«Return to Blog List Lessons from a Bad Case Study – Too Much Narrative

so bad

Ugh. I just came across a bad case study.

On this day before Valentine’s Day, I would rather be sharing the love, but this case study provides too many learning opportunities.

What makes the case study so bad? It breaks many of the rules of creating compelling customer stories. The next few blog posts, I’ll address the sins of this case.

Sin #1 – Too much narrative

I often talk about the importance of telling a story in customer success stories and case studies. But there’s a line you cross where it’s too much storytelling.

As with anything that you write, every word and every statement should contribute to the overall message. This particular case study provides a lot of extra narrative that doesn’t reinforce the overall story or have any value for the reader.

The audience is incredibly busy. In this case, the target is CIOs and VPs of IT. A case study is not the time to construct a really verbose and flowery narrative. Readers will simply stop reading and be frustrated that the case study wastes their time.

Keep the writing tight and always relevant to the overall message.

In this case, the writer spent four paragraphs making a point that could have been expressed much better in two paragraphs.

Stay tuned for Sin #2 – Don’t Make Customers Look Bad

For more tips on creating compelling customer stories, check out Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales & Marketing Asset.

5 Responses to Lessons from a Bad Case Study – Too Much Narrative

  1. Jill Conrad says:

    This is a good point that I find often in case studies that get written abroad. Sometimes I find too much narrative while others not enough. It’s a challenge to find that balance.

  2. Karen Marley says:

    Thank you Casey,
    Is it possible to access the case study you’re referring to? Your input is always right on target and I’d love to study the example.

  3. Not to take the attention off your comments – which are spot on, but what a great photo!

  4. Yes Steve, she’s sad about the bad case study!

  5. Jill, that’s true. You have to ask yourself whether the information will contribute to the reader’s understanding or not.
    Karen, unfortunately I can’t share the actual case study, but I might remove all identifying info in it and do a teleclass around it in the future.