Savvy Speaks: What Makes a GREAT Case Study?

Savvy Speaks: What Makes a GREAT Case Study?
Savvy Sisters @savvy_b2b - Wed Oct 27, 2010 @ 05:45AM
Comments: 103

Ah, the case study. A short, sweet and to-the-point story with a happily ever after ending that is sure to have clients clamoring for your solution.

As great as these tools are, there are of course a wide range of styles, approaches and – ahem – quality when it comes to the B2B marketing case study. This week the Savvy Sisters decided to get together and share our tips for what makes a case study great.



Make it automatic

Sometimes big wins go by so fast you don’t get a chance to get it in writing before the next opportunity comes along. Creating a set process for capturing the details of the solution and getting it down in writing is the first step in creating an arsenal of laser-focused case studies your sales team can share with prospects.

Make the design work for you

A typical case study these days is one or two pages – not a lot of space to get your idea across. Make the design work for you – I always include a summary section along with the body text. That way the skimmers can get the highlights while those who like more information can read the details.



Tell a story

A good case study helps the reader identify with the situation by drawing her into the story behind the facts. Use storytelling techniques to engage and connect:

  • Treat the players like characters - give them some depth and personality vs. just a brand name.
  • Describe the situation to trigger the reader's recognition of herself - use details about the Real World aspects of the problem, not just the data.
  • Pace the story in a way that builds expectations and tension.
  • Be conversational. Write the way you would tell the story if you were speaking it.
  • Make sure you close with strong images of the benefits your solution delivered - make them as juicy and relatable as the problem from the beginning of the case study.



Four ingredients combine to make a great case study:

1) It's focused on the audience. To echo Jamie, you need to tell a story the reader can relate to. You do that in two ways:

  • Focus on the customer's situation and what the company achieved by using your solution.
  • Address the reader's interests. For example, a business person is typically interested in a "problem-solution-results" story, while a technical evaluator wants to understand what it takes to successfully implement your solution.

2) It moves prospects further along in the buying cycle. Because today's empowered prospects don't need to interact with your sales reps for content, your case studies need to lead them to the next logical step in the process. One example of how case studies can do this is by addressing sales objections early in the buying process. If enough of your prospects share a common concern, present a story that highlights one customer's concern with this issue and why your offering ultimately won them over.

3) It tells a unique story. Do you find that your case studies sound largely alike? If so, I'm guessing you use a standard interview questionnaire with every customer. To be sure each story stands on its own, conduct research into the customer's situation, needs, and results. Then develop a custom set of questions that helps you hone in on unique angles.

4) It's easy to read. As Kate said, strong design can make a case study much easier to digest. To that end:

  • Include titles and headings that highlight key messages
  • Follow a consistent flow that makes it clear when you're talking about the solution, challenge, results, etc.
  • Sprinkle bulleted lists into the copy
  • Summarize key points in an at-a-glance sidebar for folks who don't want to read the story from end to end


Join the conversation!

What do you think makes a case study great?

Seen any extreme examples – good, bad or ugly?

Comments: 103


1. Mark McClure  |  my website   |   Fri Oct 29, 2010 @ 06:43PM

Timely post! Juniper Networks have produced some great examples of customer success stories and case studies.

They've really focused on creating interesting stories aimed at IT Managers and CIOs looking at computer networking products and services that have a proven track record.

In fact, I was some impressed I blogged about their work.

2. Andy Bargery  |  my website   |   Fri Apr 20, 2012 @ 08:12AM

Some useful insight into great case study writing.

I like the focus on telling a story, rather than the all too often formulaic case study structure - the problem, the solution, the benefits.

I particularly like the idea of linking the case study to stages in the buying cycle.

Thanks Kate, Jamie and Stephanie.


3. Stephanie Tilton  |  my website   |   Mon Apr 23, 2012 @ 04:12PM

Andy, glad you found the post useful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

4. Bazi calculator   |  my website   |   Sat Apr 27, 2013 @ 10:12AM

What a great blog, thank you for letting me comment on it.

5. stone tile flooring  |  my website   |   Sun Apr 28, 2013 @ 05:13AM

Liked to study your website. I would like to recommend you that traffic show most people study weblogs on Monday. So it should motivate blog writer to create new create ups over the few days mainly.<a href="">stone tile flooring</a>

6. elgin for sale by owner  |  my website   |   Wed May 01, 2013 @ 06:24AM

With the new public market for earlier stage companies developing on NYSE Euronext in Paris, there is an alternative.<a href="">elgin for sale by owner</a>

7. florida cpa  |  my website   |   Thu May 02, 2013 @ 05:06AM

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics , i will be always checking your blog thanks<a href="">floridacpa</a>

8. bike accident lawyer   |  my website   |   Wed May 15, 2013 @ 05:36AM

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.

9. gclub  |  my website   |   Wed May 15, 2013 @ 04:05PM

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.

10. holiday palace  |  my website   |   Wed May 15, 2013 @ 11:45PM

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.

11. abiogenesis  |  my website   |   Thu May 16, 2013 @ 12:32AM

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.

12. hotspot  |  my website   |   Thu May 16, 2013 @ 10:34PM

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

13. nice   |   Wed May 29, 2013 @ 08:01AM
blog. I additional the item to help our favorite’s blog record and will be examining
again soon…Please put great facts that might guide people such good way. This particular publish is strictly what My business is serious. we need some more reputable facts.

14. SunVPN VPN service  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 03, 2013 @ 12:01PM

What would be the fix resistor value to achive max +9 dBU output level.My current setup Attenuator jumpers are off position?

15. raspberryketoneinstores.webs  |  my website   |   Thu Jun 13, 2013 @ 05:42AM

joy to read, I came across this site ages ago but I’ve only just decided to stop back and have a read of your articles.

16. raspberryketonepills.webs  |  my website   |   Thu Jun 13, 2013 @ 05:43AM

Great job for publishing such a beneficial web site. Your web log isn’t only useful but it is additionally really creative too. There tend to be not many people who can certainly write not so simple posts that artistically. Continue the nice writing..

17. does garcinia cambogia work  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 17, 2013 @ 05:51AM

I have been seeking information on this topic for the past few hours and found your post to be well written and has solid information. Thx.

18. does green coffee bean work  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 17, 2013 @ 05:52AM

Thank you for the efforts you been putting on making your site such an interesting and informative place to browse through. I'll be visiting your site again to gather some more valuable information. You truly did a good job.

19. raspberry ketones  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 17, 2013 @ 05:52AM

Thanks a lot for sharing us about this update. Hope you will not get tired on making posts as informative as this.

20. Reviews on Raspberry Ketones  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 17, 2013 @ 07:32AM

Thanks for informative and helpful post, obviously in your blog everything is good. if you post informative comments on blogs there is always the chance that actual

21. Review on Garcinia Cambogia  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 17, 2013 @ 07:33AM

This is very interesting. thanks for that. we need more sites like this.

22. review on green coffee extract  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 17, 2013 @ 07:33AM

Great post. If they are familiar with each other, it should make for an interesting game.

23. review on green coffee bean  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 17, 2013 @ 07:34AM

This is a great blog ! it was very informative. I look forward in reading more of your work.

24. limited liability company  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 24, 2013 @ 04:17AM

What is Limited Liability Company (LLC)?
The Limited Liability Company or LLC is not a partnership or a corporation. Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a relatively new business structure allowed by state statute. An LLC is a distinct type of business that offers an alternative to partnerships and corporations, by combining the corporate advantages of limited liability with the partnership advantage of pass-through taxation.

25. shaan   |   Thu Jun 27, 2013 @ 12:18AM
there is so nice content .you have wreitten so well .

26. juest   |   Sat Jul 13, 2013 @ 02:28AM

I came across my pal Benkisley who's a staff member inside Cruz buildings that is interested in purchasing a house for their futuristic developments, however his / her better half Maria feel that their residence should be really better an excellent mart. They're different types of views that people have regarding properties.

27. buy cheap essay  |  my website   |   Tue Jul 16, 2013 @ 02:35AM

every topic has its case study and it is important for marketing.

28. Pension Annuities  |  my website   |   Sat Aug 03, 2013 @ 10:14AM

Who wants a stylus. You have to get em and put em away, and you lose em. Yuck. Nobody wants a stylus.

29. Pension Annuities  |  my website   |   Sat Aug 03, 2013 @ 10:16AM

It took us three years to build the NeXT computer. If we'd given customers what they said they wanted, we'd have built a computer they'd have been happy with a year after we spoke to them - not something they'd want now.

30. technical writing services  |  my website   |   Thu Aug 08, 2013 @ 07:07AM

For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.

31. research grant writing  |  my website   |   Thu Aug 29, 2013 @ 08:27AM

Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn.

32. term paper writing   |   Fri Aug 30, 2013 @ 12:06PM

cover letters were manually written and as the years progressed, new technology and changes in life have also changed especially with the way cover letters are done. Cover letters are a form of business letter that you can use in applying for a particular position you desire. In fact, cover letters are now possible through email or in other words "electronic mails" via internet.

33. essay editors  |  my website   |   Wed Sep 04, 2013 @ 02:46AM

Who wants a stylus. You have to get em and put em away, and you lose em. Yuck. Nobody wants a stylus.

34. Sara   |   Tue Sep 10, 2013 @ 07:29AM

The tips that you have shared for making a great case study was very useful to me to do mine and I really impressed other with it. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing such an informative post. Keep updating.

35. Buy Facebook Fans  |  my website   |   Sat Sep 14, 2013 @ 09:02AM

We are learning, too, that the love of beauty is one of Nature's greatest healers.

36. SEO Manchester  |  my website   |   Mon Sep 23, 2013 @ 02:32AM

What beauty is, I know not, though it adheres to many things.

37. writing a letter of recommendation  |  my website   |   Tue Oct 01, 2013 @ 11:55PM

Frankly, we haven't analyzed this to the point that we stand firmly on that calculation. But from Edge Studio's perspective as a premier voice production and training facility, we can attest that, for many reasons, the voice over field continues to grow, and the need for voice over talent is booming.

38. andre colin  |  my website   |   Sun Oct 06, 2013 @ 12:02PM

Valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!! | | |

39. where can i find garcinia cambogia  |  my website   |   Fri Oct 11, 2013 @ 05:11AM
40. Dermal Fillers Aylesbury  |  my website   |   Wed Dec 11, 2013 @ 02:58AM

It's not the tools that you have faith in - tools are just tools. They work, or they don't work. It's people you have faith in or not. Yeah, sure, I'm still optimistic I mean, I get pessimistic sometimes but not for long.

41. Vein Removal Aylesbury  |  my website   |   Wed Dec 11, 2013 @ 04:09AM

I'm an optimist in the sense that I believe humans are noble and honorable, and some of them are really smart. I have a very optimistic view of individuals.

42. vccbc   |   Tue Jan 07, 2014 @ 08:13AM

Many of them are filled with punctuation issues and I in discovering it very annoying to tell the fact then again I’ll definitely come returning again.

43. Door Frames  |  my website   |   Wed Feb 05, 2014 @ 11:39PM

When virtue and modesty enlighten her charms, the lustre of a beautiful woman is brighter than the stars of heaven, and the influence of her power it is in vain to resist.

44. funny jokes in english  |  my website   |   Sun Feb 09, 2014 @ 12:40PM

The english joke make an incredible arrangement of fun in a man's life.its so neighborly and give a little support the reader.its filled the heart of people with chear and pleasure. Shrewd jokes in english are make the man politly light up up.its make a singular such a developed and gave bearable smile.
<a href=""rel="do follow">english jokes</a>

45. Tablet Covers  |  my website   |   Thu Mar 06, 2014 @ 06:38AM

The real sin against life is to abuse and destroy beauty, even one's own even more, one's own, for that has been put in our care and we are responsible for its well-being.

46. Jhon Smith   |   Wed May 14, 2014 @ 08:08AM

This is a very good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate information. Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!

47. Maya Pandit  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 02, 2014 @ 02:03AM

I am staying in Bangalore, so dont waist your time and come see me. I promise you will not forget our date :-) I am beautiful Girl. I am Maya Pandit. Maya Website:

48. jhon   |   Wed Jun 04, 2014 @ 12:59AM

This is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!

49. Visit this  |  my website   |   Thu Jun 05, 2014 @ 07:36AM

I really adore your commitment to offer your readers such valuable information. Looking forward to read such informative content over and over again...

50. Visit this  |  my website   |   Tue Jun 10, 2014 @ 09:29AM

This article is really interesting to read.

Previous 1 3
powered by Doodlekit™ Free Website Builder