Flynnsights // February 14, 2023

The Case for the “Impact Case”

How to project the value of a digital tool before you build it

Michelle Furibondo

Michelle Furibondo

Associate Director of CX

If your remit is eliminating friction from the customer experience (CX), you’ve probably encountered an issue you’re sure could be improved by a new digital tool or feature. But before you can help your customers stress less, management wants to know how it will provide a quick return on investment.

Thankfully, this Flynnsight is all about the magic of impact cases—what they are, how you can use them to quantify that ROI, and how they’ll help you secure the support you need to move forward.

What the heck is an impact case?

An impact case is a subset of a business case. It empowers brands, marketers, and digital teams to identify and define engagement, conversion, and other target outcomes before investing in a new tool. It helps you justify that investment, prioritize your project pipeline, manage your team’s expectations, and set realistic goals. It also provides a handy point of reference post-launch, when you need to gauge if the tool is performing as expected and assess if changes to the branding, marketing, or functionality are necessary.

Sound good? Let’s build one.

To get started, apply a structure similar to a traditional marketing funnel. This will allow you to examine the impact the new digital tool may have on your broader business objectives and the CX. A thorough and detailed use of benchmark data is key to building a great impact case.

Step 1: Define the Funnel Stages

First, you’ll define and build each stage of the impact case. While every impact case will be slightly different, they should all follow the same format with clearly defined stages. Broadly define your desired audience at the top, then narrow your focus as you move down the funnel. At the bottom, clarify the desired action you want your customers to take, along with the estimated conversion. For illustrative purposes, I’ve included a highly simplified impact case from Smoothie Co., a hypothetical smoothie company, later in this Flynnsight.

Here’s how to complete each stage of the funnel:

  • Identify: Who are the intended users of the digital tool? In the Identify stage, outline the demographics and any other characteristics of your target audience. The more specific your definition at the top of the funnel, the more realistic and accurate your results will be.
  • Reach: How many of these potential users are likely to access and use the digital tool? (This group isn’t the same group as your likely regular users. That comes next, in the engagement stage.) To define who falls into the Reach stage, focus on the behaviors and attitudes of your target audience. For example, if you’re creating an app that is only available on smartphones, consider that 96% of people ages 18 to 29 own a smartphone compared to 61% of those 65 and older.1
  • Engagement: Define your customer engagement metrics (e.g., monthly active users, number of active program participants) to help pinpoint the benchmark data that will set realistic baselines. If you use more than one metric, be clear on how they work together to measure overall engagement. When researching engagement benchmarks, keep in mind factors that may impact your findings, such as generational differences, attitudes about technology, or willingness to share personal data.
  • Action: Consider specific customer actions that will drive the desired conversion. A few examples of customer actions include engaging with customer service via online chat, using an augmented reality tool during the purchase journey, or opting into email communications.
  • Conversion: Finally, consider the impact of customers taking the desired action. This should be something quantifiable that has meaningful value to the business. For example, the desired conversion may be the number of customers scheduling appointments, number of customers increasing items added to carts, or number of customers who become repeat website visitors.

Step 2: Use Research and Data to Set Your Benchmarks

Populate each funnel stage with benchmark data, starting with data from any existing digital assets. Trade publications and market research reports can provide widely accepted industry benchmarks (e.g., typical engagement with digital tools such as apps, average number of bank accounts per person). Some data may have more variation—this could be due to seasonality, publication dates, or demographics. Consider using a range of benchmarks or a high/low estimate to see how variations can impact your outcome. For larger initiatives with a lot on the line, you might also consider an additional investment in custom research.

Step 3: Apply Target Audience Data

Apply the data you collected about your desired audience down the funnel. This helps you understand the projected impact your tool may have on your business objectives.

Step 4: Move Forward with Confidence

With your impact case completed, you’ll have what you need to either make a strong case for moving ahead with the investment (your leadership will appreciate your proactive investigation into the ROI to be gained) or save your company lots of time and money in wasted effort (which they’ll also thank you for!).


In this hypothetical example, Smoothie Co. is trying to gauge whether it should invest in a new mobile app feature that embeds influencer-style content into the user experience, with the intention of better engaging its customers and increasing sales.

Smoothie Co. Sample Case

The value of an impact case post-launch

Just as the impact case is a key starting point for the launch of your new digital tool, you should use it to inform the KPIs that are tracked post-launch to ensure the tool is having the desired impact.

In addition to measuring performance and operational metrics when the tool is launched, consider measuring CX metrics such as Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Customer Effort Score (CES), and Net Promoter Score (NPS). CX metrics provide insight into why performance metrics are at their current levels, revealing improvement opportunities for the customer experience and, in turn, improving business outcomes.

You can also use the impact case to guide which operational or experience levers to pull higher up the funnel to impact conversion. For example, you might launch a marketing campaign to expand your target audience or add a new app feature that improves personalization. Improving the CX by decreasing the effort it takes to complete an action may increase engagement, compounding in impact lower in the funnel.

The important thing is that you take the time to measure the experience, listen, and make improvements based on customer feedback. Do that, and you’ll be able to produce an impact case that will resonate with those it needs to, empowering you to build a more effective digital solution.

1 Share of those 65 and older who are tech users has grown in the past decade;

Let's Chat

Ready for more peace in your marketing plan? Just give us a call or fill out the form and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Mallory Diamond

Director of Relationship Development

175 Sully’s Trail

Pittsford, NY 14534

Suite 100