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How to Write a Great Case Study

So, what is a Case Study?

A case study demonstrates how a specific situation was initially identified, which solution was selected to resolve the issue, and a summary of the final results.

In the IT world, case studies tend to be short; somewhere between 300-500 words.

In general, aim for three pages, and include one graphic per page at most. Anything more and it looks like ‘hard sell’; case studies typically adopt a ‘soft-sell’ approach.

How to structure your case study

There are three sections to a case study.

  • • Problem
  • • Implementation
  • • Results

The opening ‘problem’ section must carry a punch. In other words, it has to mean something to the reader – something that they can relate to.

Always write about an issue that has significant business impact for the reader. Demonstrate how your product resolved a critical business issue—what you’re implying in this section is that if they choose your service, you can also resolve their issues…

Indeed, the more specific the case study, the more effective it will be. Case Studies that propose to ‘solve all problems’ are not taken seriously.

Highlight the Benefits

Instead, concentrate on how the solution, or service, addresses a very specific issue. Be very careful here, as the entire case study is built around this single issue.

Don’t dilute the case study by addressing more the one issue – stick to one area and explain how you can solve the problem in measurable and quantifiable terms. For example:

  • • Support your case study with statistics, figures and tables where appropriate.
  • • Return On Investment — explain how the investment in your product/service pays for itself. For example, it increases productivity by 50% within 2 months.
  • • Demonstrate how you can substantiate this; otherwise, your argument loses credibility.
  • • Cost Containment – how does the solution help contain costs? This area is very important, as budgets are always a sensitive issue. If you can illustrate how a similar company saved a certain amount of money by adopting your product—i.e. real proof—you’ll certainly captures the reader’s attention.
  • • Reducing Barriers — demonstrate how your solution improves operations. For example, how does it fit into their business process? This is a good area to mention how your system plugs into other applications or expensive business critical applications.
  • • Use your judgment when compiling the final case study document. Avoid making it too technical or overloading it with excessive statistics.
  • • Make the statistics stand out so that the reader can easily digest them — and then remember them later on.

Long Term Rewards

Impressive case studies stand out; decision-makers will use them as a source of reference and cite you as a credible, trustworthy and reliable source of information — the type of company people want to do business with.

PS

Include a benefit in the title of your case study.

Instead of writing “Aerospace Case Study”, say “Case study on How Product X Improved Sales by 300%”.

Grab their attention from the start — and then keep it!

Article by Ivan Walsh, who runs Klariti.com and specializes in Professional Writing Services.

[tags]writing, business, promotion, case study, marketing[/tags]

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