What Smart Companies Know About Creating a Case Study That Actually Works

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When is the last time you read a case study that blew your socks off? Just really made you think, “huh, that was really compelling.” Better yet, actually read one that was longer than a couple of paragraphs.

Nope, didn’t happen because you live in the modern age where everything needs to be short, to the point and – most important – compelling and relevant to you.

And why are we talking about case studies, anyway? Well, because people still want to hear about the experiences of others who have faced – and resolved – the same situation they are now grappling with.

Many companies struggle with case studies. Sometimes, that’s because their customers say ‘no’ to a case study (which every company faces regardless of size, but that’s an entirely different problem…one that we excel at overcoming, BTW). Other times, it’s that their case studies are the equivalent of eating dirty, dusty cardboard (take a second to simply imagine that) – not very palatable.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way. We’re going to share our approach to case studies that will change your case-study life. The secret ingredient? Approaching the case study as you might a new customer – understand yourself and how you do what you do, understand the deeper customer problem, articulate in simple and jargon-free terms how you resolved their problem, most of all, focus on the business outcomes.

While there is a basic framework (company overview, problem, solution, outcome, etc.) we find that much of the useful and meaty information is gleaned from prodding and investigating business-related details. Take note of this final point: we find that really good case studies are typically developed by those with business experience versus someone who is more of a writer or PR background.

So, where to start?

Start with this: Tell me about your company – what do you do, how are you organized, what are your values, what makes you successful?

Then, tell me about your business/product –

  • What is your value proposition?
  • What problem do you solve?
  • Why do customers love you?
  • What are the key attributes?
  • How are you different than competitors?
  • Why do you win?
  • What is the implementation process?
  • What does support look like?
  • How do you track and report results?

Now, tell me about your customer’s business (the focus of this case study)

  • What do they do? Where are they located? What makes them special?
  • What is important to them?
  • What was their challenge?
  • How did the challenge impact their business?
  • What would have happened if they didn’t resolve?
  • What was the upside and benefit for them to resolve?
  • What did success look like?

How did you resolve the problem?

  • How did you know how to help them? What was the process you went through for diagnosis and recommendation?
  • Who did you involve on your team?
  • What did they need? Who needed it? Why? Where did they need it? When did they need it?
  • What were the factors driving the decision? Who was involved in the decision?
  • What did you do for them?
  • How did you develop or create it?
  • How did you deliver or implement it? How long did it take? What was special about this?
  • Was this easy or difficult? Was this out-of-the-box or customized?
  • What kind of support did they need?
  • What challenges did they have?
  • How long did it take to resolve issues?


  • What were the benefits/outcomes?
  • How long before they started to see results?
  • How did you measure results?
  • How did you report results?
  • What was the quantifiable business impact?
  • What were the numbers?
  • What were the intangible business benefits?
  • How did these results compare to others? How did they benchmark?
  • How did this make their business better/stronger?


  • Quote from senior person on client-side (decision maker)