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Case study videos: costs, types, steps, pros and cons

By Tim Cumming and Helen Pain, updated 20 Feb 2021

A case study video tells your story through your clients' eyes. It's proof. It's holy manna.

It's the attention to detail, you see. The nurturing, the love, the extraordinary skill, with which you've delivered your service or product - the story of all of that told credibly.

Harvest case studies affordably. And in quantity. And it's also faster and more convenient. There's really no excuse for not capturing these stories.

Why Use Case Studies

The most rewarding aspect of putting case studies on both your website and social media is the clarity, the independence, and the customers' eye point-of-view, which is so valuable to your would-be buyers. But there's another reason. Face-to-face selling is changing fast, as the 2020 Gartner report on the decline of the sales pipeline shows. The role of marketing is fast absorbing many traditional sales functions.

You can take almost any angle in a case study:

Case studies bring to life the client's experience. They unfold the story of onboarding, transformation, or the core benefits of what you do. They also help you to remind yourself of the good that you do. This is a substantial aspect of case studies because entrepreneurs, owners, founders, even marketers tend to forget the good their firm actually does. It's easy - you're focused on your job, your day-to-day existence. But prospects need to know the good you do.

2021 Pandemic Opportunity

During the pandemic, the easiest way to produce case studies is by filming remotely. Which is cheaper. In fact, the pandemic has created a phenomenal opportunity to harvest case studies affordably. And in quantity. And it's also faster and more convenient. There's really no excuse for not capturing these stories.

Reveal the Good You Do
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A case study video typically ranges between £1.5k and £7k for a remotely filmed, two to three minute piece. And between £2k and £10k for an on-site filmed case study. At the bottom end of the scales, you'll find individual videographers who've adapted to online filming but who may know less about story-telling and interviewing. At the top end of the scale, you'll find the cream, and maybe a little pretension too.

What your money will buy

  • Low-end: list of compliments, perhaps lower believability, testimonial-feel, audiences bailing earlier
  • High-end: rich story, well-researched, compelling flow, looks pro, audiences watching longer
  • Goldilocks zone: some new innovators will give you remote-filmed, high-end videos affordably

The difference in price will show in storytelling, research, and a credible look from remote filming. If you want all of those things, you may need to spend middle to upper end. Remember, what you spend is a reflection on how well your story is told, and your brand.

But look hard enough and you may find mid-priced firms that deliver high-end films.

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Types of case study video

There are three main kinds of case study. Your choice should reflect the kind of firm you are and the way you like your clients to see you.

Do List

  • Perception: choose the emphasis that feels right - (1) for transparency, (2) for convenience or going behind the scenes, or (3) for a strong partnership feel
  • Selection: Choose your case studies - ideally one for each sector or sales category you serve
  • Marketing list: list out the clients' transforming moments you most want to express for marketing and social audiences, to build wow
  • Sales list: list out the ROI gains and typical objections that were most emphatically overcome, to build sales wow
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Steps to exploiting case studies

  1. Recruit two candidate case studies from each ideal market segment - for example small, medium large, or each of your five industry sub-sectors. One candidate may reject you, it's a good idea to have two.
  2. Approach the client to ask if they mind participating - most clients are flattered. However, if the client refuses, perhaps a key client that you absolutely must have in your portfolio, you can always sweeten the pill by offering to shoot a film for them at the same time (be aware this will add to cost though)
  3. Respect the story of your client. It's best if you remain totally hands-off, and try not to influence what the client should say. It's so tempting to suggest key moments or features of your service or product that you're proudest of, but often you'll find that you'll get a less authentic story out of it. Once briefed, the production company will manage all of the filming for you.
  4. Topic-check Check with your film company the kinds of topics the interviewer is intending to ask. Topics are better than actual questions. Because they help the speakers prepare broadly, and not specifically. Once they start rehearsing answers, authenticity is out of the window. Topics should slot into a STAR story (Situation, Task, Actions, Result). This is a structure which is commonly 30-50% more effective at retaining audiences through to the end of the film. It's a classic three-act structure, repurposed for enterprise. It's best told in a 2:1:5:1 structure.
  5. Publish the case studies on your YouTube or Vimeo channel, embed it on your website, scale and position it wisely, optimise it for SEO, and share it on social media. Or have your video agency do it for you. There are many advantages to doing this and many modern techniques. If you're doing this in-house, you'll need to keep abreast of best practice in order to get maximum return from your video in this area. Outsourcing here will more likely produce a high response.
  6. Convert the case studies into meetings, demos, prospectuses or sales assets. In other words make sure there's a CTA at the video's end that doens't say 'call us'. So many firms want this, but our CTA research shows the more specific you make the CTA, the higher the response.
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The pros of filming your case studies

Filming case studies for each type of buyer provides:

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The cons of filming case study videos

There are risks to filming case studies:

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Already got this covered?

If you already have case study videos and they're not generating response, there's much above that will help you improve their performance. But what would be even better than your current case study videos?

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