Making the Case for
Doing a Case Study with Your Clients

A Case Study is an important marketing and sales asset to highlights how your company helps your customers. They also give you the opportunity to take a deep dive into the challenges your potential customers might face and explore the innovative ways you solve them.

Creating a case study that highlights the great results your product or service has achieved for a client presents an unparalleled opportunity. However, convincing your client to participate in your case study may require a concerted marketing effort in its own right.

Companies can be reluctant to allow their employees to be quoted or featured in a case study. Most of these concerns can be overcome by altering the ask and shifting the focus to the client. Instead of asking a customer if they will talk about you how your company helped them, ask for permission to highlight their recent achievement.

CaseLeap offers this 4-step plan for getting to “yes”:

1. Make Your Client the Center of Attention

Golden throne with red upholstery on a red carpet against a dark gray wall

You know you knocked it out of the park with this client. Your client knows it too, but they will be more willing to discuss the project in your case study if they are the ones standing in the spotlight. Don’t worry, your CaseLeap team will make sure you and your brilliant product/service are the focal points. To secure your customer approval, frame the case study as an examination of their success, rather than merely them telling people how you and your cavalry rode in on white stallions to save them from certain failure.

Taking a page from Donald Miller’s StoryBrand methodology, you want to cast the customer as King Arthur or the Lone Ranger while you and your team assume the role of Merlin and Tonto.

2. Accentuate the Benefits

Group meeting with two people discussing charts on a laptop and a notebook

Face it, creating a case study takes time and effort. Your clients hired you or bought your product. They paid you a fair price, but they don’t owe you anything more. They want and deserve to get something out of helping you.

Give it to them. And let them know they’re getting it.

Pitch the video or collateral piece as a marketing opportunity for the client – and then follow through. There's no reason you can't share the limelight. Explain that thousands of people will see their logo and learn about their company. If you’re producing a case study video, offer to them a short video as a thank you for participating in the project. Pattern your case study after that great song from Book of Mormon: Make it about you and then them (but mostly you). After all, you're the one footing the bill.

3. Anticipate and Overcome Objections

A wooden stage being lit in the dark by stage lights mounted above

Clients may have legitimate reasons for being hesitant about appearing in your case study, especially if it’s a video. Just because they’re legitimate, however, doesn’t mean they can’t be knocked down. In our experience, most case study stage fright is rooted in the belief that your case study may:

Alert the Competition:
If your service has given the company a competitive advantage, they may be leery of letting their competitors know. Combat this objection by assuring your client that the case study will address their winning process only in general terms.

Make Them Look Silly:
They may think the case study will make it appear that they needed you to rescue them from poor decision-making.  Reassure them that they will be the focus of the story and will have the ability to approve the script before production.

Require Too Many Resources:
Clients cannot afford to give you access to their people for days on end. You can establish the timeline for short interviews and shooting times with hard deadlines so the client can get back to business as usual.

4. Give Clients a Voice

Orange megaphone wall mounted to a a plain orange wall

Your clients may not be especially keen on being the subject of your case study; what they really want to do is direct (or edit).  While you don’t want to give up creative control, you can agree to work with them to get their buy-in and put some skin in the game. You could let them sit in during meetings with your case study team so their notes can be incorporated into the copy.

It pays to set some ground rules here. You’re bankrolling the project, so you decide the tone, content, and approach your case study will take. The case study team you hire should be trusted to execute your vision. The end customer can have input, offer suggestions, and veto any results or details they don’t want to be shared publically. But they should know this is your case study project, not their sales brochure or sizzle reel.

woman jumping in front of a yellow wall with outstretched hands and legs holding a brown umbrella

Convincing clients to participate in a case study can be difficult, but you can increase your chances of getting their buy-in by presenting it as a reward for their business. This is more easily accomplished by broaching the subject early in the business relationship. You could include a marketing clause in your initial contract agreeing that if you later decide to feature them in a case study you will take pains to alleviate the potential objections outlined in Step 3 above. Treat a potential case study as an extra perk they may earn through openness and cooperation.

CaseLeap Can Help

CaseLeap’s experienced team of interviewers, writers, designers, videographers, and editors has developed hundreds of digital and video case studies covering a range of industries, products, and services. Our case studies drive marketing campaigns, progress deals, and deliver impressive returns on investment. Contact us to learn how a case study can help your company take the next leap forward.