A Sriracha bottle on a hero's journey
15. June 2021 - John Heaven

Why case studies are important for your B2B business

A compelling case study combines facts and experiences into a story. It is a vital trust-building asset for your company. What do yours say about you?

When was the last time you purchased something online without at least reading some customer reviews? That would be brave. Case studies are the B2B version of online reviews. What do yours say about you and your customers? A compelling case study combines facts, numbers, and experiences into a story. It is a vital trust-building asset for your company.

Why case studies?

We all seem to trust other people’s opinions and experiences. 

According to research:

Case studies are to your B2B business what reviews and ratings are to B2C companies. They provide evidence of the great work you have done. Your happy, successful clients are your influencers, adding social proof to get prospects excited about your products and services. These references help you win over more clients and build trust before they even contact you.

The secret sauce: facts tell, but stories sell

Like a resume, solid case studies should highlight key facts and figures such as percentages of process improved, revenue gained, or costs saved. These are success metrics that carry a great deal of weight. But numbers alone don’t convert. Some customers can’t or won’t share important numbers because they are confidential … or because there was no tracking in place, and they don’t know.

All is not lost! There are still ways to produce compelling case studies. Feelings matter. Stories connect.

Quite often, your customers choose you not only because you are the best at what you do, or because your product is the best in the market. It’s because they feel more connected to you, more so than with your competitors. 

What creates this connection? Part of the “secret sauce” is storytelling. Humans are empathetic animals. We love stories, and we love putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes and reliving their experiences. Stories allow us to share information and forge emotional bonds with one another at the same time. 

“The Hero’s Journey” is an ancient, storytelling template, common across cultures:

  1. A hero goes on an adventure, 
  2. overcomes a decisive crisis,
  3. and comes home transformed. 

A case study isn’t all that different: 

  1. A company faces a challenge, finds you,
  2. overcomes that challenge, thanks to your product or service,
  3. and has successfully changed (facts and figures about what is now different go here!) than before.

Secret sauce ingredient no. 2 is the tricky part: Your customer is the hero, not you.

It’s your customer’s journey, not yours

Case studies typically illustrate a problem or challenge faced by the featured client. Potential customers facing similar issues can recognize themselves in your hero and identify with them. When they see how you helped your client succeed, they can project themselves into a thriving, transformed future—with your help.

Highlight and celebrate your customer’s success. Yes, you played a part in it, but they are the star of the show.

It’s always tempting to launch into selling mode to show how amazing your business solutions are, but that can also lose the audience. Use the opportunity to connect with your future clients and show them you understand their situation. No hard sell! Remember, your customers are your influencers and ambassadors. Show the readers why the hero turned to you when faced with their business challenge. And why they trusted you and your solutions. 

A laundry list of products, services, and what you did is not a journey. Tell the reader why you proposed this particular solution, why this product helped, and why you did things the way you did for the client. Showcase the hero’s return (success, change, transformation), then how you came up with the solution and how that helped.

OSP Logo

Highlight and celebrate your customer’s success. Yes, you played a part in it, but they are the star of the show.

– Your friends at OSP

Success stories inspire and connect

Now, you’ve transformed some dry information—your technical approach, implementation details, the facts and figures—into a story. From safety to challenge and adventure, and back to an even better result—inspire future customers! 

By highlighting your hero instead of featuring yourself, your potential customers can better imagine themselves starring in your next story. At the same time, they see your approach to solving problems and your principles in operation. That wins people over way more than just a technical track record.

You’ve learned the secret sauce but don’t have time to cook the meal?

Let us help you. Find out more about our case study service and examples!

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Image Credits: Secret sauce bottle on a hero's journey by Jeffrey A. McGuire and our robot overlords, Boy with Glasses by Douglas Metcalf

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