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Once upon a time...marketing + storytelling.

Posted by Chris Hokansson on Aug 16, 2011 2:34:00 PM

Anyone who has ever spent time trying to craft snappy marketing messages for B2B products/services can tell you it isn’t easy. Sometimes a question as simple as “What is product x?” can cause no end to trouble for the marketing team. Often a great place to start is to look at the stories being told by the sales team or executives when they meet with prospects, investors or even new hires.

Storytelling and B2B marketing resized 600

Great stories capture the imagination right from the very start.

Whether it’s “Once upon a time…” or “It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.”, stories are a powerful way to help people understand and make it easy for them to explain to others. Often times your people are telling great stories but in trying so hard to manufacture the brand - marketing isn’t.
The best stories are like the best marketing.

They are easy to tell, memorable and can be easily summarized in a point or two. Great stories help listeners understand where you are coming from and your perspective on the world. Stories that ring true to listeners and hold up over multiple tellings are the very best. They provide a human element and give life to the facts and features that populate far too much B2B marketing
So how do we identify great stories and turn them into great marketing?
There is no tried and true method for turning a great anecdote into a powerful marketing message but here are a couple of ideas:

  • Stories take listeners somewhere. By this same logic your marketing message needs to take prospects somewhere they are interested in going.
  • Provide bait. Great marketing sets up a problem and then solves it. You need relevant and credible issues your target audience can relate to before you can offer the answer with your product or service.
  • Have a moment of truth. Great stories pay off and make it worth the time spent listening. Marketing stories also need to have some compelling payoff to make it all worth it.

Does your company have a great story?

Do you have a great story about re-focusing your brand after hearing some stories? If so, leave them in your comments to inspire others.

Net Photo by kodomut. Available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

Topics: b2b, tips, strategy, marketing content, messaging