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How to make anonymous case studies your secret weapon

In our prior post about writing compelling B2B case studies, we provided tips based on the premise that you can interview a stakeholder from your client company and use their logo as social proof. However, this is really the best case scenario.

There are many reasons why a client might not want to be included in a case study. They may have strict corporate communications policies that prevent them from promoting vendors. Or, maybe your results are so powerful that they’re concerned about divulging a trade secret to competitors. 

Whatever the reason, sometimes you won’t be able to use the client’s name for your case study. In these cases, there’s a playbook you can follow to develop your anonymous case study into a secret weapon – and deliver major marketing and sales impact.


What anonymous case studies can (and can’t) do

Let’s start with the obvious: anonymous case studies aren’t a silver bullet. 

Because they lack the eye-popping social proof that a named case study can deliver, they’re typically less effective for upper-funnel lead generation. Think about it: are you more likely to respond to a prospecting email that mentions General Electric or “a Fortune 100 manufacturer”?

But anonymous case studies can help tremendously with engaging and converting existing opportunities by:

  • Telling a powerful story
  • Demonstrating domain expertise
  • Showing your technology in action in a vivid way
  • Enabling you to disclose more information than you normally would in a case study because of confidentiality concerns

In our experience, anonymous case studies can actually be a more potent selling tool than their named counterparts. When you can’t rely on the strength of a logo, you’re forced to be specific and compelling. 

Using our case study template, here’s how to do it right. 


Tips to write an effective anonymous case study

1. Be SPECIFIC around the client challenge

Specificity is what separates fluff pieces from firepower. Bring the case study to life with details – around the problem, process, and solution.

A great source for this level of specificity is your own internal stakeholder. Whether it’s the Customer Success Manager, Account Manager, or Product Manager, someone on your internal team has been knee deep with the client to solve their problems and deliver value.

Example: “The client was struggling with digital transformation” to “The client was struggling to migrate assets from their IBM AS/400 system to their new mobile application built on the Flutter framework.”

2. Take STORYTELLING to the next level

A story has essential elements: the hero, the conflict, the journey, and the (hopefully happy) ending. These matter in all of your marketing – but especially in anonymous case studies. 

So level up the vividness of your storytelling. This is no time for half-hearted marketing-speak: you’re sharing how you turned your (anonymous) client into a hero. Use a hook to lure your audience in, keep the goal of the story top-of-mind, know your audience, and be clear, concise, and engaging. And beware the curse of knowledge, especially the more complicated your industry and product is.

Example: “The client had invested a lot of time and money” to “The client had spent 3 years and $2.5 million on the initiative with nothing to show for the results” or “The client conducted three POCs that ended in failure and were close to scrapping the initiative altogether.” 

3. Highlight QUANTITATIVE RESULTS that are inarguable

Business outcomes can be difficult to quantify. But they’re critical in anonymous case studies – which means you need to find a crisp way to calculate and communicate your value. 

So drill deep. How much money did you help them save? How many customers did you support the acquisitions of? How many new countries did you expand them into? What was the ROI? What’s the potential future value of their investment?  

Example: “The client improved efficiency” to “The client regained 2.7 FTEs of engineering time while boosting revenue by 7% through improved conversion rate on their mobile app.”

4. Share STRATEGIC INSIGHT

While confidentiality might be the reason that you’re writing an anonymous case study in the first place, it’s also a silver lining: you can provide more strategic context than you might be able to otherwise. 

What is the client’s pain point on a company level? What strategic initiative does your partnership support? 

Companies can be skittish about sharing this type of thought process on-record. But with an anonymous case study, you can bring those insights to the surface and use them to add color to the story – answering the “so what” that will transform your technology from nice-to-have to need-to-have. 

Example: “The company plans to deepen their investment in this technology in the future” to “The company plans to expand on early successes by integrating mainframe data with their soon-to-be-rolled-out onsite chatbot.”


The bottom line

An anonymous case study won’t solve all your marketing challenges, but – when done right – it can be the secret weapon that helps you get the deal done. 

Bonus: A new case study should be followed by a marketing campaign; check out our guide.

Esther is a Marketing Manager at Blue Seedling. She is also a serial traveler, self-proclaimed foodie, and list addict.

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