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Proven: Case Studies, Customer Stories Impact Willingness to Pay

Patrick Campbell Aug 15 2018

We live in a fascinating world where even though our advancement as a society has bred the luxury of individuality, we still want to see ourselves in the others that we want to surround ourselves with, because this gives us comfort and trust in the relationships that we undertake.

At least that’s the theory of case studies and customer stories - “Oh I know Sharon. She uses this product? I guess I can use this product, too”. Can we possibly be that primal though?  Maybe.

On this episode of the ProfitWell Report, Debbie Pinard, Head of Strategy at InitLive, asks us to look at how case studies and customer stories impact willingness to pay. To answer Debbie’s question, we designed a pricing experiment with nearly 30 thousand different subscription consumers across B2B and B2C. Here’s what we found.





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To test this, we asked customers their willingness to pay for a product without any customer stories or testimonials. We then asked similar customers on a demographic basis their willingness to pay for the same product, but with different levels of customer stories.

In B2B, simply having a customer ribbon or basic testimonials directionally improved willingness to pay. The variation here is pretty wide, but the upward trend indicates roughly a 5% bump in willingness to pay with that little bit of social proof. This trend becomes meaningful when customers were exposed to a mini-case study or a full case study with willingness to pay gains crossing the 10% threshold and trending even as high as 30%.

Case Studies Increase B2B Willingness to Pay

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B2C showed essentially the same exact trend, with basic social proof coming in a bit lower than B2B and a full case study trending higher than B2B. 

B2C Willingness to Pay Jumps with Social Proof

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Further, the specificity of the case study seems to have a lot of power. Most case studies you read are very “I love the product. It had a good result” whereas others go into incredible detail. That detail pays off, as in B2B specific case studies increase willingness to pay at double the rate of generalized ones. In B2C specific case studies increase willingness to pay at 5x the rate of generalized ones.


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Essentially, if we see ourselves or at least have enough context to understand that a product worked for someone similar to ourselves, we trust that the solution being provided will work and are willing to pay for that outcome. After all, we’ve evolved a lot as humans, but our basic characteristics of trusting the known is still something beautiful when it comes to product marketing.

Well, that's all for now. If you have a question, ship me an email or video to and let's also thank Debbie for sparking this research by clicking the link below to share and give him a shoutout. We’ll see you next week.

By Patrick Campbell

Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.

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