Case studies are ideal for the decision stage in the marketing funnel. In fact, they are arguably the most positive form of PR you can receive. A third party endorsement from someone who really knows what they’re talking about – a customer who has worked with you, paid their money and still thinks you’re worth recommending – is pure marketing gold. Neil Patel points out that case studies help him increase his close rate by 70%, and even Apple uses case studies to drive its B2B PR and marketing strategy.

Video as a medium makes case studies more convincing and appealing. The viewer can see your customer’s face and judge for themselves whether they are being genuine. Video case studies humanise your work, demonstrate how your company solves real problems and deliver just the credibility needed to close a deal.

We sat down with our award-winning MD, Jamie Field, who has produced case study videos for governments, charities, global corporations and small businesses, to get his thoughts on how to make a case study video.

What is a case study video?

Before we get into how to make a case study video, it’s important to understand what we mean by “case study video” and how that differs from a testimonial video.

A testimonial video simply provides a comment from the customer about their experience with your company, whereas a case study video shows the detail of the project, product or service in use, highlighting the customer’s core problem, why they chose you, what the experience was like and what benefits they derived from working with you. A case study video might include a testimonial, but that will only be a small part of the video, usually at the end.

Types of case study video

Case study videos can be filmed talking heads; animated with voice over and text; and they can feature real people, or they can be hypothetical.

We typically recommend using real customers in case study videos as this method is more authentic and engaging. We need a compelling business reason to animate a case study.

Elements of a successful case study video

To get a case study video right, you will need:

  • A really successful client project that you want to shout about.
  • A customer keen to get involved and endorse you.
  • An excellent interview with that customer.
  • B-roll and background footage to set the scene.
  • Skillful post-production.
  • The right narration (if that’s the style you choose).
  • Stats and data to add real credibility to the case study video.

Getting more than just a case study video

You might only be interested in how to make a case study video. But we urge you to think beyond that specific project, to what else there is to be gained from this process. Your customer has agreed to give of their time to be interviewed on film, and you might want to use the opportunity to:

  • Produce a great video case study of course.
  • Build an even better relationship with your customer.
  • Privately gather important information on how your product or service could be improved.
  • Identify opportunities to potentially sell more to this customer.
  • Find out whether this customer could refer you to any of the contacts in their network.

If you get the case study film production process right, it can add loads of value beyond the final video.

Creating your case study video plan

Here at Definition we are huge believers in CWAP. That’s Content With A Purpose. So we always start the production process by asking: why are we making this case study video? And who is it for?

Once you’ve answered those questions it’s time to think like your target audience. What will they be most interested in? It’s usually best to focus your case study video on a specific product or service that solves a particular problem rather than a more general piece on working together.

You’ll need to think about the narrative. A good case study is like any other video, it needs a compelling storyline. It’s generally wise to avoid jumping straight into the ringing endorsements of your company, but instead to set the scene and establish what problems the customer was trying to solve. A clear start, middle and end are essential.

Choosing the right customer

It might seem counter-intuitive, but the best customer to feature in your case study video is not necessarily going to be your best or happiest customer. Sure, that might be how you build your initial shortlist, but it is much more important to ensure that the person being interviewed is relatable and can speak without needing a script. They need to be authoritative, passionate, senior (in B2B case studies), and articulate. But they also need to sound genuine, so the audience believes what they are saying – which means they need to have been involved in the project and be familiar with your business.

It’s always good to remember that a case study that looks great on paper might not translate well to video. The only way to find out is to speak to the potential interviewee first, and you’ll get much more information about their suitability if you can do so on a video call.

Getting your customer on board

There’s a subtle art to getting your customer to agree to be featured in a case study video. You’re asking them to give up precious time to be filmed, and you’re asking them to be vulnerable: sharing a story of a challenge they faced and how they overcome it. Really happy customers are usually willing to be involved, in principle at least. It’s the practicalities that you have to get right.

You’re much more likely to be successful if you can make participation easy for them, by filming at their office, factory or shop at a time that works for them. We’re also big believers in giving case study participants the VIP treatment – they’re the star of the show, so make them feel like it. It may help to get your CEO to invite them to participate; offer hair and make-up; arrange the case study around a lunch with your senior team. Make them feel special and they will be happy to help you out.

Create your distribution plan

Now that you know what your case study is about, who you will be interviewing and you have a rough idea of your narrative, it’s time to put together your video distribution strategy. Where your case study video will be viewed will inform many of the production decisions throughout the process.

We don’t have a preference for aspect ratio when it comes to case study videos, but audio is really important, so we recommend taking that into consideration when you build out your distribution plan (e.g. consider which social platforms are now turning off audio by default).

Case study video pre-production

Pre-production is really important when making a case study video. Here are some of the top considerations:

Never write a script: If the client tries to do this, we stop them. Case studies should be unbiased and natural.

Choose your location wisely: The location should be easily accessible to the contributor, but also visually relevant to the story. That’s often the workplace of the interviewee, or at home if it’s a consumer.

Consider shot lists: We only do this if there is something technical to convey. Instead, we prefer to come up with some scene ideas, set up what is required, then choose the specific shots once we are there on location.

Choose the style: Often case studies are filmed and include interviews that need to be authentic and human, so that lends itself to warm casual interview styles and slow-motion, fluid b-roll. This can vary though and should be decided based on the subject matter.

Prepare for the interview: Preparing for your case study interview is important. We have provided below a long list of 83 case study interview questions, but please don’t ask them all! Researching them in advance (and answering as many as you can yourself before you speak to the interviewee) is an important part of the case study pre-production process. That enables you to impress the interviewee with your background knowledge and identify opportunities to improve the case study even further.

Prepare the theatrics: We believe in making the whole case study production process incredible for your customer. That might mean premium food and coffee on set. Or it could mean a celebrity make-up artist preparing them for the interview.

Choose your crew: The standard case study crew is usually a director, camera operator and a sound recordist. We think the best director is one that is producing the film as well (so they would be a producer/director). They will have a detailed understanding of the original brief and what your company wants from the edit when going into the interview.

How to handle the case study filming day

It’s finally time to get started with filming your case study video. And there are several things to consider on the day of filming, including:

Audio is more important than visuals: If interviewing, get the audio done properly, because the success of a case study video is very much down to what the interviewee is saying.

Hold multiple interviews: We will usually try to arrange to interview multiple people to give us variety of soundbites.

Make the interviewee feel comfortable: We’ve mentioned already that we like to make the interviewee feel like a celebrity on the day, but it’s also important that the director puts them at ease. Nervous interviewees are tricky to deal with. Try to relate to them and empathise. The director should take all formality out of the interview and not stress to much about “talking in soundbites”. Instead, just get relaxed content and work around it in the edit.

Ask open-ended questions, allowing the interviewee to take the answer in the direction they want – and don’t try to put words in their mouth. How they sound is more important than what they say, so let them answer in their own words. Ask questions to help set the scene, warm them up and get some human reactions from them. Tears and laughter are always the best a director can hope for.

Start with the interviews: We always shoot interviews at the start of the day. That way if the subject mentions something specific, we have time after the interview to film visuals of that.

Get plenty of b-roll: Make sure that any b-roll relates to what the subject is talking about. If there isn’t much opportunity to film b-roll, we recommend filming the interview with multiple cameras so that you can make the video interesting without b-roll.

What happens in post-production

After filming, the next step is to get stuck into post-production. Work with your editor to narrow down all useable interview clips into a shortlist (this is called a sync pull).

Then, order all the shortlisted clips into a coherent narrative that everyone is happy with. This is called a sync assembly.

Add all the beautiful b-roll, and motion graphics or animation if you’re trying to show something that can’t be easily shown with film. Add music, voice over (if needed) and send your video off to have closed captions produced.

Promoting and distributing your case study video

Your promotion plan should be determined as part of your distribution strategy. We always recommend getting your customer involved in helping you promote the video. And don’t forget to thank them for their contribution!

83 questions to ask in a case study interview

This is a long list to guide you, but you really just need to consider what your target audience needs and how best to get the information out of your interviewee. The best answers are short, work as self-contained soundbites (where the audience understand what question is being asked) and are infused with emotion.

Please don’t read a list of questions! Rather, use these as a guide for an informal conversation with the interviewee. It’s important that the director knows when to push for better answers and when to be happy with what you’ve got.

Start with the admin questions

  1. Can I confirm the spelling of your name?
  2. Can I confirm that your job title is ______?
  3. Can I confirm that your company name is spelled ______?
  4. Which social networks do you use personally?

Learn about the company

  1. I’ve read a little about your company, but perhaps you can share in your own words what ________ does?
  2. Can I confirm that the company has been around since____?
  3. And how long has your department been going?
  4. How many employees do you have?
  5. What is your revenue?
  6. Are we allowed to include revenue data in the case study?
  7. How many geographies do you operate in?

Understand the products and services

  1. Can you please tell me a little bit about the products and services you offer?
  2. Who is your target customer?

Get your head around their role

  1. I know that your job title is _____, but what does your day-to-day role involve?
  2. What are the objectives of your role?
  3. How long have you been in the role?
  4. How big is your team?
  5. Who do you report to?

Clarify their relationship with your own business

  1. How long have you been using our product or services?
  2. How did you first come across us?
  3. How long had you been looking?
  4. What did you do before using our product?
  5. What were the physical costs of this process?
  6. What were the human resources costs of this process?
  7. What was the opportunity cost of this process?
  8. How were your customers impacted by this process?
  9. What other challenges were you facing?
  10. What were the major challenges you were facing to prompt you to look for a product?
  11. Did our product replace another or was this the first time you had used such a product or services?
  12. What were your biggest concerns or reservations before using our product or service?
  13. Why didn’t you buy our product or similar product earlier?
  14. What reservations did you have during the buying process?
  15. What was the best thing about the buying process?
  16. What was the worst thing about the buying process?
  17. What would you change about the buying process?
  18. How did you find the buying process? What was your experience?
  19. How was the onboarding process?
  20. What factors were important to you when choosing a product like ours?
  21. Which alternatives did you consider?
  22. What were the major reasons you chose us?
  23. What decision-making criteria were there?
  24. Who was involved in the decision to buy?
  25. How long did it take to get set up or onboarded?
  26. How many people in your company use our product?
  27. How do you use the product?
  28. Which features do you use the most?
  29. Which features do you like the most?
  30. Which features do you dislike the most?
  31. Have you had to use our customer support services?
  32. How have you found these services?
  33. What is the biggest advantage our product has offered to your business?
  34. Were there any surprising advantages of using our product?
  35. What metrics do you track to do with our product?
  36. Did you track these metrics before using our product?
  37. Are you able to share these?
  38. Is there anyone in your team who particularly uses or likes our product?
  39. Is there anyone in your team who doesn’t really like our product?
  40. How did your team implement the product?
  41. How do you train people to use our product?
  42. How long does it take someone to get up to speed on our product / service?
  43. Has our product reduced cost in any way?
  44. Has our product saved time in any way?
  45. Has our product driven increased revenue in any way?
  46. Has our product made your job easier?

Gauge their level of advocacy

  1. Would you recommend our product to a friend or colleague?
  2. Have you already recommended our product to anyone?
  3. Can you think of anyone in your network who could really benefit from using our product?
  4. Do you have any advice for other companies facing the similar challenges you were?
  5. Do you think the investment in our product is worthwhile?

Identify potential new opportunities

  1. Will you expand use of our product into other areas of the business?

Gather important feedback

  1. Do you have any requests for new features?
  2. Do you have any feedback on our customer support?
  3. Do you have any general feedback or advice for our company?
  4. What are the biggest challenges coming up for your industry?
  5. Do you think our product will help you overcome those challenges?
  6. Is there anything we can do to help you tackle those challenges?
  7. Do you think you will continue to use our product next year?

Gain clarity about the process

  1. Are you open to working with us on additional marketing collateral?
  2. I noticed that your company has a presence on _____ social networks. Is that correct?
  3. Would you be willing to share our case study on these networks?
  4. Who within the business needs to approve this case study before it goes live?
  5. Is there anything you have told me today that is confidential or shouldn’t be included in the final case study?
  6. Finally, will you be available over the next few weeks to assist with approvals?

Three case study videos that we love

We’ve hand-picked three excellent case study videos to give you a feel for what great looks like.

iAuditor & E Light Electric Customer Story

A strong charismatic interview that draws the audience in. The juxtaposition of accounting software and visuals of a coffee shot/roasting is also interesting and we think it makes the viewer want to find out more (like “what is the link?”).

Xero: Truth Coffee


A strong charismatic interview that draws the audience in. The juxtaposition of accounting software and visuals of a coffee shot/roasting is also interesting and we think it makes the viewer want to find out more (like “what is the link?”).

Wiley: Chemistry Europe: Ben Feringa


What makes this for us is the interview. The subject’s really fascinating and it’s so obvious that he loves what he does and is passionate about chemistry – it’s contagious.

So, that’s almost everything we know about how to make a case study video. If you’d like Jamie to help you make a case study video,

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