EdTech They’ll Never Forget: Effective Case Studies

case study

Today’s EdTech buying process requires school and district administrators and evaluators to ask, “can the product help us achieve our goals?” and if so promised, “how can we be sure?”

To convince smart decision-makers to give your solution a try, you’ll need some evidence. Not just any evidence will do, but evidence that your product works for schools and for students like theirs. When it comes to solving problems in schools, ‘context’ is an important factor upon which product evaluations are based.

Case studies are a highly useful EdTech sales and marketing tool that speaks to the context of your success, providing qualitative and quantitative data in the shape of an accessible story. Case studies can serve to attract right-fit schools, move conversations forward, and provide concrete examples to decision-makers about the kinds of use cases and impacts you have experienced in the past. For early stage businesses, new products, and emerging into new markets, case studies are a must-have asset. In fact, we recommend having a series of case studies for each customer profile you target, use case you support, and/or pain-point you relieve.

While case studies are incredibly useful, they are also easy to get wrong. It is well-known within EdTech that there are some trust issues between schools and vendors. Edweek Market Brief reports that tech-savvy educators doubt vendor research. In a study entitled “Education Research Perspectives Survey,” more than three-quarters of respondents (76%) felt that ed-tech vendors were not qualified to conduct valid research about their products. This is why having a qualified, objective 3rd party to conduct your case studies can add integrity and rigor to your sales process.

That being said, not all companies have the resources to have their case studies created with the help of an external team. In the event that you should find yourself having to do the work internally, here is some practical advice for creating a credible and effective case study.

First thing to know: a great case study isn’t about your product or company – it’s about the customer and their experience. As soon as a case study starts to sound a little too much like a sponsored post, your customer is checking out. Maintaining honesty and objectivity throughout your case study is essential to your sales goal and your brand’s image. To build trust with customers, you’ll want to remember that a case study is useful, never pushy.

The best case studies are well strategized, consider their objectives, and tell a very specific and clear success story.

Customer interviews are the most crucial component. Your job is to capture the qualitative insight that will bring the quantitative data your story is telling to life. Always gather the customer data you already have first, such as product usage data. Look for the story. Talk to the school’s account manager and get a sense of where you might be able to take the story before crafting your interview questions. To respect your customer’s time, make sure you are 100% prepared for the interview. You’ll only have one chance to get it right, to get the most compelling story out of them.

To share some relevant dos and don’ts, we reviewed six different case studies shared by well-established EdTech software companies.

Case study table

Of course, there is no one right way to do case studies. Take the time to think creatively about what needs to come across, what may be the most effective way of telling your story, and relaying your brand.  

Once your case study is ready, you can put it to work in so many different ways, from the top to the bottom of your B2B or B2C funnel. Attract, nurture and convert leads with case studies by transforming them into multiple asset types, and by knowing where to insert them into your various campaigns.

Roxanne Desforges