Why Don’t More B2B Marketers Use Case Studies

March 30, 2021

Category: B2B Strategy, Case Studies, Content Marketing


Establishing trust and credibility of prospective customers in the B2B market can be stiff, especially with the choices available to consumers today.   Before you can begin to earn their business, it is imperative that you demonstrate credibility and an ability to deliver on what you promise.

 

Furthermore, content marketing is more important now than ever in B2B marketing. People are not only interested in your product; they want to know who you and your company are.

 

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”
– Seth Godin, author “This Is Marketing”

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Writing a B2B case study is a great way to reach a wider customer base and show them your brand story.  But why aren’t more brands rushing out to complete them?

 

For starters, companies face many hurdles when deciding whether or not to implement case studies into their content marketing strategy.  In this article, we will discuss a few of the major hurdles and what you as a leader can do to eliminate them.

 

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Problem 1: B2B customers are hesitant to sign on for a case study or be mentioned by name

Companies are averse to sharing trade secrets, process improvements, etc. in fear of losing their competitive advantage.

 

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Solution: Create a clear outline of goals, objectives, expectations and a timeline of the process right away; at the same time, clearly highlighting all the potential benefits a case study provides.

 

Be sure to provide your clients with a clear case study format and objective. The clearer your objective and plans are, the more likely your client is to accept your case study offer.

 

Ensure your objectives are S.M.A.R.T – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound. When your objectives are S.M.A.R.T, you increase your chances for success by identifying the metrics that define success and creating a road map to achieve your goals.

 

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Interested in learning more about S.M.A.R.T goals and how to implement them? Click here to get more insights and resources from HubSpot.

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Smart Goals Chart
Source: Smart goals chart
 

Involve the client in every step of the process. They will feel more confident knowing what is going on when it comes to their company information.

 

Retain the client’s confidence by also explaining the potential benefits of a case study, including:

  • Brand Exposure
  • Employee Exposure
  • Company Recognition

 

According to a Hawkeye study, 71% of B2B buyers in the awareness stage and 77% in the evaluation stage cited testimonials and case studies as the most influential types of content.
(Source: Featured Customers)

 

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Problem 2: The company creating the case study is ill-prepared and does not have sufficient resources to create a case study properly.

 

Some companies may not have the time to create a case study. There may be more important projects at hand, potential sales leads are the main focus at that time, etc. In some cases, companies may have never created a case study. Or they lack the skill set necessary to create a good one.

 

Case studies also need a variety of analytical tools to determine any positive or negative outcome result from recent changes. Some companies may not have those tools available in order to create a proper case study.

 

Issues like these prevent companies from creating a case study that can ultimately improve their business prospects.

 

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Solution: Simplify the process by doing as much in-depth research as possible, utilizing available resources and aligning your assignments through the proper channels.

 

Timeline

Life can get in the way sometimes and if you have multiple projects that need your attention, things can get lost down the rabbit hole. It is best practice to be organized and devote designated time to researching and planning your case study.

 

By creating an internal timeline, you will be able to accelerate completing your case study before your deadline. If you have used this practice before, showing your current client your past timelines may help them feel more confident in your ability to create the case study for them.

 

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Action plan for your case study
 

Assign a Lead Writer

Due to the amount of information being used and the complexity of it all, assign the best person to write the case study: Your best writer.

 

Have your copywriter lead the project. They will be the best option when it comes to structuring and writing out all the information your team has found during your research process.

 

Your lead writer should interview your primary support personnel and gather all the necessary information concerning the problem and the solution your team was able to create.

 

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Outsource…if needed

If you still lack the human capital and resources to develop a case study, outsource your case study development to a vendor who is experienced in case studies and ask to see work samples. In some cases, it may be easier to introduce a freelancer to help with this type of task.

 

If you do choose to involve a freelancer, consider the following:

 

  • Set clear and direct expectations for how you want client interactions to be handled throughout the process.
  • Designate a liaison between the freelancer and the client that can facilitate clear communication between the two.

 

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Problem 3: The wrong department is tasked with organizing the case study

 

Oftentimes, companies assign the wrong department or individual to develop case studies when it is neither their expertise nor their skill set.  For example, your sales team should not be organizing or creating a case study. They should be working with customers on closing deals and moving them through the “funnel.”  Instead, marketing teams and subject matter experts should work hand-in-hand to develop a case study.

 

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Solution: Make case studies a specific item in your marketing strategy and budget in order to eliminate confusion and diffusion of responsibilities.

 

While it may be important to incorporate numbers and stats provided by the sales team to track progress, companies may make the mistake of assigning a writing job to a salesperson.

 

The sales team are not the best choice to conduct the research gathering process. Their specific skill set and focus is not on creating case studies – it is on closing deals. By adding case studies to their list of responsibilities, this will create delays and likely result in less than compelling results.

 

By aligning your marketing assignments to the proper channels, your company will be working at its optimal functionality.  Read our most recent blog to learn more about the benefits of company alignment and its direct connection to ROI.

 

Ensure you are communicating with the authorized personnel, like a company representative, to gather information.

 

Rather than speak with an account representative, a company rep will have more information about the company’s process and standards. They may be the most knowledgeable about the company facts, important details and information you need to create that exemplary case study.

 

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Problem 4: Some B2B companies are just not ready to create a case study.

 

Some companies may be in the infancy stages of development with little experience to create a well-written and informative case study. They could have been recently acquired and feel as though the previous company information is irrelevant.

 

They could have a trade show coming up and want to focus their efforts on that, or are managing a few pay-per-clicks campaigns that they believe will do well.

 

Or they just have excuses to focus on other marketing projects rather than devote the time and energy into a case study.

 

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Solution: Do the case study!

 

In the end, there are several hurdles that can prevent a company from going through creating a case study. Keep that case study pitch with you always whenever you feel the company is ready to hear more.

 

In the long run, a case study may be just what your B2B company needs in order to progress forward.

 

According to a 2018 study, in the B2B setting, events help generate the most leads, while case studies convert and accelerate most leads. (Source: bluecorona.com)

 

Share Your Company’s Successes

 

Creating a case study can be a compelling and informative way to not only promote your B2B company, but allow you to understand how far along the company as a whole has progressed.

 

Not only that, but it provides success stories to your clients as well as your potential clients about your services and products.  Think of it as a tale of your wins that contributes to your bottom line and ROI in the long run.

 

In the end, developing a case study is like writing a story.  Make it informative, tell the story your company deserves and watch the leads come pouring in afterwards.

 

Looking for a way to highlight your company’s achievements and experience with a case study?

 

Get a consultation on how to start developing an effective case study from the Dream Team.