We often get bent out of shape trying to come up with precise definitions of things. While sometimes this precision is warranted, there are times when it is overkill.
Take the answer to this question:
What is the difference between a case study and a testimonial?
Some people have taken some time answering the question about the difference between a case study and a testimonial. For example, here’s what Juliet Platt says:
The difference between Case Studies and Testimonials is really length and depth.From https://casestudywriter.co.uk/whats-the-difference-between-a-case-study-and-a-testimonial/
Platt then gives examples of the longer, in-depth nature of case studies vs. the shorter nature of testimonials.
Another person who has addressed the question is Donna St. Jean Conti:
“Show me ROI, or it’s not a case study.” An editor told me this some 15 years ago, and he was so right.From https://www.agilitypr.com/pr-news/public-relations/whats-the-difference-between-a-case-study-and-a-testimonial/
This gets into the difference between quantitative information and qualitative information. By this definition, a case study always has to address return on investment, or it’s not a case study.
I have a different view
While I respect the views of these two people (and others), I have a different view. My answer to the question “What is the difference between a case study and a testimonial” is as follows:
Who cares?From https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-and-case-studies/
Let me explain.
Regardless of what you call the document, a case study or a testimonial allows a firm to attract new customers by showcasing the successes of existing customers.From https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-and-case-studies/
And as far as I’m concerned, the length of the piece and the choice to use quantitative or qualitative data (or both) is secondary to the primary purpose, which is to present an example that resonates with a potential customer.
Not that I don’t have ANY rules. Whether you’re writing a case study or testimonial, I like to structure it with the following format:
- The problem.
- The solution.
- The results (from using the solution to solve the problem).
This format allows a customer-centric presentation with which the reader can identify. “Hey, Joe’s Garage used this widget to solve their problem. Maybe I can use this widget to solve a similar problem.”
Now perhaps others use a different outline for their case studies or testimonials. And that’s…OK.
My own term
So for ease of communication, I’ve decided to adopt a different term. It’s not original with me, but it doesn’t look like anyone else is currently using the term on a regular basis.
Instead of using awkward references to “case studies and/or testimonials,” I’m just going to refer to casetimonials.
I used the casetimonial term a lot on this page (recently revised) on the Bredemarket website, which not only includes a shorter form of the discussion above about the difference between a case study and a testimonial, but also discusses how a casetimonial can be used, how it can be repurposed, the types of firms that can benefit from casetimonials, and how Bredemarket can help you create your own casetimonials.
If you can use Bredemarket’s assistance with communicating past customer successes to future clients: