When marketing to potential clients or end-users, B2B vendors/suppliers across the spectrum of industry verticals have long relied on case studies to convey credible information about their products and services.

The typical B2B case study created for marketing (as opposed to for academic purposes) is based on the classic "challenge-solution-result" business school format.

Marketing practitioners view case studies as an opportunity to demonstrate a business challenge that an end-user client faced, the solution that the vendor implemented, and the results (preferably with both anecdotal and quantifiable evidence) that show ROI.

Intended Audiences

In a B2B case study, the end-users relate their experiences with the vendor's product or service. Although the vendor or service provider may produce the case study, they are not the focus of a case study; the spotlight is, or should be, on the end-user.

The intended audience for B2B case studies consists mainly of potential clients, and the desired outcome is for that audience to view the vendor in a positive light.

In a well-written case study, the satisfied end-user has no directly obvious vested interest in praising the vendor company's solution, but does so anyway. That, in turn, creates valuable credibility with potential customers. Over 70 percent of buyers base their decisions on trust and believability, according to a Forrester Research survey.

Although the products and services they're intended to support are usually technology-bases solutions, B2B case studies generally do not need to be technical. The material should be designed first to inform and educate, then to convert the reader into taking some kind of action. Generally, the desired action comes the form of requesting more detailed information about the vendor's suite of products or services.

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Dave Hochman is founder of DJH Marketing Communications, a Red Bank, NJ-based full-service PR, social media, and content marketing agency.

LinkedIn: Dave Hochman

Twitter: @davehochman