The Problems With Fintech Case Studies [And How to Fix Them in 2022]

Content Marketing

Fintech is buzzing. There is a glut of VC funding flowing through the industry. A new contender arrives every day to promise heaven and earth (or cryptocurrency). But as buzzwords and jargon fly around the sector, content marketing leaders may be underusing one of the most critical marketing kit tools—the case study.

The case for fintech case studies

Case studies are criminally overlooked in fintech, an industry where products are so complex that customers and potential buyers struggle to understand what exactly they do.

While many fintech companies ignore case studies altogether, others produce reports that add little value for sales representatives, potential buyers, or customers. As the owner of Genuine, I write exclusively for B2B fintech companies. And I’m often surprised to see some industry case studies peppered with more product features than customer stories. With that in mind, here are three common case study stumbling blocks I’ve noticed:

1. The customer interview

As a marketer, have you ever read a case study knowing the customer had a better experience than the finished piece articulates? It’s not a nice feeling. However, the problem often lies in the interview—the launchpad from which all great case studies arise.

I get it. It’s tempting to treat case studies like conversations or business development exercises. I’ve heard case study interviews where salespeople interrupt the customer to put their own spin on events and where interviewers ask questions that are so safe they result in uninteresting responses.

Try to avoid this. Useful interviews for case studies are more like a journalistic Q&A. That means getting comfortable with:

  • Interjecting when people go off-topic
  • Asking probing follow-ups and fact-checking where detail is scant
  • Using open questions with why, where, what, when, how come, how much

Busy executives will thank you for this. They, too, want a tightly managed call, so they can return to doing their core work as soon as possible.

2. The customer quotes

Senior decision-makers have been around the block. Spin and superlatives will not hoodwink them into choosing one solution over another. Instead, they want to hear what people exactly like them have to say about the product.

Too often, I’ve seen fintechs drop powerful customer quotes because they paint an imperfect picture of a customer’s experience with their product. That’s a missed opportunity. Criticism paired with praise is more believable than quotes that suggest a flawless experience. Read the reviews of finance and accounting SaaS products on G2 to see what I mean.

So include the criticism. No product is perfect. And technology products, in particular, are known for common problems, like overpromises by sales, complicated implementations, or cumbersome software and app integrations.

Generalities and filler quotes won’t cut it either. But detailed quotes will detail how a fintech product benefited the customer through the metrics they care about most.

3. The story arc (or lack thereof)

Finally, some fintech scale-ups forget that case studies shine brightest when they provide a relatable narrative about real people solving real problems.

A few years ago, a fintech asked me to help them craft their first-ever case study about their favorite customer: a big bank. And here’s the thing. They didn’t want to name the bank. In fact, they didn’t even want to interview the customer or include quotes.

That’s an extreme example. But it’s also a reminder that focusing only on the problem-solution-outcome format is, well, a little boring. But stories with a protagonist, a challenge, and a catharsis? That’s where the gold is. So don’t forget to tell a story with your next case study and keep these points in mind:

  • Say how the customer tried and failed to solve the problem before using your product.
  • Use story structures that play up the obstacles, the conflict, and the resolution.
  • Add context with years, locations, and the operating environment.

Strong stories not only help fintech salespeople show prospects how their industry peers achieved results, but they also make existing customers look good. They give an added boost to customer retention and satisfaction.

So don’t sleep on using case studies to celebrate customers for a heroic effort and choosing your product to make a change.

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