Are Your Case Studies Too Similar?

BY Holly Yoos
June 15, 2021

Are all of your case studies starting to sound the same?

If they are, you may wonder if maybe they’re getting a bit… heaven forbid… boring?

We sometimes bump into this question when we write multiple case studies for clients (which we almost always do). 

For example, we have one client for whom we’ve written 60+ case studies! How can anyone make all those case studies unique?

It might seem like a terrifying concern—but in reality, that’s the wrong way to think about it. 

When you consider how sales and marketing use case studies, you realize a bit of repetition or overlap isn’t a problem. In fact, it can often be a plus.

That’s not an excuse to skimp on the storytelling—but let’s dig in a little deeper:

Most leads will only read one or two case studies

Let’s start by dispelling the idea that your leads will sit down and read every single case study you have. 

That’s highly unlikely. 

Usually, leads read one (or maybe two) case studies that pertain specifically to their industry, pain points, desired outcomes, or needs. It’s all about relevance to the individual, or to that individual’s company. 

After that, they’ve usually seen enough and are ready to make a decision. 

They may scan the headlines or metrics of a handful of others, but the odds of them reading each and every study line by line are close to zero.

But here’s the GOOD news: if you have lots of repeated details in your case study (e.g. you’re a SaaS provider and the features almost never change) that is OK! 

You can even LEVERAGE the volume of case studies you have in a ‘nuclear deck’—a compendium of one-sheets that essentially exists to say, “Holy cow, they’ve got an enormous amount of proof that they can do what they promise!”

Imagine sending a prospect a deck with 60+ one-sheets, each with quotes, metrics, and desirable outcomes.

It’d be IMPOSSIBLE for them to argue whether or not you could deliver, and even more difficult for them to claim you were only cherry picking your best results.

How to make every case study count

While you may have some overlap in your case studies, you still want to make sure that every case study you have is valuable and serves a defined purpose

And you can do that in the following ways:

1. Focus on specific problems you solve 

You can probably solve a variety of problems with your product and service—and each of these problems warrants a case study or (more likely) several case studies. 

For example, one of our clients solves problems related to three main areas: data governance, cyber security, and compliance. Consequently, we’ve written different case studies for this client that focus on each area. And case studies that focus on one area don’t linger on the others. 

Different clients’ experience of those problems will occur in different ways, too—so while stories may be similar, they are rarely a carbon copy. There are often small insights that can be pulled from each one—different angles and circumstances that your leads can relate to.

2. Describe how you solve specific problems for different niches and industries 

In addition to having different case studies for different problems, customers also want to know that you’ve solved those problems in their industry or niche. 

So for our client that has 60+ case studies, for example, we’ve created case studies that focus on all the industries they serve, including financial services, healthcare, government, education, military, legal, and manufacturing.

There’s safety for prospects in knowing that you’ve solved problems in the context of their niche before.

3. Describe how you solve specific problems for different roles

Different roles within an organization have different questions and priorities. They’re also held to different outcomes, and are responsible for driving different KPIs. So you can also create different case studies that are targeted to different roles. 

CEOs, for example, want to know about the savings and revenue they can get with your product or service. 

More technical staff, such as analysts or engineers, may want specific specs or details on the more granular issues they care about. 

In short, different audiences demand a different focus. And the more your story sounds like your prospective client—and hits on their needs and interests—the better.

The more your story sounds like your prospective client—and hits on their needs and interests—the better.

4. Get even more granular 

You can get even more granular in how you parse and position your case studies. 

For example, if you’re in the world of data privacy and compliance, you can write:

  • Case studies about GDPR regulations for customers operating in the UK 
  • Case studies about CCPA for customers operating in California
  • Case studies about Australia’s Privacy Act for customers operating in Australia. 

If you operate in the world of cybersecurity, you can write case studies about different threats, such as specific strains of ransomware. And if you’re not, there’s a parallel for virtually any niche you find yourself in.

The solution for all of these case studies will be similar, but the challenges and potential risks will be different—and will resonate with different audiences.

5. Include personal stories 

If you’re still concerned that your storytelling is getting a bit repetitive, lean into the personal stories of the people involved—which are inherently unique in some way.

Getting their personal take on what they were facing, how things played out, and how they felt when a solution was put in place can add a lot of color, personality and suspense to your case studies. 

The quotes you use in your case study are particularly important here and can help bring things to life. 

These personal stories and details are always unique and can help each case study make an impression. 

The more case studies you have, the more ammunition in your sales and marketing arsenal.

So yes, your case studies might start to seem a little repetitive on the surface. 

But as we’ve seen, you have as many stories to tell as you have customers, and they have problems. 

You have as many stories to tell as you have customers, and they have problems

So as long as each case study is serving a particular purpose, having some overlap or repetition among them is not a problem.

In fact, it’s a sign you’re arming your sales and marketing teams with targeted assets they can use to convert.

Plus, there’s real power in showing that you’ve solved this problem not just once but TONS of times—which, in turn, has a multiplier effect on your credibility and relatability. 

Ready to make every case study count?

Contact us to start the conversation. 

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