18 March 2024

Marketing Case Studies: 2024 Trends & Insights for SaaS

As a sales tool, well-crafted and repurposable marketing case studies are hard to beat. Almost every SaaS company publishes case studies to demonstrate the real-world benefits of their products by showcasing the success stories of their customers.

But the customer advocacy landscape has shifted significantly over the past year, thanks to evolving strategies, priorities and technology. And as a community, we have a lot of questions. For example:

  • How are folks using AI to produce SaaS marketing case studies?
  • How many new stories are marketers planning to produce in 2024?
  • How do you get enterprise companies to participate in a case study?
  • What new formats, tactics or trends might work for me? 
  • Which customer advocacy activities have the most impact on revenue? 

So, for the third year in a row, our SaaS content marketing agency surveyed 115 of your customer marketing and advocacy peers, pulling back the curtain to compare and share experiences from SaaS companies both large and small. 

Read on to see what customer marketers are currently doing—and learn from their experiences to guide the planning and production of your own marketing case studies.

Included in this report

If you prefer, you can download the report as a PDF.

Case studies are important because customers can tell their stories better than we can. Their use cases are real-life—and great case studies demonstrate the value our product brings to their business.

Samira McDonald, Sr. Community Program Manager, Akeneo
Samira McDonald

Marketing case studies: still the #1 marketing tactic to increase sales

For the third year in a row, SaaS marketers ranked case studies the #1 most effective marketing tactic to increase sales—ahead of general website content, SEO, blog posts, social media, paid ads and other tactics.

In fact, this year, 49% of SaaS marketers said that case studies are ‘very effective’ at boosting sales—an increase from 39% last year.

How effective are these marketing tactics in increasing sales for SaaS companies?

Customer stories are important because our customers look to their peers for best practices and decision-making.

Rachael Taft, Customer Lifecycle Marketing Manager, Granicus
Rachael Taft

How many marketing case studies do you really need?

Survey respondents ranked marketing case studies as the most popular customer advocacy activity. But producing them requires a significant amount of time. 

The goal is to strike the balance between having enough SaaS marketing case studies to cover key products, features, use cases, verticals, company sizes and job titles—while not wasting resources by creating repetitive stories.

What that “right” number of case studies should be is different for everyone, but it’s useful to consider how many B2B marketing case study examples other SaaS companies are producing—and here’s a hint: that number is increasing year over year.

See blog post: 7 Ways to Repurpose Your Case Studies to Extend Their Value

Customer stories are important because they provide critical real-life social proof for prospects in the evaluation stages.

Jake Sotir, Growth Marketing Manager, Practice Better
Jake Sotir

How many marketing case studies do you currently have in use?

The trend is clear: B2B marketing case studies are a growing priority for SaaS companies. 

In our most recent survey, SaaS companies reported having 50 active written or video case studies on average in 2023—that’s an increase from 38 active stories in 2022, and 28 the year before.

Larger companies (500+ employees) have an average of 75 active case studies, while smaller companies (<500 employees) have an average of 24.

How many case studies do SaaS companies have in use?

Tip: Review your marketing case studies annually to see if any need to be removed or updated.

How many new marketing case studies did you produce in 2023?

SaaS companies produced an average of 14 new marketing case studies in 2023 (that’s an increase from 12 new stories in 2022 and 11 the year before). 

How many new case studies did SaaS companies produce in 2023 vs past years?

Interestingly, SaaS companies that use agencies or freelancers to write their case studies produced 67% more than those that wrote them in-house (18 vs 11).

How many new case studies did SaaS companies produce in-house vs using an agency in 2023?

Will you produce even more marketing case studies in 2024?

On average, SaaS companies plan to produce 19 new B2B marketing case studies in 2024, a 38% increase from how many they produced in 2023.

How many new case studies do SaaS companies plan to produce in 2024 vs 2023?

Tip: Scale your case study production by creating processes and templates to capture customer successes more easily.

What type of stories do you tell?

No doubt you’re familiar with the traditional Challenge/Solution/Results structure for marketing case study examples—most SaaS companies are, with 82% saying it’s one of their go-to story types

But we’re seeing a lot of movement towards other types of stories as well, including:

  • Use case stories: how the customer is using the solution
  • Best practices: advice from a customer on how to solve a common challenge
  • Adoption stories: how the customer learned the new solution and put it to use
  • Switcher stories: why a customer moved from a competitor to your company
  • Implementation stories: how the customer implemented the solution

Interestingly, use case stories are currently the most popular type of marketing case study to tell.

What types of case studies do SaaS companies tell?

Tip: Set a goal to experiment with at least two new story types this year.

Do any of your marketing case studies target existing customers?

Overwhelmingly, SaaS companies create digital marketing case studies to target prospective or new customers.

How many case studies are for prospective vs existing customers?

27% of survey respondents create marketing case studies to engage existing customers, showing them new use cases, features or additional products. 

Large SaaS companies with more than 500 employees are more likely to create stories for existing customers than smaller companies.

Tip: Use marketing case studies to help with adoption, cross-sell, upsell and retention.

Have you changed how you produce marketing case studies as a result of turmoil in the industry?

Many SaaS companies have felt the pinch of budget cuts and layoffs recently—or are facing that possibility. 

Despite this, 30% of respondents haven’t changed how they produce content marketing case studies. 

The other respondents are using 3 primary strategies for producing case studies in uncertain times:

  • 22% are producing more case studies because they drive sales
  • 22% are using AI to help produce case studies 
  • 21% are creating lower-cost case studies

As layoffs and budget cuts continue, what are SaaS companies changing about how they produce case studies?

Customer stories are important because, at N.Rich, roughly every other sales conversation with a prospect ends with the question, “Do you have a case study for this?” We couldn’t have converted most of our clients without customer stories.

Yulia Olennikova, Head of Marketing, N.Rich
Yulia Olennikova

What makes marketing case studies successful?

Our surveys consistently show that SaaS marketers agree on many of the critical elements of a successful marketing case study: they should have relevant metrics, discuss relatable business challenges, and tell an engaging story

But on other points—for example length of story and favorite format—there is a wider range of opinions. In this section, we dive into what makes great digital marketing case studies.

What formats are most popular for marketing case studies?

Most companies publish their B2B marketing case studies in multiple formats, according to our 2023 report. The most popular are: 

  • text (HTML) on the company website (74%)
  • text (PDF) on the company website (73%)
  • social media post (63%)

What case study formats do SaaS companies currently use?

What’s the breakdown of written vs video case studies?

Overall, 72% of current case studies are written and 28% are in video format. That split generally holds true no matter the:

  • size of the company
  • total number of case studies in use
  • whether those stories are created in-house or not

How many written vs video case studies do SaaS companies have?

While video case studies are considered more authentic and easier to consume by many, respondents gave 2 primary reasons for creating more written stories than video:

  • Customers are more willing to participate in written stories
  • Written stories are less expensive to produce

Tip: Some people prefer to read, while others prefer to watch a video. Where budget permits, create both written and video versions of each story to provide options—and get the most out of each story.

What case study formats do you want to try (or do more of) in 2024?

A year ago, 56% of SaaS companies said they wanted to try (or do more) video case studies in 2023. And many SaaS companies, particularly smaller ones, continue to want to produce more video stories.

But the top 2 marketing case study formats that marketers want to try (or do more of) in 2024 are: 

  • customer spotlights (showcasing one customer per month, for example) 
  • case study compilations (combining multiple stories into one document)

What case study formats do SaaS companies want to use more of in 2024?

Tip: Once you’ve created your written case study, it’s a relatively small lift to turn it into a number of other assets. Include other formats as part of the core deliverable.

How do you get your marketing case studies in front of more prospects or leads?

A great digital marketing case study means nothing if no one reads it! 

Most respondents (59%) for our 2023 report said their preferred method of getting eyeballs on case studies is by encouraging sales reps to use them in calls, emails and pitches. 50% said sharing on social media is effective.

The third most popular way of ensuring visibility for case studies is to place them on a prominent part of the website.

How do SaaS companies get the most eyeballs on their case studies?

Tip: Create a formal promotion and distribution strategy for your case studies.

How long should a marketing case study be? 

Across the board, respondents to the 2023 survey kept B2B marketing case studies between 500 and 1,000 words—as they did the previous year—regardless of company size or the number of case studies in use.

That said, our 2024 survey respondents have some different opinions: 

  • “We’ve recently been pushed to only produce short (<750 words) stories, which leaves out a lot of detail and nuance.”
  • “I think we need to move more away from challenge/solution/outcome and get deeper on the HOW/WHY for certain use cases.”
  • “The stories are short, and lack information and strategy. They tell me nothing and cannot be used on the customer side.”
  • “I think we do a good job at creating traditional stories. I’d like to see us get more creative in 2024 with more curated, snackable content.”
  • Our case studies are getting too long and don’t have enough impact. We need to make them more consumable.”

As you can see, there’s very little agreement on what length stories are ideal.

Tip: Create a mix of short, easily digestible stories and longer, more detailed stories.

Should you gate your marketing case studies?

For most SaaS marketers, the answer is ‘no.’ In the 2023 report, 76% of survey respondents said they don’t gate any of their marketing case studies, a sharp increase from 49% the previous year.   

For example, only 9% gate all of their case studies, while 15% gate some of them.

Tip: Make it easy for prospects to read about your customers’ successes. Don’t gate your case studies.

No CTA? You’re missing a key opportunity

A call to action (CTA) is an important element of content marketing case studies. A case study CTA directly invites readers to engage with your product or company at a deeper level, offering them a clear next step. 

Almost half (46%) of SaaS companies use a CTA in all of their case studies, according to our 2023 report, while a quarter don’t use a CTA at all.

The most common CTAs for content marketing case studies are: 

  • Book a demo (62%)
  • Contact us (38%)
  • Read another case study (20%)

Tip: In every case study you publish, tell readers what you want them to do next.

Do you use enough images in your marketing case studies?

You invest significant time and other resources in creating engaging marketing case study examples so be sure you’re making the most of every case study component—such as images and a compelling call-to-action—that could further boost the case study’s effectiveness.

While 93% of SaaS companies use images in their marketing case studies (according to our 2023 report), those images are incorporated in different ways.

Using pull quotes with design elements is the most popular graphic to include, followed by headshots with quotes. Icons in support of KPIs and metrics are third.

Photos of the customer’s product, headquarters or office, as well as charts, are less widely used.

How do SaaS companies incorporate images in their case studies?

Tip: Add images to your customer stories for visual interest, as well as credibility.

How do you find the right customers to participate in marketing case studies? 

Finding enthusiastic customers with a great story to tell can be challenging. In this section, we look at how you can encourage your sales team to identify participants for marketing case studies. 

We also explore ways you can encourage customers to participate—and why some customers still say ‘no.’

Download the cheat sheet: 41 Ways to Identify Customers for Case Studies

Customer stories are important because brand trust is low. People want to hear directly from the product users!

Rachel Ward, Director of Customer Marketing, Absorb
Rachel Ward

How do you choose which stories to tell?

Though it would be great to tell the story of every happy customer, that’s usually not feasible. Instead, you need to be strategic about which customers to feature in your marketing case study examples.

Most SaaS marketers say that the #1 criterion to consider when deciding which stories to tell is the impact of the results, according to our 2023 report. 

Other key considerations are: 

  • alignment of the customer’s story to the SaaS company’s strategy
  • availability of metrics
  • various use cases

Characteristics of the customer company (like size, region and industry) are of secondary importance, although SaaS marketers do prefer to profile well-known companies when possible.

What factors are most important when choosing which case studies to create?

Tip: To decide which stories to prioritize, assess your goals, gaps and current stories, then build a roadmap.  (Thanks for the tip Mary Green!)

Logos are important

A strong majority (close to 80%) of SaaS companies include the customer name and logo in all of their digital marketing case studies, according to our 2023 report. Only 3% of companies have mostly non-logoed case studies.

Tip: Foster trust by placing your customer’s logo on the landing page for all of your marketing case studies, as well as on the individual story page.

Motivate your sales team to find happy customers

Sales development representatives (SDRs), account managers and customer success managers (CSMs) play an important role in identifying and securing participants for marketing case studies. 

Most SaaS companies use “emotional” tactics to motivate their employees to identify ideal case study candidates, according to our 2023 report. 

For example, the company reminds their employees of the benefits of a case study to the company, as well as to them personally (67%), or the company fosters a cooperative, team environment (54%).

About 25% of companies give gift certificates, swag or cash to motivate their employees to find case study participants in 2023, which is a 20% increase over the previous year. The most common dollar value for the incentive to the SDRs, account managers and CSMs was $50 to $100 USD (38%) or $200 to $500 USD (29%).

How do SaaS companies motivate their sales team to identify customers for case studies?

Tip: Meet with the sales team regularly to build a collaborative relationship.

Incentivize your customers to participate in marketing case studies: yes or no?

Marketers rarely directly incentivize customers to participate in marketing case studies. According to our 2023 report, over 50% of the SaaS companies surveyed offer customers no specific incentives to participate in a case study—happy customers love to share their stories. 

About 40% of companies proactively build case study participation into an initial contract. Almost 70% of companies offer an indirect incentive to their customers by explaining the benefits of participating.

But some SaaS companies do sweeten the pot with direct incentives, including reduced fees for future services, swag or gifts. For those who offered direct incentives in 2023, the dollar value was most commonly under $50 USD (36%) or $100 to $200 USD (28%).

Customer stories are important because they are roadmaps to success and third-party validation for partnering with Level.

Brian Shipley, Director, Customer Marketing, Level Access
Brian Shipley

What are your biggest challenges with marketing case studies?

This year, most survey respondents agree that the 3 biggest challenges in producing quality case studies are: 

  • Finding customers to participate or willing to be named  
  • Identifying impactful metrics 
  • Getting approvals from customers 

Download the cheat sheet: 41 Ways to Identify Customers to Participate in Case Studies

What are the biggest challenges for SaaS companies in producing quality case studies?

How do you secure participation in case studies from enterprise companies?

A marketing case study from an enterprise company is valuable for its persuasiveness, credibility and ability to showcase your solution at scale. 

But it can also be VERY challenging to get permission to produce enterprise stories—and get them approved.

The most common obstacles that slow down or even block enterprise stories from seeing the light of day include: 

  • extensive legal and approval processes
  • confidentiality and proprietary concerns

Other challenges highlighted by our survey respondents include:

  • “Strict PR / external endorsement policies”
  • “Too many people involved in the process and too long to accomplish”
  • “Getting their attention”
  • “Not enough time with those types of customers”

Even with many challenges at play, an impressive 82% of SaaS companies have successfully secured case study participation from enterprise companies.

And they’ve done it using a variety of tactics, including:

1. Relationship-building and trust

  • Fostering trust between CSMs and the enterprise
  • Collaborating with the customer on the storytelling
  • Timing the request strategically, such as after a big win
  • Having executive sponsors or high-level management initiate the request 

2. Emphasizing mutual benefits

  • Boosting visibility of the customer’s company 
  • Enhancing the customer’s (company and personal) brand  
  • Offering incentives and rewards
  • Attracting talent by showing the company to be a leader or innovator

3. Contractual and control considerations

  • Ensuring security and privacy concerns are respected and mitigated
  • Offering content control and final approval
  • Incorporating case study participation in contracts
  • Engaging with the customer’s PR and legal teams from the start to ensure smooth approvals and adherence to guidelines 

See 41 ways to identify customers to participate in case studies.

Customer stories are the proof point that our company uses to demonstrate that we can deliver on the promises we’re making to the market.

Andrew Sevillia, Customer Marketing and Advocacy, UiPath
Andrew Sevillia

10 tips for getting enterprise companies to participate in case studies

We asked the survey respondents how they get enterprise customers to agree to participate in content marketing case studies. Here’s what they said:

“We enable our sales teams to introduce customer marketing opportunities early on in the sales cycle so bigger accounts view it as a community value-add and are more inclined to share their stories.” – Hannah McKeen, Senior Customer Marketing Manager, Jellyfish

“I often lead with other avenues first to engage the customer, like speaking at an event. I then use that as the flywheel to create written content. I very rarely lead with ‘let’s do a case study’ since this approach will often get shut down by PR/legal.” – Tiffany Keel, Customer Marketing Professional

Provide them with a packet full of co-marketing opportunities, as well as provide all raw footage to them for their use. Make it all for and about them. Toss in a few free tickets for your annual conference.” – Michael Sciano, Senior Customer Marketing Manager, ServiceTitan

What I’ve seen work well in the past few years: outlining the process (and how easy we’ll make it for them), sharing examples of other companies who’ve done stories with us, offering full editing rights, including ‘participation in a case study’ as an upfront ask in contracts, not letting “logo use” make or break a collaboration, and staying open to anonymized stories (if they’re strong!).” – April Runft, Senior Content Marketer, Vyond

I find out what their brand messaging and main value drivers are and make sure to include that in my story pitch.” – Elizabeth Raffa, Customer Marketing Lead, HackerOne

Convince them that the story is a vehicle to attract more high-end talent for their teams.” – Daniel Palay, Senior Manager of Customer Advocacy, Grafana Labs

Building it in their contracts and providing a discount for services in return for stories.” – Becca Snee, Customer Advocacy Manager, Total Expert

Use the relationship owner, and ask after a big win. Make sure you know exactly what the story is that you want to tell, and be ultra-specific on what the deliverables will be.

Never use the term case study (it sounds clinical and like it might divulge sensitive info). Instead, use terms like, “share your successes with…,” or “highlight what you accomplished.

All things considered, people who work at enterprise companies are still people. They want to feel in control of the process and be proud of the final result
.” – Patrick Kalie, Senior Customer Marketing Manager, Swoogo

Interview the most senior people you can as part of the case study so that they won’t need approval from anyone else to publish the story.” – Lauren Turner, Director of Customer Marketing, Alyce

Work with your PR teams to make in-roads with your clients’ PR teams. Getting senior leaders from large enterprises in an interview is so much easier if they see it as mutually beneficial. Just like you, your clients want to build the brand of their people or their company. Just make your job easier by aligning with those who have a similar charge within your client base.

If you have other roads to get your customer in front of a camera on a more casual basis, do it! Best to start with capturing the customer evidence first. That way you can leverage it privately. Then work for permissions before pouring time and money into getting your content polished for publication
.” – Kyle Yantis, Associate Director of Customer Experience, SlapFive

Do you have strong metrics in your marketing case studies?

Another challenge marketers commonly face is getting strong metrics for case studies. 

Potential customers want to know how your SaaS products can solve their challenges and improve their bottom line. Nothing illustrates that better than concrete numbers in a relatable case study.

See blog post: Struggling to Get Case Study Metrics? Here’s What You Can Do

Metrics make an impact in marketing case studies

3 in 4 companies (74%) have metrics in at least half of their marketing case studies—and 25% have them in almost all their case studies, according to our 2023 report. Only 8% of SaaS companies have case studies without any metrics.

How to get metrics that matter

We asked respondents how they get metrics to use in their marketing case studies for our 2023 report. Here’s what they said:

How do SaaS companies get metrics to use in their case studies?

Tip: Don’t wait until the interview to ask the customer about metrics. Very few people know this information off the top of their heads.

Keep on top of KPIs  

One important way to ensure you have great metrics for case studies is to schedule regular conversations with your customers on exactly that topic. Together, you can decide on the best KPIs to track and measure—and how to do that. 

The majority of SaaS companies discuss KPIs, benchmarks and metrics with their customers at least once a quarter

While these conversations are important, their frequency varies considerably by customer:

  • 5% of companies discuss KPIs with customers more than once a month
  • 21% do so monthly
  • 30% quarterly
  • 32% less than quarterly

How often do companies talk to customers about KPIs, benchmarks and metrics?

Customer stories are important because I subscribe to the philosophy that there’s no selling tool more powerful than the voice of the customer.

Tom Haushalter, Content Marketing Manager, Global Marketing, Nordhealth
Tom Haushalter

How do you get approval for your marketing case studies?

Another big challenge when producing case studies is getting them approved. Last year, a third of our survey respondents had at least one case study NOT get approved

SaaS companies use a variety of tactics to secure approvals, but the top 2 strategies are:

  1. Positioning the story as great exposure for the customer
  2. Making any edits the customer requests

What strategies to SaaS companies use to ensure case studies get approved?

Tip: Nail down approvals before you start interviews or writing the story.

Produce marketing case studies in-house or outsource? And what about AI?

We all know that marketing case studies can be a beast to produce. From first identifying the customer to final approval, it can take weeks, if not months, to create a compelling story that your customer approves.

Last year, we found that it takes an average of 2 months to produce a case study.

Within that time frame, the marketing team spends an average of 12.7 hours actively working on each case study.

Tip: Consider outsourcing case study production if your marketing team is overwhelmed or you need to scale production quickly.

Who writes your marketing case studies?

The majority of smaller SaaS companies—those with 500 employees or less—rely on in-house writers or in-house marketers to write their marketing case study examples. 

In-house writers and agency writers most often write case studies for large SaaS companies with 500 employees or more.

Find out how to write a case study in 9 steps.

Who writes the case studies at SaaS companies?

Does outsourcing the writing really save time?

Our respondents say ‘yes!’ Using an agency or freelancer saves marketers 12.5 hours per case study

If you’re planning to produce 19 case studies this year (like our survey respondents are), using an agency or freelancer could save you 237.5 hours this year—that’s 34 work days

Check out our case study writing service.

Tip: Think about what you and your team could accomplish if you “found” 34 extra work days.

And speaking of saving time…

Should you use AI in case study production?

2023 brought wide access to generative AI tools like ChatGPT. Already, over a third of SaaS companies surveyed (36%) use AI in at least one step of case study production. 

AI use is highest in smaller SaaS companies, with 49% reporting some AI use in at least one step of case study production.

Do SaaS companies use AI to help produce case studies?

Tip: Dive in and experiment with AI to see what might work for you—or not.

What case study tasks is AI best for?

When it comes to producing marketing case study examples, SaaS companies use AI most often for organizational or administrative tasks, such as transcribing interviews, organizing notes or creating an outline. 

What steps in the case study production process do SaaS companies use (or want to try) AI tools for?

Companies are less likely to trust AI for creative or storytelling work such as identifying pull quotes or writing a first draft. 

This is not a surprise, given that 75% of respondents say their biggest concern with AI is its lack of nuance in telling a human story.

Interestingly, over one-third of respondents say they’ll never trust AI to write a first draft.

Editing, proofing or formatting work is even less likely to be assigned to AI. Other key concerns are plagiarism and duplicate content.  

Tip: Double down on the tasks that AI does well.

What steps in the case study production process do SaaS companies use (or want to try) AI tools for?

Does AI save time with customer story production?

While some SaaS companies have turned to generative AI tools such as ChatGPT for help producing B2B marketing case studies, those that do report that AI saves just 1 hour per story.

Customer stories are the breath of the company and it brings our aspirations to life when our customers sees the value we bring to their day-to-day business.

Div Manickam, Mentor & Product Marketing Influencer,
Div Manickam

Are you happy with your marketing case studies? 

SaaS marketers agree that the most effective case studies:

  • include relevant metrics
  • discuss relatable business challenges
  • tell an engaging story

Overall, SaaS marketers are satisfied that their case studies contain those key elements.

But our 2023 report did identify a few key areas marketers want to improve:

  • Stronger metrics and KPIs that show results
  • Using the case study more often in a variety of ways
  • Adding video elements

How satisfied are you with your case studies?

Only 12% of SaaS marketers are ‘very satisfied’ with their case studies—that’s about the same as last year, but a little less than 2 years ago. 

That said, 53% of respondents are ‘rather satisfied’ with their stories, which means the majority of marketers are more-or-less satisfied with their case studies, but feel there is some room for improvement.

How satisfied are SaaS marketers with their case studies overall?

Frank talk from respondents on how satisfied they are

Our survey included a few open-ended questions, inviting respondents to speak candidly about their specific experiences and reflections on how satisfied they are with their case studies. 

Here’s what they had to say: 

On customer story fails 

Respondents listed 4 main areas of dissatisfaction with their current slate of case studies:

1. They lack impactful metrics
  • “We can rarely name names, and even less frequently capture ROI/value proof points.”
  • “The hardest part is gathering ROI metrics from customers. Oftentimes, customers can easily identify the challenges and solutions, but have a hard time quantifying the impact. Many of our case studies get stalled because we are missing that metrics/stats piece.”
2. They’re too long
  • “Our case studies are getting too long and don’t have enough impact. Need to make them more consumable.”
3. Content isn’t powerful or pointed enough
  • “I don’t think our case studies are convincing or relevant.”
  • “Due to leadership changes over time, there’s a lack of consistency in the stories.”
4. There’s not enough of them
  • “We can’t get customers to agree to do them. We can’t get the metrics from the customers. They’re reluctant.
  • “We need to be more proactive in asking customers for participation.”

On case study wins

Respondents also gave 4 main areas of satisfaction with their case studies:

1. The customer is the hero—and happy
  • “We put the customer first and our tech as the supporting character.”
  • “We are lucky and have a healthy bench wanting to share their stories and explore creative ways to develop them.”
2. Variety of stories
  • “We have a wide range of case studies with really tangible outcomes.”
  • “We’re building a diverse library of industries, use cases and role levels, and we’re making strides on creating more video content.”
3. Concrete metrics
  • “Our stories are clear, concise and increasingly metrics-driven, which resonates well with various buyer personas.”
  • “We have hard numbers in our case studies which makes them more trustworthy. We also stay in touch with customers and try to update the stories as some major changes happen.”
4. Great team
  • “We have an outstanding team that really brings out the best customer experiences within a story.”
  • “We have a strong comms team and storytelling is what they do best.”

On plans for improvement

A few common themes emerged when survey respondents discussed their customer story goals for 2024: 

  • Diversity: “Most of our stories are very similar. In 2024, we’ll focus on expanding our stories to dive into specific use cases to increase retention and expansion.”
  • Need more: “I need to get more enterprise stories. We’ve just run a nominations campaign and now have more in the pipeline.”
  • Strategy: “We haven’t had enough bandwidth to create a cohesive promotional strategy.”
  • Simplify: “We need more case studies and need to simplify the process of procuring them.”

With an expensive and complicated product, our buyers want assurances that we can deliver on our promises. Customer stories validate and reinforce our messaging.

James Lustenader, Sr. Manager, Customer Advocacy, Planview
James Lustenader

How do you measure the success of your marketing case studies?

A third of SaaS marketers say they don’t measure the performance of their case studies at all because they lack the time or resources to do so.

The rest of the respondents use a variety of tactics to evaluate the success of their case studies:

  • Video views and time on page are more widely used this year over last
  • Landing page traffic, frequency of use by sales reps, and feedback from sales reps remain key indicators of success
  • Clicks from social media has decreased in importance as a way to measure success

How do SaaS companies measure the performance of their case studies?

Tip: It’s hard to measure how case studies impact sales, but you need to try. Pick 2 to 5 metrics and measure them consistently.

Which customer advocacy activities give the best ROI?

What is customer advocacy?

Customer advocacy is putting your customers’ needs first to build meaningful relationships and deliver solutions. 

When customers are supported, successful and happy, they will often become advocates for your company and participate in customer advocacy activities, like case studies, reference calls and speaking events.

From content marketing case studies to video testimonials to webinars, the list of possible customer advocacy activities is long—and busy customer marketers and customer advocacy professionals are spread thin. 

Small teams, sometimes left scrambling in the wake of layoffs, budget cuts and restructuring, are often asked to do more with less.

In these challenging times, it becomes more important than ever to prioritize—and that’s a balancing act between resources and return. 

We asked our survey respondents to rank their customer advocacy activities using a few different factors:

  • Most used
  • Biggest impact on revenue
  • Smallest dollar amount spent
  • Easiest to get customer participation
  • Most requested by sales teams
  • Least amount of time required

Tip: Think about the factors that are most important for your company when deciding which advocacy activities to prioritize.

What customer advocacy activities do you ask customers to participate in the most?

Of the 10 customer advocacy activities we asked about in the survey, 96% of respondents say they ask customers to participate in written case studies

Written case studies are also a favorite of sales teams, who request them more than any other advocacy activity. 

Speaking events, including webinars (89% of respondents), and video case studies (84%) were the next activities that marketers ask customers to participate in the most. 

Which advocacy activities do SaaS companies ask customers to participate in?

Tip: Put a plan in place to make sure your best advocates aren’t bombarded by requests.

How willing are customers to participate in advocacy activities?

Of course, customer advocacy doesn’t work without engaged and agreeable customers. And customer participation is easier to secure for some activities over others. 

Survey respondents selected the 3 customer advocacy activities that are easiest to get customers to participate in. Here’s what they said:

  1. Reference calls with prospects (44%)
  2. Written case studies (39%)
  3. Written testimonials (37%)

Tip: Find out what activities your individual advocates prefer, then try to stick to those activities when making participation requests to each of them.

Which advocacy activities impact revenue most?

The ultimate goal of most customer advocacy activities is to boost sales and revenue. To that end, SaaS marketers say the 3 customer advocacy activities with the most impact on revenue are:

  1. Reference calls (72%)
  2. Written case studies (49%)
  3. Speaking events, including webinars (42%)

What customer advocacy activities have the biggest impact on revnue  vs how much they're used?

Customer stories are important because they bring our solution to life. Peer insights are critical in our market.

Ken Roden, Sr. Director, Global Marketing, Wiley
Ken Roden

Which advocacy activities do sales teams request most?

Sales reps rely on customer marketing and advocacy teams to provide collateral to help them close bigger deals, faster.

Asked to identify the 3 types of advocacy activities that sales teams ask for the most, survey respondents said:

  1. Written case studies (76%)
  2. Reference calls (67%)
  3. Video case studies (35%)

Tip: Work closely with sales to identify customers who have a great story to tell.

Which advocacy activities do you spend the most money on?

Customer marketers and advocacy professionals are always careful to look at their budget when weighing up the costs of each activity versus the impact the activity has on revenue.

Asked to select the 3 customer advocacy activities they spend the most money on, survey respondents said: 

  1. Speaking events, including webinars (52%)
  2. Video case studies (50%)
  3. Written case studies (30%)

What customer advocacy activities have the smallest budget and the biggest impact on revenue?

Customer stories are important because they add a human element to the product. Especially since SaaS is an online product, it reminds buyers that there are humans who use 6sense and in doing so, their lives are made easier.

Grace Gagnon, Customer Stories Manager, 6sense
Grace Gagnon

Do you have a customer advisory board?

Customer advisory boards (CABs) are used more commonly by bigger companies than smaller ones—76% of SaaS companies with more than 500 employees use them, while only 42% of companies with less than 500 employees do. 

Implementing and running the boards requires a significant investment. 47% of companies that have a CAB rank it as one of the advocacy activities they spend the most money on.

Having the right kind of customer stories is so important. Knowing the target audience is critical so you can align the message with the audience. Prospects are looking for different insights from stories as compared to customers.

Michael Sciano, Senior Customer Marketing Manager, ServiceTitan
Michael Sciano

What are the pros and cons of each advocacy activity?

In this section, we distill the responses to our survey questions about which customer advocacy activities marketers prefer and why. It’s a great resource to use as you develop your customer advocacy strategies.

Pros and cons: at a glance

What are the pros and cons of different customer advocacy activities?

Pros and cons: a detailed summary

Let’s look at the details behind those happy faces. Here are specific pros and cons for each of the 10 customer advocacy activities, according to your customer marketing peers.

Advocacy activityProsCons
Written case studiesMost used activity

Fairly easy to secure customer participation

Most requested by sales teams 

Relatively small amount of money spent on this activity

2nd highest impact on revenue
Time intensive
Speaking events, including webinarsMost SaaS companies use this activity

Ranked 3rd in terms of biggest impact on revenue (but only 42% of respondents said it has a ‘big impact’ on revenue)
Both small and large SaaS companies spend the most money on this activity

2nd highest time investment

Video case studiesMost SaaS companies use this activity

3rd most requested activity by sales (but only half as much as written stories)
Companies spend the 2nd highest dollar amount on this activity

3rd biggest investment of time

Most difficult activity to secure customer participation in 

Relatively low impact on revenue (ranked #5 of 10 activities for having the most impact on revenue)
Reference calls with prospectsMost SaaS companies use this activity

Highest impact on revenue

Companies spend a relatively small dollar amount on this activity

Less time-consuming than many other activities

Easiest to secure customer participation in

Ranked #2 among activities most requested by sales
Written testimonials3rd easiest activity to get customers to participate in

Little time investment required 

Companies spend the least on this activity
Very little impact on revenue
Video testimonialsNoneNot in top 5 advocacy activities (but used more at big SaaS companies)

Most difficult activity to secure participation in (tied for 1st with video case studies)

4th biggest dollar investment
Low impact on revenue
Peer reviewsRelatively easy to secure participation

Low time and dollar investment
Not in top 5 advocacy activities (but 65% of respondents use it)

Low impact on revenue
Customer advisory boards (CABs)76% of big SaaS companies have one (vs 42% for small companies)1 of top 3 biggest dollar investments for big companies

Low impact on revenue

Difficult to secure
customer participation
ReferralsUsed more often in small SaaS companies than big companies

High impact on revenue 

Relatively small investment of money and time
Difficult to secure participation
Social media sharing and engagementSmall investment of money and timeLeast used customer advocacy activity

Moderately challenging to get customers to participate in

Very little impact on revenue

Tip: Prioritize the customer advocacy activities that currently work well for your company, your sales team and your advocates.

If you’d like, you can download the report as a PDF.

Thank you to all survey respondents

If you were one of the 115 marketers who completed our survey this year, thank you! Your input has provided valuable case study trends and insights that all customer marketing and advocacy professionals can make smarter decisions from. 

Survey methodology

We surveyed 115 SaaS customer marketers or professionals in similar roles who currently use case studies as a marketing tool. 

We collected survey responses from Nov. 14, 2023, to Dec. 12, 2023, using an online survey tool. We recruited respondents through customer marketing-related Slack groups, LinkedIn and Uplift Content’s newsletter.

80% of the companies our survey respondents work for are based in the United States. 3% work for companies based in Canada and 3% in the UK. 

The remaining 14% of respondents work for companies based in Israel, India, Hungary, Germany, Finland, Pakistan, France, Czech Republic, Brazil and Australia.

Report included some information from previous years

Most information in this report is from the survey we conducted at the end of 2023 (for this 2024 report) with 115 customer marketing and advocacy professionals. 

We’ve also included a small amount of information from the 2023 report. We’ve clearly indicated these instances.

Why are we using some older information? 

We can only ask so many questions in each survey—and our surveys are long as it is! 

For the 2024 report, we wanted to dive into some new topics. This meant we weren’t able to ask all of the same questions from previous years, but we didn’t want to leave any valuable or relevant information out of this year’s report.

Need a hand with your marketing case studies?

At Uplift Content, we write case studies for high-growth B2B SaaS companies like ClickUp, WalkMe and Okta.

Check out our customer story writing service.

When I started at ClickUp, we had nearly zero case studies. I was under a lot of pressure to produce stories quickly to support our marketing and sales enablement efforts. 

Working with Uplift was a game-changer for us! We were able to scale our strategic case study output 3x since partnering with Uplift.

Tiffany Keel, Former Head of Customer Advocacy, ClickUp
Tiffany Keel

« back to all posts
Avatar photo
Emily Amos

As the founder of Uplift Content, Emily leads her team in creating done-for-you case studies, ebooks and blog posts for high-growth SaaS companies like ClickUp, Calendly and WalkMe. Connect with Emily on Linkedin

Back to Top