When Are Case Studies Appropriate As a Marketing Tool?

Case studies are a hot marketing tool right now for companies involved in digital businesses. You see them being used to market SEO software, justify specific strategies as being superior to others, and even to convince clients that if they don’t keep up with the latest digital trend they will be left behind. However, are case studies always necessary? More importantly: are they always appropriate?

The answer to both questions is a simple and resounding ‘no’. No single marketing tool is necessary or appropriate a hundred per cent of the time. As with everything else, case studies have their proper place. Used correctly they can be a very effective marketing tool. Used incorrectly, they could cause more harm than good.

In our opinion, case studies are best used when they present a product, service, or strategy clients need to embrace because it has already proved successful. The proper and appropriate use of the case study is to provide compelling evidence in favour of specific service or strategy.

Examples of good case study uses would include:

  • using it as evidence to support an SEO strategy
  • documenting the success or failure of a software package
  • proving an SEO company’s ability to raise page ranking
  • documenting hardware benchmarking
  • documenting client success upon adopting a given product or strategy.

Successful Case Studies

To put cases studies in proper perspective we will use the example of the Ubuntu operating system. Ubuntu is an open source OS developed and distributed by Canonical Inc. The company used case studies some years ago to show how organisations abandoning their old operating systems in favour of Ubuntu saved money, increased security, and remained productive despite the switch.

The case studies served as a valuable tool for helping organisations understand they could switch to open source software without missing a beat. They also serve to boost awareness of the OS around the world. Ubuntu is now the world’s most-used Linux distribution.

When Case Studies Are Inappropriate

For every organisation that uses case studies successfully, there are dozens of others that do not. There are a couple of examples we would like to develop a bit further. The first example is what we refer to as creating ‘unrealistic expectations’.

When a company uses a case study to try to convince potential clients of the benefits of a given strategy, the tendency is to push the boundaries of the data as far as they can go. This creates unrealistic expectations among clients who, after not achieving such results themselves, may turn on the company or individual that sold them the strategy. In this regard, case studies are a lot like used car salesperson.

The second example goes even further by creating a ‘false reality’. Creating fake case studies without any real data to back them up is not only misleading, it is being disingenuous with potential and current clients. If any of those clients lied in return, it would not sit well with the perpetrator of the fraudulent case study. Yet what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

A good rule of thumb for determining whether a case study is necessary or not is to measure it against the other marketing tools currently being used. If the case study can accomplish things the other tools cannot, then by all means use it. If not, it may not be the wisest course of action at the current time. If a case study is used it should not paint a picture that doesn’t exist. It should be both factual and realistic.

Our Case Study Service

In order for case studies to be effective, they need to be properly constructed and well written. That’s where Connotations comes in. You provide us with the data and the premise you are trying to put forth, and we’ll put together a professional case study you can disseminate with confidence. Our case study writing service combines expert and talented writers with your knowledge. Contact us today if you think we can help you in this regard.

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