Philiph Kotler once said, “Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value”.
This statement couldn’t be truer especially in the B2B space where over 88% of companies only buy from trusted sellers. And which better way for a company to win the trust of its prospects than when clients share the firm's success stories? Case studies give companies a unique opportunity to showcase a verifiable portfolio. It’s no surprise that they are popular, and over 73% of B2B marketers use them. But are all B2B case studies the same? Definitely not.
There are case studies that convert leads into sales. And others that won’t even move the needle. Most case studies still follow the traditional problem-solution approach, and that’s not a problem. But, it’s a loss if static, styleless designs accompany these conventional approaches. Today's consumer prefers visual and interactive texts. Therefore, it would be a great idea to discover proven ways to revamp your case studies.
In this article, we’ll review seven innovative B2B case studies that your business can use as inspiration for its next case study project. We’ll also point out what makes them unique and key takeaways from each case study. Read on to discover more.
First, What is a B2B Case Study?
In B2B marketing, a case study provides an in-depth analysis of a company or a company’s project that identifies a business need and recommends a suitable solution. It provides practical steps to implementing these recommendations. Solid case studies also include factors that contribute to the success or failure of the project.
What Makes Up A Winning Case Study?
While a B2B case study is a great marketing tool for businesses, it's not the place to talk about your company and product features. Customers can always learn about your business and its products from your website.
In a case study, the customer wants to know why they should choose you and not the competitor. They’ve most likely done their research and are about to decide. They are interested in content that can convince them that your offering meets their needs.
That’s why you share your customer stories in a B2B case study. The customers sharing these stories must be real and verifiable. An effective case study shows the audience how customers moved from one point A to B thanks to a business’s product. So, make the story revolve around a challenge, the discovery of a solution, fixing the problem, and lessons learned.
The story needs to include the company name and be told by an authority in the organization. This increases credibility. Besides, consumers associate a key face in an organization with its products or business.
You must present a neat, easy-to-read, and straight-to-the-point case. Include compelling statistics and quotes from the client. And don’t forget what you are selling. Include a well throughout "call to action" that guides the customer or reader to the next desired action.
7 Innovative Case Studies to Borrow A leaf From
Now that we know what to include in B2B case studies, here are innovative examples to get you started.
In the title of this study, Hubspot uses numbers to show the benefits of using their platform. This not only grabs the audience’s attention but also gives the main message right from the start. It’s also noteworthy how Hubspot uses design (a shaded box overview) in presenting this case study to catch the attention of readers. They also include screenshots when sharing product use cases and key takeaways. These create emphasis whilst adding to the visual appeal of the case study.
Image Source: Hubspot - Case Study on Prosper
Sprinklr is a leading provider of B2B customer experience solutions to companies in over 20 countries around the world. It is no surprise that when it comes to marketing its services, the company adopts the best practices to remain relevant to ever-changing customer needs.
This they show clearly in their case study on how Sprinklr helped Groupon to manage conversations with millions of fans in 48 countries. The company repurposed the original case study into a shareable document complete with infographics and posted it on SlideShare for easy distribution.
Two years later, Sprinklr revamped the same case study into a sleeker and more appealing design with a modern font and fewer words. With this two-time approach, Sprinklr shows that you can always make your old B2B case studies relevant to your current audience. Your case study is a timeless asset. This means, no amount of research or any other investment is wasted in a case study. The information you gather will still be useful in the future. You just need to reimagine your content presentation and be ready to modify it to match your current needs.
Image Source: Sprinklr - Groupon Case Study 2016
As we said earlier, stories are easy to remember, especially if they are in video format. Sprinklr used the power of video content to demonstrate how they helped the U.S. Census Bureau to prevent misinformation during the 2020 census. As a marketer, it’s always important to consider the best way of presenting the information at hand.
For instance, the bureau used an AI-powered universal chatbot to centrally manage engagement with millions of Americans across all social media platforms. In the case study video, Zack Schwartz, Trust and Safety Lead from the bureau tells the story from his perspective allowing the viewer to connect with him emotionally. It also captures the work environment during the census to help the viewer better understand the challenges the bureau was facing.
You see - these aspects cannot be captured vividly on the text and that made video the best mode of presentation for this case study.
The tech giant is no small feat when it comes to sharing customer stories. But with this case study, Google combines outstanding multimedia and data to create a lustrous marketing asset. First off, note the placement of the video and data. They appear at the top, increasing visibility and showing the reader the positive impact at a first glance. The 42-second video is also the perfect length for online viewers with their familiar short attention spans. Again, it’s all about seizing the opportunity to create interest in your audience and pass the main message even if they choose to dismiss the rest of your content.
Image Source: Think with Google
One way of breathing life into textual B2B case studies is through animation. This innovative approach is captivating to the audience and makes the case studies more memorable. Kantar, a renowned consulting firm in the world, shows us a practical example of how B2B marketers can turn a text case study into an engaging and fun-to-watch video. The beauty of this approach is that there are lots of advanced tools that you can use to animate your customer stories and make them more noticeable. All you need is to summarize your case study into a nice story and get an expert to do the voice-over. Alternatively, you can get an AI-powered text-to-speech generator to make the work easier and more affordable.
SnapApp is an awesome SaaS platform that allows B2B marketers to create marketing content hassle-free and connect with their clients. In their case studies, they chose to show what their application does best - create interactive content - to bring out outstanding case studies.
In these examples, SnapApp uses various features such as automatic zoom controls and tabulated menus to enable easy navigation through a case study. The company uses questions in strategic places within the study to assess the buyer’s interest. In their content, they also offer the reader an opportunity to make a decision. So with an interactive presentation and sales qualifying questions, this case study model has higher chances of generating quality leads.
Another ingenious way to present B2B case studies is through slide format as presented by Bitly. In this format, Bitly uses split slides which make it easy to amalgamate multiple sections of the case study into one slide. This approach reduces the number of slides in a case study and increases the chances of the audience reading through the document. This is important to you as a marketer since you don’t want to package your message in a way that no one reads through.
Image Source: Dropbox DocSend - Bitly Case Study
No matter which industry you operate in, case studies provide your business with an excellent opportunity to share its customer story with prospective clients. This way, your business can cultivate client confidence and trust. Trust is key in the B2B space and that’s why most companies buy from trusted firms.
It’s paramount for your business to be deliberate in B2B case study messaging. Focus on what may impress your customer and not on your marketing needs. Every case study should show your audience how your product can solve their problem.
The conventional presentation of case studies follows the structure of a report with several sections. While this approach is not necessarily bad, it pays to align your marketing strategy to consumer informational needs.
Don’t be afraid to invest the necessary resources to create an innovative case study. The information you gather for your case study is valuable. A capable marketing team can still repurpose the information to mini assets that support the case studies. Examples of such assets include quote cards, video clips, and email newsletters.
Present your case study in a format that appeals to them. Some effective ways to spice up your B2B case study include creating video animations and slide show presentations, adding images, and replacing large chunks of text with infographics.
Finally, keep the case studies fresh and relevant to your customer needs. Just like any other type of content, case studies get outdated. In such cases, you may need to re-do your content and align it to current client needs. Alternatively, create new case studies and share them strategically with your audience on online platforms such as SlideShare, and social media platforms.