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elements of a great case study

Case studies are essential to inbound marketing, especially for B2B firms.

A case story is like a detective story. You have to keep readers hooked as the plot develops and then wow them with a solution.

This being said, a good case study is more than just a description with information arranged in a logical way. The content must be presented in a way that the reader actually ‘experiences’ the scenario presented in the case, understands the challenges, and identifies with the conclusions.

The specific format of a case study varies greatly depending on the subject in focus.

However,  the following tips will help you bring together the right elements and create killer case studies for your inbound marketing program:

Background information

The first section of your case study should always provide a background of your client and their macro situation/ This will help your readers understand the challenges they (and you) faced.

You should include a bit in the background section about how the case is relevant to specific businesses/verticals.

In addition to a short blurb on relevance of the case study, the background section should address these questions:

• The customer’s goal – is it to improve performance, increase ROI, or reduce downtime?

• What, if any, alternative route the customer explored before approaching you?

• The market forces that influenced how you approached the challenge. For instance, was there a compelling product or service being offered by a competitor?

Why the client chose you?

This section gives you the chance to market your skill set and capabilities. You can highlight the following:

• What made you the perfect fit for the assignment?

• How you aligned specific capabilities with the project brief?

• What benchmarks did the client use to evaluate you during the selection process?

• Was this a first-time project or repeat business?

Use this section to highlight your Unique Selling Points (USPs). While price may have swung the deal in your favor, avoid focusing on this factor in the case study. Your competition may be able to lower the price, but it is your unique capabilities they will find difficult to match.

Your approach

List here the steps you took to identify and solve the customer’s challenge. Use this space to demonstrate your USPs, agility, power to think out of the box, and finally, deliver concrete results within the timeline and budget. Here are some questions you can address.

• The capabilities and skills of the team that worked on the project.

• Any equipment that had to be sourced or additional personnel that had to be brought on

• Any collaboration with the customer or external teams to take the project to its logical

Impact of your solution

Use this section to enhance your credibility by effectively highlighting the innovative solution you
provided and the impact it had on your client’s business. Present a goal-to-outcome comparison that shows clearly what the customer needed and how your solution exceeded expectations. You can also showcase:

• The goals that were reached.

• Problems that arose along the way and how you resolved those challenges.

• How your solution impacted your client’s business – did it improve efficiencies or profit-
margins? Provide relevant measures like percentage increase in bottom line, reduced downtime or improved shelf line to support your statements.

Finally, if permitted, also include a quote from your customer as a stamp of approval and confirmation that you performed as claimed in the case study.

Good luck!

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