No Hard Data? Get The Next Best Thing

At their best, case studies prove your company's value by packaging hard data into a compelling story about your customer.

Unfortunately, hard data is not always easy to come by. Perhaps one of these scenarios looks familiar:

  • Your customer isn’t tracking their return on investment.
  • Your customer doesn’t want to share ROI data.
  • You deliver a product or service for which ROI is simply hard to measure.
  • It’s too early in the project to measure ROI - but you need a case study now.

If you’re in one of these situations, don’t worry - you have options. Here is a list of potential case study data, ranked from most to least valuable.

Return on Investment

If available, your entire case study should be structured around ROI data. The number should show up in the headline, the executive summary, or a juicy pull quote.

Sales, Revenue, or Savings

Describing how a solution tripled quarterly sales volume, drove a 25% revenue lift, or led to a 7% cost reduction is almost as good as discussing ROI.

Other Numbers

User growth. Data volume. Click-through rate. Time-on-page. Facebook engagement.

These numbers may not tie directly to ROI or even revenue, but readers may make this connection subconsciously. Any numbers are helpful if they’re moving in the right direction.

Client Quotes That Allude To Numbers

For example:

“We’ve seen a major spike in user engagement.”
“Our customer satisfaction scores have gone through the roof.”
“Costs are down, revenues are up, and our sales team can barely keep up with the meeting requests.”

Note that since these numberless sentences are rather fluffy, they work better as direct quotes from the case study subject (i.e., the customer). If a direct quote isn't possible, attribution is another option:

The Director of Sales says that her team has been flooded with meeting requests.

Client Quotes About Initial Findings

When a project is still new, it may be necessary to highlight tentative success. For example:

“Our early tests of the system have been promising, and we’re looking forward to rolling it out to our entire sales team in the near future.”

Again, this type of statement should come from the customer. It can be updated once more data is available.

Quotes on Features, Process, or Feelings

Customers can describe their favorite parts of your solution, what it was like to work with your team, or how the product makes them feel. While these are last-ditch data points, they may still be compelling quotes.

“We especially love the ‘Automate Email’ button - it makes sales follow-ups fast and easy.”
“From easy installation to the rapid customer support, we found the software fit seamlessly into our existing sales system. We were up and running in just a week.”
“Our entire sales team has been really excited to implement this solution - I even hear them singing it’s praises over lunch.”

. . . . .

Of course, great case studies don’t just include one type of evidence - they combine different elements from the list. The best include both ROI data and the human stories around it.

While quotes about feelings and process are not ideal forms of primary evidence, they can be incredibly powerful when anchored by solid numbers.

In the end, you may never have all the data you'd like. But the time to tell your clients' story is now.