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5 Reasons Why Case Studies are Your Most Effective Content During Times of Crisis

by | Nov 11, 2020 | Case Studies, Content Marketing | 0 comments

5 reasons why case studies are your most effective content during times of crisis

The global economic crisis caused by this year’s COVID-19 pandemic has affected companies and workers in all sectors.

Workers with less money to spend are more hesitant about spending it. The same is true of businesses. But just like workers need to be paid, businesses need revenue if they’re going to pay their bills. For that, businesses need people and other businesses to spend and to buy from them.

When businesses are hesitant to spend, it’s more important than ever that you stand out from your competition. You must engage your prospects more effectively. You need to provide more proof that purchasing from you will be worthwhile.

That’s why I believe case studies will be your most effective content for as long as this crisis lasts. I’ll give you five reasons why.

1.  Case studies tell a compelling story

James Warren is the founder and CEO of Share More Stories, a storytelling insights company. He’s also the senior director of brand strategy for JMI, a Richmond-based marketing firm. He offers three reasons why he believes storytelling is the best way for marketers to engage customers. [i]

First, storytelling is a fundamental human experience that unites people and drives stronger, deeper connections. Storytelling enables marketers to develop a deeper connection with the audience.

Second, storytelling is a powerful method for learning. We learn from observations, first-hand experiences, and by sharing those experiences through stories. Case studies and other stories help prospects better understand and retain your message.

Third, storytelling helps you engage consumers in a fragmented media world. Prospects aren’t just looking for different experiences, but different delivery. Storytelling gives your prospects a totally different entry to your brand.

Case studies are tailor-made for storytelling, because, well… they’re stories. They’re business success stories that walk readers through a business situation they can easily relate to.

Case studies are great for leaning because they’re detailed and memorable. They help prospects understand your approach to solving a problem. They provide the type of information prospects are looking for in a very tangible, credible way.

Finally, case studies are highly engaging. People are naturally predisposed to engagement with stories. It’s a form they’ve been familiar with since childhood. After all, who doesn’t love a good story?

2.  Case studies focus on your prospect, not your product or company

Most marketing focuses on messages that are either product-centric or company-centric. Unfortunately, all your competitors are making similar claims. Your prospects are inundated by a relentless barrage of such messages. It’s difficult for anyone to stand out in the crowd.

In contrast, a case study is focused on a single customer, a problem they had, how they solved it, and the results and benefits they achieved. That customer is quite like your target reader for the piece, so your case study will directly address your prospects’ needs, fears and desires.

Case studies answer what is probably your prospect’s most urgent question, especially in times of crisis: What’s in it for me?

3.  Case studies ooze credibility

In times of crisis, people are naturally risk-averse. They want reassurance things will eventually turn out all right. They’re more cautious, more skeptical.

Businesses are no different. They still need to accomplish goals. They still need to remain innovative and competitive. They still need to make strategic purchases to remain competitive and accomplish their goals.

But right now, business buyers want greater peace of mind. They want to see clearly how your solution will benefit them. They want to know what kind of ROI they can expect. They want assurance they aren’t taking on unnecessary risk.

Case studies are ideal for providing that kind of reassurance because in a case study, you’re not just making claims of effectiveness, benefits, and ROI. You’re showing your prospects how real customers—people just like themselves—got real, verifiable results.

Case studies document customer praise for your solution and your support. They provide third-party verification of your claims. That’s why they consistently rank among the most influential types of marketing content in industry surveys.

4.  Case studies document real results and ROI

Business decision makers want proof before they authorize a purchase. That’s true at the best of times, but even more so in times of crisis.

As mentioned earlier, during a crisis, business buyers are more risk-averse. They want hard data on improvements they can expect in efficiency, total cost of ownership, and ROI. And they want that data verified.

When it comes to verified data, case studies fit the bill perfectly. That’s assuming, of course, that your customer has collected that kind of data. (See the first two of these 7 Tips for Building a Perfect Case Study).

If they have, not only do you have the hard data just mentioned. You also have third-party verification of that data. You have recorded testimony from a customer—who’s just like your prospect—that they did indeed achieve the results being proclaimed.

Plus, by documenting proof of your customers’ success with a case study, you also greatly reduce the need to ask existing customers to take reference calls from prospective buyers.

5.  Case studies show prospects how they can be heroes

Every good story needs a hero. In fact, most stories follow a basic template called “the hero’s journey,” famously described by Joseph Campbell in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. In the hero’s journey—also called “the monomyth”—a hero goes on an adventure, is victorious in a decisive crisis, and comes home changed or transformed.

That’s exactly what happens in a case study. Your customer embarks on a quest to solve a problem. With your company’s mentoring, she uses your product or service to overcome her obstacles and achieve the goals and results she was hoping for. At the end, she is transformed, having become more productive, more efficient and more effective.

Also, case studies encourage your prospects to walk in the shoes of your customer, playing the role of hero for their own company. They can see themselves achieving similar result for their company, saving the day, achieving their own “happily ever after.”

A good case study will also demonstrate empathy toward your customer, because your company is right there in the story, helping the customer along their journey. Prospects experience that empathy as they read. They see how you understand their world and what they’re going through. How you think like they do. How you help them identify and solve problems and how you find ways to make their lives better.

Case studies put the customer first. When prospects sense empathy from you, it’s easier for you to engage with them and build their trust.

An added bonus

What’s more, case studies make both your customers and your employees feel proud.

They provide your customer with testimony of a job well done, justification for the purchase they made, and documentation of an improvement to their company’s bottom line. The latter could lead to better pay and faster career advancement for the customer involved.

Finally, by sharing case studies with your own workers, you boost employee morale. You give recognition to individuals involved in customer successes. And just like customers, your employees also may benefit from a mention in a case study when year-end performance evaluations roll around.

Case studies make everyone feel like heroes. And that can help keep people motivated during a crisis.

Takeaway Points

In times of crisis, when businesses as well as individuals are highly risk averse and hesitant to spend, case studies are likely to be your most effective marketing content.

Here are five reasons:

  1. Case studies tell a compelling story.
  2. They focus on your prospect, not your product or company.
  3. They ooze credibility since they provide verified, third-party proof.
  4. They demonstrate and document real results, benefits, and ROI.
  5. They show your prospects how they can be heroes, like the customer in your story.

Next steps

Can you think of other reasons why case studies are highly effective in a crisis? Please share them in the comments area below.

Need help crafting an effective customer success story that will give prospects the proof and confidence they need to move forward? Contact CopyEngineer at

[i] Whitler, Kimberley, 3 Reasons Why Storytelling Should Be A Priority for Marketers, Forbes Magazine, July 2018.

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