«Return to Blog List 6 “Rights” of Case Studies that Compel & Sell

The question often comes up…

What makes a customer case study or success story compelling to audiences?

The key word in that question – to audiences. Like every marketing communications piece, the case study is only effective when created with the specific audience in mind.

Considering that, I boiled the elements of compelling case studies into six "rights." Here are the six at a glance. We’ll get deeper into each one here over the next two weeks.

1. Right customer – A prospective customer wants to know how others like them have solved similar challenges. Match the type of customer featured in your story with the audience on various levels. Not only should the company be similar to your prospect (i.e. size, industry, challenges, location), but the individual quoted should be similar to your target.

2. Right timeWhen you gather a customer’s story is key. Too early and there’s not enough detail yet. Too late, and the individuals you interview may not recall some of the critical details that make the story interesting, such as the challenges faced previously and why they chose your product or service.

3. Right questions – Question design makes all the difference in the information you gather. Determine the top messages and results that need to be in the customer story, and map your interview questions to those goals specifically.

4. Right angle – There are multiple angles in any case study or success story. Before creating the story, determine which angle will best maximize your sales and marketing efforts and focus on that as the emphasis.

5. Right results – Measurable results are the Holy Grail of any customer success story. Just make sure those results are the ones that matter to prospects, and are in terms that impress them.

6. Right presentation/format – Who’s your audience and how do they want your information? Some learn best by reading, others by hearing, and others by watching. To that end, should you create written, audio or video case studies, or multiple formats? Whatever formats you choose, understand the customer’s time restraints and give them flexibility in how they absorb the information.