How To Write a Case Study: Definition, Tips and Example
A case study proposes, examines and resolves a problem, and many companies use case studies as evidence to demonstrate the value of a product or service. Case studies are common in industries like health care to help doctors provide better care. However, marketers and business professionals use them to increase organizational effectiveness and strategic marketing across many industries.
In this article, we define case studies, discuss the benefits of using them, explain how to write a case study and offer tips and an example to reference when creating your own.
What is a case study?
A case study is a document that focuses on a business problem and provides a clear solution. Marketers use case studies to tell a story about a customer's journey or how a product or service solves a specific issue.
Case studies can be used in all levels of business and in many industries. A thorough case study often uses metrics, such as key performance indicators, to show growth and success that supports the product or service. This strategic use of data makes case studies more effective in marketing and other areas than other commonly-used techniques.
The goal of a case study is to encourage the evaluation of a business problem and for customers to begin to rely on a company, product or service to provide the solution. Some organizations use case studies internally to promote effectiveness within an organization. However, in marketing, case studies demonstrate how a product or service can enhance a customer's life or solve a problem that a client encounters.
Benefits of writing a case study
There are several benefits to writing a case study for marketing purposes. It's important to remember that the goals of this document are to provide evidence about the quality of a product or service and showcase stories that influence clients. Here are a few benefits of using case studies:
Increased customer loyalty: By writing case studies with narratives that showcase a customer's journey, your audience may feel loyalty towards your brand or company, since they might relate to the story told in the study.
Attracting more clients: You can use case studies as a way to show potential clients that your product, service or company is effective at what it does.
Repurposed content: When you write a case study, you can often repurpose content from the document to use in other mediums, like social media, maximizing the reach of the case study.
Positive reputation: Writing a case study is a useful way to develop your company's reputation among your target audience since you can highlight areas where the company is most effective.
How to write a case study
If you decide to implement this approach in your marketing efforts, consider following these steps to write a case study:
1. Prepare the case
To begin preparing your case study, start observing data and metrics. You can also take notes and highlight important information, facts, values or other details about a client's journey that help you create a narrative. Before you begin writing, it's also important to obtain consent from the client to use their journey in this document.
2. Create goals
When preparing, you can create goals to help define the project. These goals can help you narrow down which client experience to use for the narrative. For example, if you want to increase your client base, you might use a story about how you successfully met a due date for a client despite internal challenges that delayed production.
3. Define your angle
After gathering important information, you can decide what angle to take when writing the case study. When you have a compelling narrative, your audience may be more receptive to the story. An important part of structuring a case study is to emphasize your focus. Consider doing this by identifying the key problem the client faced, so you can clearly lead the narrative toward a solution.
You might identify multiple issues to focus on in the case study. Once you know what issues to address, you can determine the sources of these issues. Identifying these various elements of the narrative help you determine which angle to take when writing.
4. Write the narrative
With the information you've collected, you can begin to write the narrative. During this phase, try to implement creative thinking. Think about a customer journey that's relatable to your wider audience but also interesting.
Use the problem you've synthesized from company information as an issue that a customer or client encounters and detail how your company helped them respond to the problem. Here's an outline you might use when writing:
Title: The title provides a brief insight into what the case study is about.
Blurb: Under the title, you might include a short blurb that briefly summarizes the case study, or shares more information.
Introduction: In an introduction, you can introduce the client and plan the setting for the narrative to take place.
Problem: Then, state the problem the client experienced, including the consequences of this problem, or how the client responded initially.
Solution: Next, describe how you addressed the client's problem and provided a useful solution.
Conclusion: At the end, you can share the results of your company's solution, including testimony from the client themselves.
Read more: The Writing Process: Over 45 Tips on Writing
5. Include details
When you write the case study, it's beneficial to use established data, key performance indicators and other metrics. These details demonstrate how your product, service or arrangement contributed to solving the problem.
In this phase, the data helps detail the solution and shows what results potential clients can expect. Including details provides additional evidence that the story is valid and reflects a client's lived experience.
6. Publish and promote the document
After you've written and edited the case study, it's time to publish and promote it to your target audience. If you have a website, you might publish it there. Additionally, you could email it to potential clients to pique their interest in your company.
As a digital marketing tool, you might use quotes from the case study in a social media post to share with your current audience. There are many ways to use the case study, but it's important to consider your target audience and promote it accordingly.
Tips for writing a successful case study
Consider implementing these additional tips when you write a case study:
Develop a clear format. As you write more case studies, it's helpful to have a clear format to follow to help you produce them more efficiently.
Know your audience. To select the best solution, you must know your audience. Understanding who you plan to send the case study to is critical to format it correctly.
Make relatable content. Write about a scenario and person who is relatable to your average client. This helps you create a winning case study customers identify with and understand.
Case study example
While case studies take many forms depending on how you want to use them, you might benefit from referencing an example. Here's an example of a case study that uses metrics and details to craft a narrative:
Agile Software Co. helped Morgan Enterprises, a Fortune 500 company, increase revenue by 20% with custom software design. Morgan Enterprises was struggling to scale its enormous growth in the face of digital transformation, and a software solution by Agile Software Co. was able to help them scale up effectively.
"We are growing leaps and bounds and investing in a lot of new technology to help us scale. We realized we needed to pull all of the hardware and software we use in daily operations together with a piece of proprietary platform software, so we reached out to Agile Software Co." - Derek Morgan, CEO, Morgan Enterprises.
After hearing from our client, we took time to address the concerns in a useful, effective manner. Keep reading to see how we addressed the challenges facing Morgan Enterprises in the evolving digital age.
The issues Morgan Enterprises experienced were not uncommon for large businesses trying to go fully digital. They often wind up with so many micro services and SaaS products that users have to manage several passwords and go to several different places to get and share data. This was creating problems for users, which affected our client's ability to scale up their services. For this reason, Agile Software Co. decided to pursue a single software solution that would tie the infrastructure together.
Agile Software Co. developed a platform software program that offered users access to all related office technology, making it easier for a remote workforce to have access to everything they need for success. The product recommended was a custom development of a user portal that connected all resources in one branded space. After implementing this solution, Morgan Enterprises found it brought all teams together with better communication and 24/7 access to resources. This allowed Morgan Enterprises to complete digital transformation, which resulted in a 20% increase in revenue after one year.
Developing a user portal for the direct needs of Morgan Enterprise allowed them to scale up with new resources. Not only did it connect the company with its internal teams, but it accelerated the digital transformation of the company. Agile Software Co. remains dedicated to providing unique and effective solutions for all our clients.
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