Glossary: Business case

A business case explains the reasons for undertaking a project or task. It’s usually tied in to the bottom line – how the project will help an organization achieve its underlying goals. A business case justifies the expenditure of resources and capital, showing how the project meets specific business needs.

A business case can be a lengthy and highly formal document, or it can be a simple short memo or a verbal presentation.

Why make a business case?

A full business case provides managers with the information for deciding whether a project should be initiated. The project team also can use the business case to measure success as the project progresses and monitor the process to ensure that promised benefits/features are being delivered.

Business cases for email marketers

Business cases are very common in email marketing. A financial officer and the management team require due diligence – they must know the reasoning behind selecting a certain email marketing software. A business case might be presented to explain why the email marketing function should be in-house or outsourced, budget for a particular email campaign, infrastructure expenses, automation of event-driven campaigns, or costs associated with gathering extra profile information or email addresses.

Information included in a formal business case

(depending on information available and size of project)

  • Reference – project background
  • Value proposition – expected business benefits, cost and ROI scenarios
  • Focus – options considered, with reasons for favoring one, and scope of the project
  • Gap analysis – the risks involved with not doing the project
  • Deliverables – outcomes and benefits
  • Expected costs – workload and required resources

In some cases it’s the email vendor, email marketing agency or other stakeholder group – not the internal project leader – who writes the business case. Approaches to business decisions might also include a pilot project, trial versions of email tools or a proof of concept.

About Jordie van Rijn


Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and Analyst. He is the Founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. Named on of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2016 " by Entrepreneur magazine.