Archived Webinar

Part 3 - Show, Don't Tell: The Power of the Case Study


Presented by Charity Huff, CEO of January Spring

Today's Focus: Case Studies. A great case study is a way for you to tell a story.  It needs to be more compelling than just facts and figures. Provide background, describe the objective of the campaign, detail the solution and make it readable.

The four most influential sales tools: a media kit, case studies and success stories, testimonials and referrals.

Why a Media Kit? A media kit is needed because sales reps interact with so many ad agencies and young buyers and that’s the way in which they are used to buying.  Coming soon: a Media Kit Template that you can adapt for your newspaper.

It's not about you. A good case study should be about the customer’s journey and the customer’s result and not so much about your company.

A good case study has three parts: An opportunity (what was the specific problem or challenge you were trying to address with the client), the solution you brought them and the results you were able to provide.

Sample Case Study. The graphic above is the format January Huff uses for case studies produced for clients.  They keep the format really consistent so sales teams know what to expect.  The case study always describes the category of the business and tactics being used.  In this case, they used Geo-Fencing with Conversion Sites, Keyword Re-Targeting, Site Re-Targeting and Event Targeting.   The case study also outlines the campaign results: impressions, clicks, click-through-rate and conversions (the number of people who saw the advertisement and walked through the door).

Charity Huff said it: Long-form case studies work great, too, for some of your really big campaigns, perhaps involving special sections, a sponsorship, an event they’re tied to, etc.  Those long-form case studies should include: an attention-grabbing headline, campaign results (front-and-center), a testimonial from the publisher, as well as campaign features, function and how the campaign was executed.

Use the case study to set expectations. Campaign size, potential and upsell

You asked: What do you say to a salesperson who says customers won’t buy six- or 12-month contracts because of market uncertainty?  Charity Huff says: "We have salespeople all over the country who are selling six- and 12-month contracts.  It’s more a matter of setting expectations and addressing the objection."  For example: "The market is totally unpredictable right now and I don’t feel comfortable committing money for 12 months." Huff says the objection is around the need for flexibility, which can come in terms of the messaging being used, the audience being targeted and the frequency with which you’re running.  "But the commitment is and should be that I’m going to commit to advertising and marketing through your channel for the next six or 12 months.  When you reposition it that way, we have reps all over the country who are turning in digital campaigns with six- and 12-month contracts."

It's all about frequency.  You have to touch people frequently with ad campaigns ... somewhere close to 15 times before they will engage. 

Charity Huff said it: "You have to do some education with your clients.  A single frequency ad in print doesn’t work and limited frequency in digital doesn’t work."

Know the numbers.  Learn your client’s closing percentage and help them find their Return on Investment.  Know how much every client is worth to them!

The value of referrals. 84% of prospects usually respond to a sales rep who is recommended to them.

Solicit testimonials. Charity Huff offered a variety of examples of ways to solicit those needed testimonials: the casual conversation email, the professional email approach, the post-sale email, the incentive email, the referral email.  Check out her examples and re-word them to fit your needs.

Getting your client to say yes. Especially if the testimonial was given verbally, Charity Huff suggested putting the words in writing, emailing it to the client (using one of the above examples) and inviting them to make edits.  "Nine times out of 10, if you’ve done a good job for them, they’ll say yes."

Now what?  Once you have testimonials and case studies, package it all up so you have a great toolbox for your clients. "Build out a case study library that your whole team can access and then start using those case studies and promoting them in your marketing material.  Make sure you are continually filling that case study funnel."

Email attachments. Consider producing a one-page testimonial that can be used as an attachment to emails for interactions with potential new clients.  It's a "great way to establish yourself as the expert and toot your horn a bit."

Incorporate your case studies and testimonials into your sales process, by asking potential clients:

“Are you familiar with XXX (another local business)? Would you be surprised to know they’ve been running with us for XXXX years?” Then, share details from their case study.
“Are you familiar with XXX (another local business)? Every time they run with us, they tell us it’s one of their most effective marketing efforts.” Then, show them the results from one of your case studies.
“Are you familiar with XXXX (a business they likely have not heard of because they don’t advertise with you)? You don’t know them because they don’t advertise; they don’t invest in marketing.”

Adjust your approach based on the changing buyers that you are interacting with (ad agencies vs. in-house marketing manager or business owner ... as well as generational differences).


  • Want relationships with those they work with — an ongoing dialogue rather than sporadic communications.
  • Purchasers need face time with sales representatives and prefer in-person meetings. Maybe offer them a phone call rather than a Zoom call.
  • Drawn to vendors’ reputation and history, and the perceived quality of your product. Talk about service delivered and results you are getting for another business; that would be important to a buyer like this.

GenX buyer:

  • Are realistic; they can spot a phony a mile away. They are extremely motivated to do their own research.
  • Rely on peer-to-peer referrals more than other generations.
  • When you start the sales process, be sure to offer (or allude to) multiple products; they like options and a “plan B.”


  • Leverage digital sources and peer input significantly more than advice from a sales professional when making a purchasing decision.
  • Do 80% of their research before they even talk to you.
  • Do not make decisions quickly; they need time and information.

You asked: How should we incentivize sales people to collect case studies? Charity Huff says: "I’m always surprised that we have to incentivize sales people to ask for referrals, case studies  and testimonials because that tells me that they probably aren’t using them as consistently as they should in their sales process.  Certainly dollar incentives are good.  You could put some contesting around it on a quarterly or half-yearly basis so there’s some concentrated focus around it.  I would also use it in your prospecting process to reach back out to some of these clients you’re doing really good work for and ask for a  testimonial or referral and have that be part of your sales process, too."

Another great idea.  Create a one-page testimonial sheet with "Rave reviews that make us blush." She suggests creating three or four different versions of this, depending on the opportunity you are highlighting. 

Charity Huff said it: "This stuff works. ... It’s really important to be able to show (with case studies) what you can do for somebody.  It’s so much more powerful than just telling them."

Connect with our presenter:


Part 4 ... coming Oct. 28

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If you missed the first three modules, simply register at this link for Part 4.

And, find links to what you missed here.

advertising sales, Charity Huff