Making the case for case studies

It’s easy to brag on a job well done. It’s also smart business. When you’ve done something 1) right, 2) on time or ahead of schedule, 3) innovative, or 4) at or under budget, let the world know. But how? Consider using case studies.

134819433A well-designed case study has long-term benefits and is a more reasoned method of extolling your virtues. For example, a “We met our deadline!” post on Facebook or Twitter will get a few congratulatory replies, but it also will have some people wondering if this is somehow out of the norm for your outfit — not the message you want to send.

Case Studies Tell The Tale

A far better way to broadcast your accomplishments is via the “we came, we saw, we conquered” approach of the case study. Often overlooked because they can be dry as dust and just about as compelling, case studies done right showcase what you do — and how well you do it — to the audience of your choosing. They are the unsung heroes of a sensible marketing strategy.

Let’s say you’re an architectural firm, and you’ve just finished a major renovation for a local firm. Here’s how to spell out your genius:

  • Identify the client, and the problem (why they came to you).
  • Write a short, succinct summary of what you knew needed to happen (the end goal).
  • Include the unique challenges you found, so you’re seen as a front-line problem solver.
  • Detail – in just a few (as in, no more than five) steps – what you did to solve the problem. Include specifics, but don’t go overboard with details.
  • Give a snapshot of where the client is now, preferably with a quote or two from them about the overall fabulousness (yes, we know that’s not a word) of their new digs.

Build It — They Will Come

Now decide if you want to include art, video (if creating a digital as well as print version) or other elements to make your case. Remember, this is meant to be a short summary, not a white paper. The goal is to raise awareness of, and interest in, your services.

When you’ve got all this material together, you can produce it in several ways: some people like PowerPoint; others prefer a single-page print or PDF handout for distribution.

Doing good work should never go unnoticed. Having a few case studies on hand can not only highlight your work to existing clients; it can also allow you to strut your stuff for potential new ones in a way that’s clear, factual and compelling.