Case studies are a perfect way to organize and present hard facts about your products and services — and they continue to be one of the most effective types of content out there.

A recent study shows that case studies far outperform other types of content. The DemandGen 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report found that 78% of B2B buyers used vendor case studies as part of their purchasing decisions in the past 12 months. 89% of B2B marketers consider customer testimonials and case studies to be the most effective kind of content to convert buyers.

Buyers are looking to “benchmark their own experiences against others who’ve tackled similar challenges,” concluded DemandGen’s report. Data is powerful stuff, and buyers know it. In fact, DemandGen’s survey indicated 48% of buyers not only prefer case studies but find them to be the most valuable type of content for research. 57% even said that they would register and share information in exchange for case studies.

Why the case study?

Beyond the obvious answer that data is important to buyers, why do they respond so well to this type of content? According to Frank Cespedes, Senior Lecturer at Harvard Business School and author of Aligning Strategy and Sales, ultimately, buyers are less interested in theory than practice: “Buyers, especially B2B buyers, want to know what others are doing with your product, not what they might do to improve productivity or other outcomes.”

Yes, case studies are highly effective, but their success is predicated on your reputation as a thought leader and source of knowledge and expertise. Click To Tweet

As a side-note, before you jump ship on aspects of your content marketing strategy, like blogs, social media, webinars, etc., that focus on sharing ideas rather than just data, consider this: even the most impactful case study is only as useful as the totality of your brand’s content. In other words, yes, case studies are highly effective, but their success is predicated on your reputation as a thought leader and source of knowledge and expertise.

What makes a case study effective?

Not all case studies are created equal. Data presented in a confusing or incomplete way, for example, doesn’t pack the kind of punch needed to demonstrate exactly how your products and services help your buyers. A good case study should prompt the reader to explore your brand and the rest of your content. Ultimately, the goal is to show your prospect that making a change in their process will lead to better results.

As you design a case study, think about giving buyers the tools to present your products and services to decision-makers within their business. “Especially in B2B contexts,” says Cespedes, “buyers must justify a decision to others in the organization who have competing priorities for limited funds.” This is where a compelling case study comes in. Show your potential buyers how other organizations benefit from your offerings, and they have the tools to make a case for your business.

Case studies are proven to be well worth the time and energy needed to produce them. Recommendations and data from real customers have a powerful impact and should continue to be a significant component of your overall content marketing strategy.

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