Companies (and their agencies) love sharing case studies. They can be great PR for your business, but they typically aren’t the best way for your brain to learn.
Let’s be honest: Case studies are shared to promote the company and sometimes its agency or partners. They aren’t positioned as learning tools, they are positioned as promotional tools. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if a company has done good work and wants to toot its own horn, they should feel fine doing so.
I’m currently looking for a job, most specifically, a Content Marketing Manager or similar position (if you’re hiring, here’s my information). In talking to B2B companies and agencies, one of the most common needs I am hearing from companies hiring for this position is “We are looking for someone that can help share our client success stories in order to grow our business”. For B2B companies and agencies, this sharing of case studies makes perfect sense, because it’s proof of concept.
But often, these case studies aren’t positioned in a way that encourages learning. Too often, case studies are shared, results are given, and takeaways provided. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best way to teach your brain the core concepts that drove success for the case study. It helps the reader understand the case study, but it doesn’t help the reader understand how to apply the same core concepts to its own business.
Let’s say that your business sells productivity software. If you share a case study from how your software helped a big-box chain retailer, the reader is going to understand how your software helps in that particular situation. What you need to do is also share hypothetical or abstract examples that would be more relevant to your targeted audience. For example, if you want to attract more software clients from the manufacturing industry, you could share your case study from the big-box retailer, but add to it a hypothetical example or two from the manufacturing industry. Give an example of how a potential client in this space could use your software in the same way as the big-box retailer did. The added relevance will help the potential client in the manufacturing industry understand how your software could help THEM.
By offering both case studies and hypothetical examples, you make it easier for the brain to both spot and learn the core concepts. If you only offer the case study, then the brain will learn why the case study worked, but it won’t fully grasp the core concepts, because you are only sharing them in one environment (the case study). But when you offer the case study AND hypothetical examples, it becomes much easier for the brain to detect (and learn!) the core concept that flows through both the case study and your examples.
The best part? When you marry a great case study with relevant examples that facilitate learning, then you drive more engagement and more interest in your business. It becomes far easier to see the benefits of working with your business, which also drives more leads.
So if your business wants to make better use of its client case studies, focus on adding relevant hypothetical examples that facilitate learning of the core concepts. This helps the reader understand why they should work with you and will greatly improve the efficiency of your content marketing efforts.
Or you can just hire me to do it for you!