We've heard a lot about storytelling in marketing of late, and it's something we've seen B2C brands doing successfully for a long time. But I believe as others do that one of the sharpest B2B marketing tools in the box is storytelling. Stories are easy to digest, they can be memorable and they can resonate. The skill is to share that story in a way that aligns with the needs and priorities of prospects and customers.
I'm not sure there's actually much real world practical advice for easy-to-do storytelling in B2B Marketing. So here's a few quick wins to help you get storytelling into your marketing.
Start with stories
Look, nobody really cares about your amazing features and benefits.
If you can't show how you solve problems then don't expect people to care. Start with the story, not the product. If you show your prospects how your product or service solved the problem of a customer and turned them into 'the hero' of their own story then people will really sit up and take notice.
1. Stand for something
Showing prospects and customers what you stand for and believe in is hugely powerful; emotion works in B2B too because the decision makers in businesses are people too. We all prefer to align ourselves with business partners who believe in something other than just making money. Telling your company's story in the right way draws on the power of relationship building and strengthens the emotional attachment customers and prospects have with your brand.
Good business blogging can work a bit like a 'factual fable' giving a clear message that ends with a lesson that can be learned (don;t preach though!). Choose your theme, flesh out your characters, create the heroes, give it some meaning so people can take something away.
3. Discuss around the campfire
Online communities are where the seeds of your customers and prospects' interesting stories take root. Think of those online communities as the campfire - that's where people congregate to share their stories. Listen and learn. How can you skilfully weave the story and value of your product or service into their story?
4. Testimonials and case studies
Testimonials can be great storytelling vignettes and more detailed case studies that tell and show how you solved someone's problems are powerful in B2B. People want to identify with others with similar stories that had happy endings.
5. Visual storytelling
Infographics, though becoming almost ubiquitous, when done well can be great for clearly visualising your story with numbers and juicy data. Creating an online presentation can have a powerful storytelling dynamic, every click-through on a slide is the turning of a page leading to a dramatic conclusion. The key is making them easy to share so people can use them to tell their own stories.
6. Your staff, the heroes
Don't forget the people in your organisation - they are an extremely valuable asset in storytelling. Introduce people to your team and show your human side. That person who has been loyal for years and has become one of the biggest expert in their field? Tell their story.
Storytelling in marketing isn't some abstract concept, it's been around for years and it needn't be difficult to do. You already have the stories so go tell them!