B2B marketing seems to be awash right now with storytelling advice. And – as we’ve discussed very recently – there’s good reason for this.
Experts speaking on a B2B marketing webinar only yesterday reiterated some of the pertinent points about storytelling in B2B, while adding other useful advice:
Vincent Rousselet of ITSMA – which “helps B2B marketers in the connected economy” – noted that in presentations only 5% of an audience would remember a statistic, while 63% remember stories. And the latest ITSMA Services Marketing Budget Allocation and Trends showed the top competencies sought by marketing organisations place storytelling in the top 5 after ABM, digital marketing and marketing metrics.
The Three Cs of effective storytelling
A handy aide memoire, also offered by Rousselet, for what effective storytelling does is the “Three Cs”:
- Catch attention
Even more helpful is the storytelling toolkit, comprising:
- The pitch or storyline
- The narrative/story arc
Usefully broken down in the ITSMA’s slide according to character types, what they typically do in your story and how it applies to an actual company scenario.
Jeff Barak of Amdocs – a former journalist also on the webinar – emphasised that your storytelling should “think about your audiences and their different challenges and how can we help overcome them?”
And by getting your subject matter experts involved in your storytelling efforts, it adds impact by featuring the very people who understand the customer challenges and their industry intimately. Therefore, it offers a “human touch delivered via a personal view and experience”.
Realities not dreams = great marketing and storytelling
However, a note of caution about storytelling in marketing comes via Helen Edwards of Passionbrand writing in Marketing Week:
She pinpoints the risk of “lionis[ing]” storytelling’s “power of persuasion over the rational and factual”. By that, she means “playing fast and loose with the concept of storytelling” in which companies treat their story as an aspirational “vision” rather than the reality of what they’ve actually done and – crucially – how they did it.
Edwards adds: “We should be automatically suspicious of leaders who leave out the ‘how’ of their prospective storyline” and that “real storytellers do not merely tease with the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ – but illuminate, surprise and excite with the ‘how’.”
In marketing speak, the phrase is “proof points” – substantiating the claims you make about your products or services. In the storytelling world of journalists – the elusive people that marketers so often want to persuade – it’s about providing evidence that stands up to scrutiny.
If storytelling and content creation is something you want to do, but could use some help, then get in touch and we can discuss further.