12 February 2019

How to Write an Executive Summary for a Case Study

The first thing you do when faced with any study or report is read the executive summary or overview—right? Then you decide if reading the rest of the material is worth your time. This is why it is so important for you to learn how to write an executive summary for a case study.

The executive summary of your case study serves exactly the same function. If the reader sees nothing beyond this section, they will still walk away with a good understanding of your service.

A great summary might even be enough for a reader to pass the information along to the decision-makers in their organization.

That’s why every word counts

When thinking about how to write an executive summary for a case study, you need to create 2 or 3 crucial sentences that provide a concise overview of the case study. It must be informative and:

  • summarize the story by introducing the customer and their pain points
  • explain what your organization did
  • highlight the key results, including 1 or 2 statistics that drive home the takeaway message

Write the executive summary first to help you focus the rest of the case study. But don’t be too rigid: in the process of reviewing the interview transcript or writing the main copy, another point or statistic may emerge as having more impact than what you’ve chosen to highlight. Revisit your executive summary after writing the case study to make sure it’s as strong and accurate as possible.

Executive summaries can be short and sweet

Customer Story, executive summary case study

https://segment.com/customers/prosper

This is a good headline followed by a glorified subhead—but it does the trick!

Sometimes you may need a longer executive summary

For complex case studies, you may need a more in-depth executive summary to give readers an overview of the case study.

executive summary case study

https://www.fairwarning.com/success-stories/cloud-security/cloud-data-security-midland-ira/

It’s a bit lengthy, but it effectively introduces the client, outlines their challenge, and describes the solution and result. It sets the stage for further reading.

Sometimes executive summaries miss the mark entirely

bullhorn,  executive summary case study

https://www.bullhorn.com/customers/

This is not an executive summary. It is merely an introduction. We have no idea what the problem or solution is, and there’s nothing to motivate us to read further.

You can do better

Be precise. Impress the reader with key results. Let them see that you offer solutions that matter.

Leave a comment with some of the “best” and “worst” executive summaries you’ve seen in case studies.

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Emily Amos
Emily Amos

As the founder of Uplift Content, Emily leads teams in creating done-for-you case studies, ebooks and white papers for high-growth SaaS companies. Check out her bio.

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