The 8 P’s of a Powerful Case Study

At a recent workshop I attended, J. T. O'Donnell (@jtodonnell) founder of, noted that most customers are looking for aspirin, not vitamins. In other words, they are in pain and want relief.

The best way of showing rather than telling your prospect how you can eliminate that aching is through a well-crafted Case Study.

Here are the eight P’s to guide you in developing a Case Study that delivers.

Problem – What was the problem your client faced? The situation must be specific enough to be understood but generic enough to be relevant to your target audience.

Plan – How did you approach solving the problem? This should show the depth of thinking in your organization, the effectiveness of your product or service as well as your creative problem solving ability.

Product – What was the outcome of implementing your plan? This should clearly contrast the “before and after” of your involvement.

Profit – What was the tangible result of executing your program? This is the most important point of the Case Study. This needs to show in hard metrics the results of using your solution – increased profit, reduced costs, improved time to market, enhanced customer satisfaction. Pick the appropriate category and attach an empirical data point to it.

Plain – Use clear, concise language. Avoid industry jargon and buzzwords. Your Case Study should highlight your product or service, your process and your strategic thinking ability and should be written in a compelling and understandable style.

Pictures – Add artwork. Regardless of how you plan to use the Case Study, an appropriate photo or illustration will dramatically enhance the look of your piece.

Promote – Get an executive in the company to provide a quote. If your solution was as effective as you claim, someone senior in the organization should be willing to go on the record to corroborate its value.  This will help shift the piece from one of self-promotion to one of credible problem-solving example.

Publish – Now that you have your Case Study, you should publish it widely. You will have to rework your copy for length and style depending on the venue, but the core case – problem/plan/profit - remains intact. Plan to broadcast your Case Study in a variety of vehicles including standalone handout, blog post, brochure, power point presentation, press release or news article.

Have you used Case Studies to attract new clients? Have they been successful?