A Practical Guide to User Stories, Use Cases, and Case Studies: When to Use What

If you’re a product marketer, you’ve heard about user stories, use cases, and case studies. But do you know what each one is, and when you should use them? It’s easy to be confused about them at first because they sound so similar.

However, each of these tools serves a different purpose. When used together, they can help you create a more compelling and effective marketing strategy for your product.

What are user stories?

User stories are a fantastic way to understand the specific needs and wants of your target customers. They’re usually written by the product manager or a developer. They are written from the customer’s perspective and describe the specific things that the customer wants to be able to do with your product.

For example, “As a cloud architect, I want to be able to reuse ansible scripts across different cloud architectures.”

User stories help developers build the right product features to solve customer problems. But product marketers also should understand them! They can be used to create targeted marketing messages and campaigns that speak directly to the pain points and needs of your target customers.

What are use cases?

Use cases, on the other hand, describe the different ways that customers might use your product and the different scenarios that may arise. These will also most likely be written by the product manager or development team.

Use cases describe the full range of benefits that your product can provide. They will answer “what problems will this product solve for the target audience?” When you know the use cases for a product, you can use them to create marketing messages that highlight those benefits.

For example, a use case for a cloud backup service might describe how the service can be used to protect against ransomware, or to align to a customers’ cloud-first policies. When you understand these different use cases, you can create more effective marketing messages that speak to specific customer segments.

What are case studies?

Finally, case studies are a great way to demonstrate the real-world value of your product. Case studies are almost always written by the marketing team. Here’s a typical outline for a case study:

  • Description of the customer’s company
  • Description of the customer’s problem or gap
  • How the product helped the customer solve the problem
  • Results from solving the problem

For example, a case study for an infrastructure automation platform might describe how a specific company was able to use the platform to decrease deployment time and costs by x%.

Case studies are social proof to potential customers that provide concrete examples of how your product has helped other businesses in similar situations. You write them based on your messaging, but you get customers explaining in their words how your product works to solve real problems.

User stories, use cases, and case studies: putting it altogether

When used together, user stories, use cases, and case studies can help you create a more compelling and effective marketing strategy for your product. If you work together with your product management and development team, you can understand the specific needs of your target customers, demonstrate the full range of benefits that your product can provide, and build trust and credibility with potential customers.

Digital Sunshine Solutions can help you with getting case studies published. If you’re looking for some help building your use cases, let’s talk!


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