It’s become a cliche in marketing to say that a case study is supposed to be more about about your user, not about you. Still, reading a lot of case studies will convince you that a relatively few vendors have gotten this message.
Case studies are valuable selling tools because buyers rely on them in the purchasing process, specifically in the discovery phase of research. What do they look for? They want to know how people like them solved problems like the ones they want to solve. They want to read about those people and those problems much more than read praises for any particular solutions.
Here’s a suggestion to keep your case studies honest. Review some recent samples and screen them for mentions of your company name vs. how many times the customer or user’s name was cited. Just do a simple “Search in Document” if you’re using Word, for example. Our own experience suggests that your user’s name should appear at least 50% more than yours. If your name is cited 10 times, for example, the name of the user in the case should come up 15 times. If you show up 20 times in the case, your customer should be referenced 30, and so on. This rule-of-thumb does two things: it forces the writer to focus on the main character of the story, namely, the user. This, in turn, makes the case study spotlight the benefits to the user in the eyes of the reader. It also makes for far more compelling reading.
How do your cases measure up? How do you ensure that they are less about your solution and more about the problem you solved and the benefits you delivered?