The speediest and most powerful way to grab customers’ attention is with great storytelling. As humans, we engage at a deeper level with stories than we do with plain (read: boring) facts. And as the saying goes, even when you sell to businesses, you’re actually selling to people.
People Connect with Stories
Studies have shown that we humans connect with stories. On a biological level, stories engage more of our brains than a list of facts can do. That’s why storytelling is such a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.
Remember how we advised you to identify your ideal customers and pinpoint their key needs and wants? Here’s where the storytelling comes in: The idea is to show customers their potential for success. Even without mentioning your product or service, such stories help customers connect your company with that benefit.
Many savvy marketing pros use Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey framework to make this connection. Other’s use real-life customer success stories. Viral marketing, immersive experiences, virtual reality (VR) campaigns—they’re all storytelling tactics. Just be sure that your story includes a challenge to be overcome and a happy ending in which the hero emerges victorious.
Your Customer, the Hero
The one thing all these approaches have—or should have—in common is a customer focus. Your target customers should be able to imagine themselves in the place of the central characters (as would be the case in a success story).
Show customers—or people just like them—overcoming major roadblocks and finding victory. Your story should communicate that sweet feeling of victory—you know, the one customers will get when they work with you.
Brands That Get It Right
Think storytelling is for B2C brands? Take a moment and catch up on these great storytelling campaigns by B2B brands that understand the power of a great story:
Cisco has been using powerful storytelling for years. The company’s current “There’s Never Been a Better Time” campaign is a great example.
Slack has a captive audience with its podcast, Work in Progress. See how that ties into the company’s “Where Work Happens” slogan?
Philips’s B2B “Innovation and you” campaign centers primarily around products for healthcare and industrial lighting. From case studies to videos, the company makes its value clear. Check out the campaign's Living Lab videos.
It’s in the Delivery
Use storytelling across all your channels and collateral: website, social media, white papers, and more.
Video is a great option; we’re used to visual storytelling through movies and TV.
Music, animation, and even VR techniques (if you have the budget for them) can be highly engaging and help immerse viewers in your story.
Include interactive elements to draw viewers in further. Embed videos directly into campaign landing pages or your home page or include links in nurture emails.
Social media is another great channel for stories. Create a series of short videos or posts, then use them to create a serialized B2B adventure—one that ends in the customer’s success, of course.
Finally, remember that individual campaigns are a natural framework for storytelling. Use a mix of banners, posts, landing pages, videos, and more to create a contained, cohesive plotline and inspire action.