The most powerful of all marketing strategies
Written by guest blogger Dave Thackeray.
I think while we are in business, we at large obsess with the bottom line. We think we are what we sell. I think we're selling out. Instead of selling alone, we should be selling our story. Sell once, and you have to compete again. Sell story, and you create a profitable relationship spanning months, maybe years.
Why sharing story is the sentinel of your success
In a world with billions of websites and millions of businesses overlapping and confusing the consumer with choice, there's more noise over signal than ever before.
Most organisations are like your aforementioned entity of avarice. They need to keep staff sweet, in order that more widgets make it to the customer. But there's no real lust for exceeding expectations of the workforce, delighting and inspiring it with more than is strictly necessary.
That's the internal customer dealt with. Traditionally the external customer - the consumer - gets just enough information to make a relative informed choice.
Clients and suppliers of B2B firms have different requirements, we believe, and we treat them accordingly. They get bloated, uninspiring white papers, or we feed them trivial trinkets over the counters of trade stalls we believe that will compel them to engorge on more of our widgets.
Mistake #1: we are not unalike
It doesn't matter who the decision maker is when it comes to your product or service. We are all - at least, for the time being - human.
Why do we strain to treat people differently if they're buying sportswear or medical instruments? Surely the common denominator - homo sapienness - is enough to convince us we need to motivate these buyers in exactly the same way.
Copywriters have for decades learned the lesson, sometimes with their jobs, that the language we use should be representative of us. Of they. Of the fact that no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we want to be treated with humanity. Shockingly, like everyone else.
Mistake #2: We are what we sell
Capitalism has no mercy for feelings. Our commercial intent takes no prisoners of emotion.
So we have to think differently. With compassion, and with passion. We have to deliver not only the goods, but the secrets of who we are.
The product in of itself is of zero importance at the Zero Moment Of Truth. The feelings are what matter:
- Am I loving the feeling this purchase/transaction provides?
- Am I loving the organisation receiving my currency?
- Will this lead to something special - for me as an individual, us as a business, everyone involved as a gateway to a more meaningful relationship nurturing us all into the future?
- Products and services alone just don't jive with our hopes and dreams. They are inanimate; soulless.
Mistake #3: We don't tell our story
And here is where my story of the moment enters its final chapter.
The protein of who you are and how you got here is everything during the trading process.
The more among us know that we need to be doing more in convincing our customers of the value of us.
We know that the noise to signal ratio is too high; everywhere.
We know that valuable means creating a foundation for a future, sustainable relationship between us and they.
And the way to do that is to go back to the first chapter of all of us. When humans began.
The story. The hero's journey. And how compatible it is to how you began, and where you are.
I speak of this as someone whose entire career (and I'm no kid) has circuited story.
I've narrated thousands of stories as a journalist, marketer, editor, author and presenter. And I've seen no more potent a way of moving people than by sharing stories.
A whole movement has been founded upon stories. You need only regard TED to see how stories unto themselves impel the rich to spend thousands and thousands of pounds attending conventions where those with tales to tell hold audiences rapt.
And yet us as organisations rarely set out to tell our tales. Stories which are as bewitching as any electrifying the stage of Chris Anderson's masterpiece.
There are those that do. And they create communities of advocates, because the humanness of story begets the humanness of belonging.
Characters are everywhere. But rarely do they get a voice. And rarely are they remembered.
But the internet gives us a tool more powerful than anything that went before. In your hands is a device that can express the alchemy of what you got you here. Of you.
I'll be circling on this theme time and again here on LinkedIn. It's what I believe in above anything else. And I want you as a business owner, a cause champion or simply a creator of a unique personal brand, to start thinking today about how to turn the DNA of who you are and what you do into a story.
Selling stories isn't just for newspapers. Selling stories is the obligation of every organisation who wants to make an impact and create customer communities and advocates lasting your business a lifetime.
Would you like to talk more about letting story lead the way? Tweet me @davethackeray.