Product presentations and sales sheets are important elements of any marketing strategy, but they can’t do everything. You can talk about how great your business is ad nauseum, but in many cases, it’s only when prospects feel truly understood that you’ll start to make headway.
This is why case studies can be so impactful:
They put the abstract in concrete, familiar terms. This is especially true in the institutional fintech space, where vendors jockey for position by making sweeping, difficult-to-verify claims. When done correctly, case studies for this audience should take the reader on a journey through the key decision points in the evaluation and implementation process and explain the considerations that went into each one.
That’s what client case studies should do – but too often, they fall short. Without the right preparation, execution and promotion, your case study may leave prospects feeling more confused or misunderstood than before – or worse, they may not be able to find it to begin with.
Our work with dozens of capital markets and institutional fintech players means we’ve spent a ton of time digesting industry case studies, not to mention producing them, so we’ve seen it all: the good, the bad and the ugly. While there’s a lot of noise out there, we’ve found that there are a few guiding principles marketers can use to make their case studies as effective as possible and avoid marketing mistakes. Check them out below.
First Things First
Sorting out logistics at the outset streamlines the case study process. Misalignment can lead to a lack of focus, contradictory messaging or muddled timelines – or worse, you may need to skip it altogether.
- Ensure alignment among all relevant teams – product, sales, marketing, design, etc. – as well as with the client that will be featured. Get the green light from all the right people before going any further. When it comes to the client, our experience is that the approval needs to come from its communications team.
- Secure buy-in on the promotional plan with the client in advance, as this may influence the timeline.
- Determine the format of the case study. Is it a deep dive or a brief overview? Is it solely text, or does it incorporate visual or even audio or video elements?
- Decide on the audience. Is the case study intended to turn prospects into clients, or will it be used to secure media coverage or award wins?
Do Your Homework
A lack of background research can complicate the writing process and confuse the finished product. You must take advantage of all available expertise and resources so that the case study is as informative as possible.
- Make sure you know your company’s key messages like the back of your hand. Develop the same level of knowledge of the client that will be featured.
- Scour the internet for any existing materials on the relationship you’re writing about, such as press releases, blogs or social posts.
- Take all opportunities to interview the client, even on topics you’ve written about in the past. Research the individuals you will be speaking with, including their backgrounds, social media activities and public remarks at conferences or other events.
A Compelling Story
Tell the Right Story
The whole point of a case study is to demonstrate the value of your business in more immersive, relatable terms – but too often, they miss the mark because they focus on the wrong angles.
- Make sure your case study is reader-centric. Everything should tie back to how your product was the solution, but ultimately, you are telling your client’s story, not your own.
- Determine the key points you want your case study to make and brainstorm interview questions that will tease out those angles.
- Keep differentiation top of mind. An effective case study should serve to differentiate your firm from the competition while also capturing distinct angles that may not have been present in your previous case studies.
- Emphasize the human element, including how your product solved frustrating pain points and streamlined workflows among and between teams.
- Refine the structure. This can vary, but generally speaking, case studies should highlight company background, the problem, the solution, the results and some kind of forward-looking angle. Use recognizable storytelling elements such as a cast of characters and a beginning, middle and end.
While case studies can be dense, that doesn’t mean you can’t employ a little artistic flair in writing them. It’s often said that you only get one chance to make a first impression, and when each reader represents a potential sale or award win, flat messaging just doesn’t cut it.
- Emphasize any transformative effects on the client’s business or innovations that point to the future of the industry.
- Seek opportunities to stake out leadership positions, promote key features and drum up genuine excitement about the product.
- Do your best to quantify results and put them front and center. Remember: our industry loves hard numbers.
- There is such a thing as being too bold. In punching up your writing, be sure to never mislead or misrepresent.
No good case study stands alone – it must be part of an overall marketing and communications strategy. Producing case studies can be a significant lift, and you should strive to maximize their impact as part of an integrated program.
- Keep SEO in mind, especially in terms of relevant keywords, formatting and link strategy.
- Effectively promote on social media and consider paid social campaigns that support the goal of the case study.
- Announce via a press release and pitch it to the media, perhaps offering quoted individuals as sources.
- Post the case study on relevant websites – not just your own firm’s, but the client’s and any partners or aggregators that may be willing.
- Use quotes as social media testimonials, in website copy and more.
- Leverage as evergreen material for any future opportunities, such as award submissions.
We hope these tips have given you a roadmap for how to take your institutional fintech case studies to the next level. Interested in learning more? Give us a call.