, the implementation of your product or service, and the overall outcome through the eyes of an existing customer.
It is a first-hand account of how your product or service works and why it’s useful.
The best part about marketing case studies is that they tell a three-act story for the reader. They often start with a problem, introduce the product as a solution, and share the results.
This story arc is engaging for readers to follow and helps them understand what the company offers. Plus, these assets are a valuable form of social proof that depict existing customers overcoming obstacles in their business with the help of the product in question.
Case study content that provides actionable insights for your audience can be a great addition to your marketing plan. This content can be optimized for search engines to drive organic traffic or promoted through your digital marketing efforts to reach your target audience.
This increase in marketing case studies as a part of a company’s overarching content marketing strategy isn’t just coincidental.
Customers often appreciate the chance to be spotlighted, and prospective customers find this type of content valuable.
Take a look at this example from Hexadite:
In this marketing case study, you can quickly grasp the impact that Hexadite has had on IDT Corp.
They realized they needed to expand their alert system and used Hexadite as a solution to achieve this goal.
With just a two-minute success story, prospective customers could learn almost everything that they need to know about Hexadite.
But why should you invest in ramping up your marketing case study production? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why case studies are useful assets.
What are the benefits of a marketing case study?
Your marketing team’s time is limited, so you need to ensure that each employee is optimizing their time and working on assets and campaigns that make an impact.
This begs the question: is investing in the production of multiple marketing case studies worth it?
The answer is yes.
B2B companies need multiple case studies and customer success stories to span across multiple industries and feature on varying specific use cases.
Case studies are effective because they drill down into the details. They don’t talk broadly about a business. Instead, they focus on specific data points that show the value that the company provides.
Take a look at this case study for Explainify:
The Plated team highlighted how easy it was to work with Explainify to create a video that showcased its brand and product in a concise way. In the case study, you see an example of Explainify’s work in action and hear how it made an impact on Plated’s marketing efforts.
This bite-sized asset is a compelling example of the power that marketing case studies can have over consumers.
Marketing case studies are powerful because they:
Position your product as a solution
Act as a powerful form of social proof
Tap into customer advocacy
Tell a story about your product
There’s a lot of different marketing assets you can create, but none do all of the above in a more effective way.
Marketing case studies are multi-faceted assets that channel the voice of your customer to people who want to learn about your product.
This is valuable because consumers don’t want to listen to you sell. In fact, only 29% of people want to talk to a salesperson to learn more about a product. The rest will perform a search or read assets related to a product before reaching out.
Now that you know the importance of marketing case studies, We can walk you through a step-by-step guide detailing what you need to do to create an effective one.
How to create an effective marketing case study
Starting with a blank page can be terrifying for some marketers. You might have a vision, but you’re unsure of how to bring it to life.
Here are five simple steps you can take to create an effective marketing case study that is sure to convert customers.
1. Select your customer
Before you begin, consider who you want to feature in your marketing case study. This is an important decision because it will set the direction for the entire asset.
Look at your existing customer base and find someone who has a unique story to tell. This should be cross-referenced with the industries and types of accounts you’re targeting.
You should have marketing case studies that span across different industries and highlight various use cases. Thus, selecting the right customer to feature should be a strategic decision.
For example, watch the following video case study Tremont 647 gave for Swipely, a restaurant management system:
Swipely might consider making a new marketing case study with another customer that offers a different restaurant model or even expand out into other aspects of the tourism and hospitality industry.
This would equip them with a variety of assets that appeal to a wide spectrum of prospective customers.
2. Outline your problem
A business case study should open with the problem that your customer is facing.
Perhaps their business is at crossroads, and they need some additional help. Maybe processes are broken, customer satisfaction is down, or their sales are in a slump.
Describe the problem in detail.
This is just as important as your solution. It sets the stage for the entire case study and needs to lay the foundation for why your product is needed.
Radoslav Georgiev, Co-Founder of Gtmhub describes how their customers were relying on them to adhere to all new security protocols.
They used Securicy to help manage security programs internally, ensuring they met every standard required:
This video perfectly showcased the problem they faced and detailed how a solution like Securicy solved it.
3. Introduce your product or service as a solution
Now that you have a problem, it’s time to highlight the solution.
This is where the customer should talk about reasons why they selected your product or service. It’s important information for like-minded prospective customers who may be facing the same challenges and relate to their struggles.
Invite your featured customer to explain your product or service in their own words. By bringing customer voices to the forefront of your marketing, you may create assets that resonate with those in your targeted industries.
4. The impact on your business
Measure that quantifiable impact and share the qualitative impact as well.
What happened after the product was introduced? Quantify your results and share them in the case study.
Consider highlighting the following metrics:
Increase in sales, traffic, or conversions
Improved efficiency or processes
Decrease in expenditures or employee time investment
By sharing data and proving value, you make your product more appealing to hesitant prospects.
This one line can do wonders for your business because it can be repurposed for so many other marketing assets. You could add it to a landing page or blog post, include it in a Facebook ad, or even publish it on a social media site like Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
Place the focus on your customer’s recommendation of your product. Ask them to describe who would be the right fit to use your product. This will resonate with people and make it feel as if the marketing case study was meant for them.
Look at how Miles Barger, the VP of Store Analytics for Lucky Brand, provides a powerful endorsement for Celect:
He said, “With Celect, we’re able to integrate all of our processes together,” as opposed to running processes on four different platforms.
This highlights the time, energy, and cost savings that Celect provided his company.
With a recommendation from your client featured in a marketing case study like the example above, you will have all the ammo you need to close the sale.
Marketing case studies are effective documents that every B2B business needs to create. However, it isn’t enough to just hastily put one together. You should be strategic in your approach to ensure that the marketing case study is a useful asset for your sales team.
By asking an existing customer to share their problem, hypothesis, and solution (while recommending your product), you’ll create a meaningful asset that is a powerful sales tool and revenue generator for your business.
Now that you know what it takes, reach out so Testimonial Hero can create marketing case studies that can be used to grow your business.
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