How to Create a Video Case Study and Why It's a Good Marketing Tool
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a company to bolster its marketing arsenal for the sake of attracting new business, or to reassure your existing customers that your products and services actually do work as advertised, nothing beats a good case study—especially in the form of a video.
Case studies are not a new phenomenon, having been introduced into the social sciences in 1829 by noted French engineer, sociologist and economist Pierre Guillaume Frédéric le Play as a supplement to statistics in his studies of family budgets. However, the widespread use of case studies in the areas of scientific research, medicine, education and the corporate world has gained in popularity only in recent decades. Case studies can be either prospective (building the case as fresh data becomes available), or retrospective (building the case on established, proven results collected over the years) in nature, incorporating quantitative and/or qualitative evidence.
Now, you may be wondering how a case study is different than a testimonial. A case study is an in-depth examination in which the purpose is identified, the approach is determined, and the process is decided upon, assessing whether the study is to be single or multiple, and whether the study is to be retrospective, snapshot or diachronic, and whether it is nested, parallel or sequential (isn’t Wikipedia great?). A testimonial is typically one person (sometimes financially compensated) saying something positive about a particular product or service.
Once you’ve determined the particular methodology you’re going to use for your case study, your next step is to collect all the data and results you need to prove your point. Important tip: If you don’t have enough data and results to make a COMPELLING case, don’t do a case study! No one is going to buy anything from your company or believe your claims just because Cousin Bob and Aunt Jenny say it’s great. You need real people with real problems and real stories about how your products and services helped them. The more, the better!
Although it might be very tempting to skew or fudge the results to favor a particular conclusion, honesty is always the best policy given the ease with which even a lay person with only a basic working knowledge of your subject can fact check and pick apart your case study using freely available resources on the web. Also, don’t be embarrassed to include brief mentions of how your products or services didn’t quite address the needs of certain clients. What’s important is to show how quickly you helped them identify and fix whatever the issue was, even suggesting alternatives not normally provided by your company, ultimately resulting in satisfied customers who will happily share their stories of how far you went out of your way to make things right. Don’t underestimate or undervalue your customers or your audience… EVER!
Once you’ve got your awesome case study in hand, the next step is to figure out how you’re going to translate it into video. Briefly stated, video is all about movement through the frame over time, directing the eye to the next point of interest along the way. If appropriate, try to integrate one or more (but not too many) emotional hooks or triggers. DO NOT give your case study the “glorified PowerPoint” treatment with static slides and backing music that smacks of new wave synth-pop from the 1980s… unless your company is selling retro 80s merchandise, of course. As to the nitty gritty details involving video production itself, I won’t go into those here as there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube and lots of freelance videographers out there who can help you.
Here is an example of a video case study done by QuantumDigital about a multi-channel, multi-touch campaign we launched in 2011. At its core, the case study focuses on the effectiveness of using personalized direct mail pieces in connection with personalized URLs, unique QR codes and mobile-friendly landing pages to drive interest and boost attendance for our Marketing Innovation and Discovery Summit. The summit, incidentally, was a resounding success. :-)