It’s Not You, It’s Me: How to Think About Case Studies
Case studies are high-value pieces of marketing content. When properly constructed and distributed to the right audience at the right time, case studies can yield high returns in the sales process. It’s the prime opportunity to celebrate a successful client partnership and empower brand ambassadors to advocate for a supplier partner and its solution.
But not all case studies are created equal. The most impactful case studies detail how a client used a solution to solve for a problem they were experiencing. The content shouldn’t explain the ins and outs of the product, but instead dive into how that client achieved success, gained ROI or improved operations through the partnership.
There is a fine balance when thinking about and crafting case studies. Focusing on the problem, solution and results narrative helps ensure the audience is engaged, delivers a value proposition and promotes strong customer partnerships.
Here are our top 5 tips to building powerful case studies:
- Focus on pain points: The most successful case studies are highly focused pieces of content with a central theme. Everything from revenue growth, operational efficiencies, customer service, installation processes, etc. are fair game as topics. It is important for sales, marketing, leadership and PR to come together to determine the pain points you solve for as well as any competitive differentiators that can be used to promote your value proposition. The goal is to diversify the content by building a library of case studies that covers all identified pain points. This enables a sales team to more effectively address any objections from a prospect. It is empowering to be able to say, “Actually, we had a client experiencing the same problem you are. Let me share a case study that discusses how they were able to overcome that pain point.” By building case studies in this way, it is no longer about the supplier partner, it is about how an operator achieved success and improved their business.
- Know your customer: Just because a customer is a huge proponent of you, your solution or service doesn’t mean they are the right person for a case study interview. The best candidates are those who can speak specifically to a topic or pain point. For instance, the pain point is time savings for onsite teams, a CEO may not be the right person to interview as they are often too far removed from the day-to-day operations. They also do not have a true understanding of what keeps onsite teams the busiest. Consider a regional manager instead. Their voice offers insights into how the onsite teams are utilizing a solution and the time savings they are experiencing. They can also expand the discussion to higher level topics like ROI and NOI.
- Bring the data: In multifamily data rules all, so be ready to bring it. Having data to support the overall messaging and tone of a case study further validates the success achieved by a client. It is one thing for a third-party advocate to say, “Our company increased leasing by using this supplier partner.” it is another thing to say, “Our company increased leasing by 47%, saw qualified leads grow by 56% and generated an additional $500,000 in revenue after we engaged the supplier partner to solve for our poor leasing.” Which is the more powerful message?
- Don’t shy away from “off-marketing” messages: Some of the most impactful case studies have come from organic conversations with customers who just talked about how they interacted with a solution and the company. The stories that were shared about the level of customer service and going above and beyond can offer insights into a new competitive differentiator. It could be one that a supplier partner may not have even realized, but obviously a pain point that operators are experiencing. I understand the importance of marketing messages and the time that goes into developing a brand and focusing on those messages. But it is important to let operators speak to what they are experiencing and how they solved for it in terms that other operators will understand.
- Distribution is key: A case study should be seen as more than just a case study. In its entirety, it is a powerful piece of marketing content. But as you slice and dice it into other pieces of content, it can become even more powerful. Some of our most successful clients would leverage every case study in 3-5 ways. Creating what we called “chop-chop” emails taking key points and a single quote from a case study and adding a call to action inviting the reader to download the full case study averaged a significant read rate and click thru rate. When you combine this tactic with coordinated email drip campaigns through a CRM, the results can be profound.
I am sure we have all read case studies that are so thick with marketing language that you either 1. Stopped reading because you weren’t looking for yet another sales pitch or 2. You missed the overall results message entirely. Likewise, I am sure we have all read case studies that were so content light that we didn’t learn anything. But leveraging the top 5 tips to building a powerful case study will ensure your content is read and admired.