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Joel Klettke on the Perfect Case Study, Why Process Matters, and Mindset Shifts to Tackle Fear and Uncertainty

Joel Klettke on the Perfect Case Study, Why Process Matters, and Mindset Shifts to Tackle Fear and Uncertainty

As a business owner, you’re probably juggling many things at any given moment. You’re trying to keep up with the latest trends in your industry, keep your customers happy, and ensure that everyone on your team has what they need to do their job well.

But too often, these tasks are competing for your attention and are all important. You can’t afford to let any one of these things fall through the cracks. But if you want to succeed, you need to remember that there’s always more work to do. That means ensuring you’re not just doing what needs to be done today; you’re also thinking about how your business will grow tomorrow.

Case studies are focused on one specific client or customer. They explain how your company helped them reach their goals and how that has impacted their overall success as an organization or individual. If you want more clients but don’t know where to start, then case studies are the perfect place for you! They show potential customers exactly what they’ll get if they choose to work with your company, which makes it easier for them to decide whether or not they should hire someone like you.

In this episode, one of the co-founders of Be Omniscient, Alex Birkett, is joined by Joel Klettke, the founder @ Case Study Buddy | End-to-end case studies and video testimonials that sell for B2B, who shares deeply about his experiences in business marketing in case studies and how to put best case studies practices into your business to nature it effectively as it grows.


  • How Joel’s Mindset of Self-Reflection in Self-Management Has Shifted
  • Has Adding Constraints Forced the Idea of Being More Effective?
  • Ignoring Small Problems To Focus on Bigger Stuff Ahead of You
  • The Biggest Challenge in Making the Transition From Being Solo to a Business Owner
  • Maintaining the Path That Keeps the Business Fired Up
  • How To Get Successful Multiple Businesses
  • Joel’s Point of Realization in His Business
  • The Importance of Having a Homogeneous Process
  • Why Large Companies Struggle To Produce Case Studies
  • What Case Studies Really Entail in Business
  • How To Identify a Good Case Study
  • Importance of Looking for Value Beyond the Results
  • Holding On to Your Business
  • AI Content in Business Marketing

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Key Takeaways:

[11:12] How Joel’s Mindset of Self-Reflection in Self-Management Has Shifted

As a company grows, there’s a huge mind shift and new kinds of stressors

“You know, around the time of the end of my consulting work is when I, for the first time got an executive coach, and sort of getting someone to help me be accountable and look at the world in a different way. It’s when I started running, trying to make time for health and fitness in a broader sense and started doing your own vulnerability a bit. But then, as a company grows, there’s a huge mind shift, mindset shift there, too. And new kinds of stressors, the things that stress me out now are different. When you’ve got people relying on you, it’s how can I build this for them? Or how can I keep this going? How can I position in a way that keeps us afloat? There’s a lot of tension and friction and stress that comes with challenging parts of who you’ve been, when you’re a lone wolf. And you do things your way all the time adapting to I have a team to teach and nurture and lead, I haven’t always been the best at that. And then working in a team is a completely different experience than working on your own to, you know, can you you need different ways of communicating, you need different ways of being collaborative, you need different ways of making yourself available and visible to those people. So there’s been a lot of changes, a lot of things that I’ve gone through, I think, to cap it off, like there will always be things that will stress you out, there will always be more money to be made, there will always be bigger or more or different clients to work with working to define like what you actually want from life and what serves you and what serves people around you, I think takes some level experience maturity that we just took a longer time to figure out and I continue to figure out all on my face of it with do you feel like.”

[13:34 ]Has Adding Constraints Forced the Idea of Being More Effective?

If you don’t have a system for allocating your time, or if you don’t have a means of delegating things, constraints will affect you

“Yeah, so that’s the thing, everybody, everybody’s gonna spin it in the positive, right? And they’re gonna say like, yeah, it really forced me to focus. No one’s going to come on, say like, yeah, force me to focus. And also I still overworked. Right? And I think, yeah, it does, you know, I have had to get more ruthless about my time and what I get done in it. But I think I want to be honest with the fact that it creates, again, new tension. And if you don’t have a system for allocating your time, or if you don’t have a means of delegating things, right, you have to get in those situations. It’s not just what constraints are there. You can have constraints and so blow past those constraints or cram too much within those constraints. I think there’s a brutally honest conversation you have to have with yourself ongoing, which is where am i doing too much? What can I continue to let go of? And that it’s not instantaneous? It’s not like, oh, kids are going on like, okay, I can suddenly focus like a superhero. It’s a lot of tough learning. Right. And for me, that’s certainly been the case. Again, even now as case study would go through changes and, you know, I’m pulled in more directions now that I have more people I’m still pulled into, well, there’s a an accounting issue or oh, there’s a sales issue or whatever, even though you have in sometimes leaders in those seats or people you’ve delegated to, and so yes, it has forced me to focus and do more in less time. But it’s also got me having new conversations with myself on an ongoing basis of where am I still doing too much. Where do I still need to let go? Where do I need to be more ruthless with that time? I think it does people a disservice to imagine that like, oh, a baby shows up and you’re miraculously cured of your overwork. It’s certainly not been my experience. Yeah.”

[15:27] Ignoring Small Problems To Focus on Bigger Stuff Ahead of You

The minute you start working with people and the more people that are to work with, there will always be something to divert your attention.

“Yeah, I mean, to key into that, too. I think that was a huge change that had to happen for me, like when you’re solo, the goal is no fires ever. If there’s a fire, you said it, you know, and so I would be super, you know, all over everything to make sure nothing went wrong ever. At any point. The minute you start working with people and the more people that are to work with, yeah, that’s a good way of putting is letting small fires burn, because there will always be something going on something to divert your attention to some issue, to address or obstacle to overcome, and prioritizing that or being okay with no, I can’t address this right away. Like, I used to respond to every email within the hour it came in. Yep. All over it. And I’ve had to learn and unlearn. I guess that I’ve had to be okay with that no longer being possible. I can’t respond to every message. I can’t respond to every email. It’s not that you don’t want to be available or what have you. But yeah, you do have to get to a place of like, accepting not only like, you cannot do it all the time, but shits gonna go rock. You know, like, that’s, that’s been a continual lesson. And something I think I’ve gotten much better at too is like, when it was just me, a mistake was devastating, if something went wrong, that could have been prevented, again, because it’s all on you. You know, it’s, I take, I take it hard, you know, it’s like, oh, this never should have happened, businesses should have been perfectly kind of mentality I had. And now that I’ve got a team, I’ve got great people, I love I love our people. Even the best people will make mistakes, it’s going to happen, the best laid plans, the best laid, processes doesn’t matter, stuff will go sideways, there things will come up in accounts. And, you know, my expectation proofs, like no issues and accounts ever there’s, you know, there’s nothing, you know, that, that I can’t control for and eliminate out of the process. And the reality is, that’s just not true stuff is going to happen and learning Okay? To be okay, with small failures. If it doesn’t break, you know, it should either make you stronger, at least you’ll learn from it, or your team will learn from it. And to cap that thought off, like your team needs to learn how to make mistakes, and how to recover from them, and how to deal with them. And, you know, you need to learn how to take your claws out and let them do that. And that’s scary going from from solo to business owner. But it’s been a really important part of that journey.”

[18:29] The Biggest Challenge in Making the Transition From Being Solo to a Business Owner

Learning to let people make and learn from mistakes is an integral part

“mean, it’s there’s been different biggest challenges over time, in the early goings, it was getting out of the work itself, right? Too many people walk their own shots, because they can’t let what’s created not be theirs. And I literally had to go on vacation and just let things go out without me looking at them and let the feedback come in without me intervening to get past that point. Like it was me going away. And my team, you know, seeing that the House didn’t cave in, that allowed me to go Alright, yeah, I might have worded it differently, but it doesn’t really matter. You know, the client was happy or got approved. And, and so that was one of the big things very early on was, you know, I can’t be the one to do all of the things. And I need to let some, you know, I can set a standard, I can set a target. I can control every deliverable that that ever goes out of this place. And early on that stuff. I think over time, you know, kind of what I just mentioned, like learning to let people make and learn from mistakes. It’s an integral part, you know, again, like I’m worried up to want to just see an issue, solve the issue, move on. But if I solve every problem for my team that does a disservice to them again, they need to learn how to cultivate a curious mindset and evaluate a situation and make call. And you hope that that builds into them being confident and then introducing things that you wouldn’t have thought of or building things that you like, wow, I never would have considered doing it that way.”

[24:09] Maintaining the Path That Keeps the Business Fired Up

It’s almost always better to double down and keep focus instead of spraying out in multiple directions and diluting that focus.

“Yeah, that shiny object syndrome is tough. Because like you said, it is kind of like the fire that lights the business in the first place. But I think most people that I’ve seen who have reached a modicum of success end up falling prey to it a couple times. And I think if they’re fully honest with themselves, like they could have gotten more value, and it would have been more rewarding to just keep going on the path that was working. And that’s something that I tell myself a lot is like it’s it’s almost always better to double down and keep the focus instead of like, spraying out in multiple directions and diluting that Focus. Focus is a hard commodity to keep and I think in most cases, what has been working is what you want to focus your attention on and that’s very difficult. Yeah,”

[28:04] How To Get Successful Multiple Businesses

The fastest path to getting to multiple successful businesses is to get one first.

“Yeah. And again, like, what’s their actual role in all of those things? Like, they’re not doing the production work? You know, they’re not, you know, they’ve built teams, like they’ve become excellent. At team building delegation systems like, and yeah, normally, there’s been one sort of big thing where they learned a lot of those lessons, they got that experience, and then they carry aspects of it. With them. But yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s another Mindset, you know, shift that, you know, to come to agreement with yourself on. Am I doing enough? Yes. That’s can be tough. It can be tough, you know, you feel like, well, I’m limiting myself or other people are passing me by or look at her with all her ventures. It’s like, No, you. It’s not about their journey. It’s about your own, you know, maybe you’ll get there. But for now, the fastest path to getting to multiple successful businesses is maybe maybe get one first.”

[33:51 ]Joel’s Point of Realization in His Business

If you mess up in your business, you bear the burden of responsibility of not letting everybody else down

“For me. Like, yeah, having employees was one of those things where I was like, I, I have to be a grown up now. Like, if I mess up for me, it’s like one thing and like, that’s disappointing, but like, you kind of bear this burden of responsibility, or at least it’s a perceived burden of responsibility, where you don’t want to let everybody else down. You know, in fact, you want it to be a great launching pad for people’s careers, and you want it to be like this, this growth experience. And I think that was when I looked up and I’m like, Oh, wow, this is real. Let’s let’s do this. You know, and I kind of felt some pressure to level up.”

[38:33] The Importance of Having a Homogeneous Process

You can become a victim of your own success if you are not careful

“Now, you know, like the one of the bumpiest transitions was going from no ops manager to now we have an amazing ops manager to now. Oh, the volume of work has outgrown what one operations manager can feasibly handle. And that, you know, that was almost harder. In the early goings, you know, getting things in place was pretty simple. It’s later really come to understand what people mean when they say building the plane while you’re flying it because all of a sudden, you can become a victim to your own success. If you’re not careful. You know, we I’m incredibly impressed with my team because we literally, in some cases, changed the tires while the car was driving like, we went entirely from like, a good follow based kind of back end, which worked very well when one ops manager was the person to migrating out of that into no clothes and clickup and automations between them. And that all happened while project volume was just going to do doo doo doo doo doo up and up and up, you know. We rolled out the am function, while project managers are still shouldering it, and then we’re able to split it off and like navigating that change. Trying difficult thankfully, we’ve got again an incredible team that’s been really patient and collaborative and we’ve all learned today alligator draw boundary lines. So I think that was a really difficult transition for us going from Ken, we’ve got a process, but now we need a different one. It’s not just zero to one, it’s all now how do we go from one to the 10? Why do you think you mentioned.”

[44:20] ]Why Large Companies Struggle To Produce Case Studies

If you cannot get your team internally aligned and can’t build an underlying process and system that supports the creation of case studies, your company will take a lot of time to enable it.

“Yeah, I see. That’s really accurate. And I think, you know, that’s the honest truth. Like why was able to do conversion work for really big companies, it’s largely the same reasons, you know, they they needed someone to own it and drive it and bring a process to it and execute and coordinate the different pieces. It wasn’t just like, in right nice words, it was everything that surrounded it. And I think, with case studies, I think the unique challenge, especially for companies is just if you can’t get your teams internally are aligned and if you can’t build an underlying process and system that supports the creation of these right, how are you identifying candidates? How are you making the ask who’s Doing the asked making How do you standardize that? How do you set the right expectation at that point of asking? How do you carry that through production? How do you handle approvals? How do you keep track of the essence want to create it, there’s so many small problems that make up the big problem, that I think it’s still going to take some time for companies to really wrap their heads around how they enable it. And I think that’s part of why for us, it was an important move to start now, leaning a little more into the strategic side, and having discussions about that, and trying to build that aspect of of what we do out to move from this where we create stories to now trying to build ourselves to be the place where we can have conversations about standing up SOPs, or are you spiffing your sales team or all that stuff that was all new territory, and not stuff I ever anticipated? We need to be involved in at the outset. And because of the market we serve and the problems we solve? We do. So yeah, I think that’s a really apt comparison. I think companies eventually, over time will get more sophisticated with it. But I think there’s just always this need for this consolidated focused, you know, well done effort. Because a lot of little things have to go right.”

[46:30] What Case Studies Really Entail in Business

Companies look at case studies as an asset and not a program, which is not good

“Yeah. Yeah. Or filmed in a video or whatever. I think you just it’s obvious. There’s no process, there’s an absence of documented, consolidated process. The biggest screw up is, again, there’s no central source of truth on what is the process? Who owns the different parts of the process? What are our coverage gaps? Like something HubSpot is amazing at now, is they document Okay, here’s, here’s the coverage gaps here. The gaps we want to address with our stories for this quarter or for this year. And they put that somewhere that everyone can see it so that everyone’s on the same page that everyone from the people nominating and selecting stories to the people build in question says the people delivering the assets are all on the same page. That is rare in a company. It’s rare, there’s no ownership, there’s no centralized source of truth. And so I think, you know, to put it in a sentence, companies look at these like an asset, and not a program, you need a program, you need a process and systems to inform that program. But if you treat it like an asset, like let’s just go do some case studies, and you hope that great things come out the other side, you’re in for a world of hurt, and that’s still homeless companies do it. It’s like, well, let’s task Mary and marketing with getting these customer stories down. And Mary goes, I don’t have the first clue of what how to get all these other teams, mobilized engaged, I don’t even know how to identify clients to take part in these things like, they treat it like it can be a solo effort, they delegate to one person when the need arises, instead of what what I believe, which is you can make case studies inevitable. But they’re the outcome of an underlying system, don’t have that system, you’re forever going to be chasing the ball.”

[50:51] How To Identify a Good Case Study

The worse stories are the ones that are obviously blasted out of the vacuum and made it all about the company

“So I want to see, you know, them walk me through as a prospect, like, what happened? Why was it done this way? Why was it important? What came out of it in a way that allows me to go, okay, I get it, I can see the big picture, I can understand the context beyond the fancy bullets and the big metrics. So those are some of the different things that I look for. And I think the worst stories out, there are the ones that are just obvious, the company blasted this out in a vacuum, made it all about them. And what they did, and completely forgot that, hey, there’s a customer on the other side of this, who probably could have made this much better.”

[54:39] Importance of Looking for Value Beyond the Results

Features of copy are not valuable by virtue of existence, what it actually empowers is more important

“Yeah, it’s, I mean, that can be used in a lot of ways. Like, why does this line even need to be here? Or why does this feature benefit? Like, why does it actually matter? Like, okay, it exists, but it’s not valuable by virtue of existing like, what does it actually yeah. What does it actually enable or empower or, or accomplish? So there’s parallels there too, right? I think that’s one of the benefits. It’s, for me coming out of the conversion side of things is now, you know, it’s something I think we can always be getting better at. But something that I think my team is pretty darn good at is looking for the things that will drive a decision versus driving while you read the whole thing, or you clicked in, we know for sure not everyone’s gonna read these things from start to finish. But for the ones that do, we want to take them on a journey that feels like, yeah, I want this, I get this. Because you could be a great copywriter and write a wonderful landing page. But, you know, a case study is there’s nothing better than that, for example, to bring an obscure use case to life, say, Here’s how they actually put it to work and what it looked like in practice, all of that. So I think, you know, we try to bring those where we can conversion elements into what we do. And it’s something I think there’s room for us to do better with. But I think that’s, that’s an important consideration, like the number of case studies, I see up the wall that have no call to action at all, you just finished telling somebody a story that they should aspire to, and you’re not going to push them anywhere like feels feels like a loss.”

[59:15] Holding On to Your Business

Holding on to your business is fear of what would happen if you let go of it

“Yeah, I mean, forget who made me aware of it. That’s a good I don’t know a visual or analogy. Like what do we do when we are afraid? When when we feel fear grab on this. Whether you’re in a car you grab the wheel tightly if you’re in a haunted house and you’re with someone and something scares you grab on to them or you when you’re scared you grab on things. Because I think it was my business coach actually. And I found that to be true. You know, like part of my holding on to that conversion or copywriter title, or holding on to the accomplishments I’d had there or the things I’ve done or all of that is just fear. It’s fear that if I let go, what happens? What if it goes away? But eventually, you’re dragging that along? It’s, it’s not serving you either. It’s it’s holding you back, it’s slowing you down. And I think part of getting past that is asking yourself like, what, what is it? I’m afraid of here? What is it that I’m afraid will happen? How likely is it? And what’s the worst thing that could happen if it if it does, and I think for me, you know, I still get leads on the conversion copy side, and I haven’t been doing that stuff formally for over two years”

[01:06:49] AI Content in Business Marketing

If you are leaning on AI tools in a manner that will replace you, that’s not the ideal way to look into it

“that’s a healthy mindset. Yeah, I mean, I think if you’re leaning on these tools, in a way that is going to replace your maybe competitive advantage, that’s probably not an ideal way to look at these. Because if everybody else has access to those, you know, your competitive moat isn’t really a moat. But it’s like, these are going to be great for doing things that aren’t remote. So like for us repurposing, like, if we have the ideas, if we have the content, repurposing, it is really like this manual, kind of tedious process. And if we can, like repurpose that into a LinkedIn post, that just furthers the distribution we have now because all of those things, the barrier to entry is lower. Now we have more time to focus on the emergent, really valuable properties of content, which is like, ideas, expertise, differentiation, strategy, like all of those things, and we lean more into those, and hopefully become more valuable because of that. I wouldn’t be worried if I was, yeah, maybe producing like, like, super commoditize. You know, like, content mill stuff. Like I think that it’d be a scary place to be I would I would be a little nervous, then.”

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Alex Birkett

Alex is a co-founder of Omniscient Digital. He loves experimentation, building things, and adventurous sports (scuba diving, skiing, and jiu jitsu primarily). He lives in Austin, Texas with his dog Biscuit.