Business Case Study Methodology – The PAR Formula

In the age of online business in the form of presentations, videos, webinars and e-courses, case studies have become a powerful marketing tool. An effective yet simple way to develop case studies is known as the PAR formula.

What is the PAR formula?

It is case method theory that is taught at Harvard and other extraordinary institutions like Wharton and Yale.

It is Problem-Action-Result.

What is problem-action-result? It’s a business story. Stories are known from the time of Aesop. Jesus was a great storyteller. Confucius was a great storyteller. Mohammed was a great storyteller. Every great spiritual leader in history, like Mahatma Gandhi, was a great storyteller.

Some politicians are great storytellers, they’re not always true, but they are great storytellers. The beauty of a story is that it has a beginning, a middle, and an end; Therefore, a story is memorable.

Now, if a story is memorable, it has brandability because a brand is memorable. What does the Nike swoosh look like? It’s unforgettable.

Which brand used to have a commercial? If you’re old enough to remember, does that mean, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief that is”? That’s memorable, it’s Alka Seltzer. Just do it is the slogan for Nike; Why? It’s unforgettable and it’s a story.

You see stories in TV commercials. You see stories that build that brand and dig deep into them. You want stories in the PAR formula to give people the success stories of companies you have worked with. This also works with people, but especially well with companies.

I’ll give you an example later in this article so you can see the PAR formula in action.

But now think about it Problem-Action-Result.

I want you to focus on your case studies as well. What was the problem? Everything starts with a problem, if there is no problem then there is no case history or history. The problem must be defined. The well defined problem is half solved.

There must be a problem, and you want to be as specific as possible about it. The action is the action taken by the person who had the problem. The actions they have taken; they are your student, client, cousin or family member is the action you advised them to take.

For me it’s my students. This is the action they took based on what I advised them to do. Then the result is the result they got. The result can be positive or negative, but it is a result that is a test and follow-up method to determine if you need to improve or discard.

If it’s that bad, throw it away. If it’s not bad, you make it better. problem-action-result; If you delve into the case study method used at Harvard, Wharton, Yale and Stanford with these three concepts, it is the case method theory of teaching.

So lawyers are taught by the case method; because you learn more from the examples and the case than from having someone explain it to you. I could tell you which case method or PAR formula was all day, but you might not understand if I don’t give you an example.

That’s because of this three-part formula from PAR.

If you use it in your company, it will transform your business. It will accelerate the growth of your business because you will start getting results. Here’s an example, and I’m giving you an example of the example I’m giving you.


P=Problem: A veteran publisher lobbied to launch editions of his newsletter using progressive direct marketing. He wanted to test his target mailing list with postcards instead of the expensive standard mailing package that contains a sales letter, envelope, brochure, order form and reply card.

What’s his problem? His problem is that standard mail is very expensive. What solution is he looking for? He’ll see if postcards make a difference, so you got his problem? It’s well defined. His problem is shared by many other direct mail marketers.


Here is the A=Action, he mailed 5,000 for $1,000, not the $4,000 for the standard postal package because postal packages are expensive. He offered three free newsletter issues with several valuable bonuses.

He also printed the front and back of the postcard on the package insert so they could be boxed and not just shipped through the fulfillment company he worked with. He added it as a low cost co-write in joint venture mailings with other direct mail, something you can’t do with a standard mail package.

What has he done? He decided to use the postcard instead of the standard mailing package. What happened? It cost him $1,000 not $4,000, why? Printing postcards costs less than the standard postal parcel, and that’s exactly what he did.


R=Result – the two-stage mailing; first the postcard and second the newsletter, brought in a $1.91 cost per lead and $10.40 cost per sale for his best segment of the market to which he sent.

After prospects received the three newsletters, 25.4% subscribed to the newsletter for two years at a cost of $299. Earning $4 for each postcard sent, he made a profit of $3.80 per postcard. It’s a positive result, which is why I used it.

I’m not even saying that postcards are used there. I don’t have to because the story does all the selling for me as the person trying to sell MarketingWithPostcards. You can sell anything you try to sell. When you use the PAR formula, you get a lot more case studies, a lot more testimonials, and it’s better to get a story like this than to have someone say how awesome you are.

This isn’t nearly as important or powerful and doesn’t have the unspoken validation of the PAR formula.

Use the PAR formula…

And it will accelerate the growth of your business simply by leveraging case method theory taught at some of the world’s premier training organizations, institutions, colleges and graduate programs; Harvard is one of them.

Thanks to Lorna Shanks

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