“Once upon a time,” often gets overlooked by the chaos of everyday life and work – list-checking, calls, and KPIs. But take a second and think about all of the things you do in a day, the majority of those items tell stories, or came about because of a story.
The Effect of Stories
Who’s been to Walt Disney World? I’ve been way too many times to count and am kind-of-a-pro. One thing that most people bring up about “The World” is lines. I’m not saying that waiting doesn’t suck… BUT… the Imagineers started seeing this issue years ago and decided to turn the waiting into stories. They decided to make the queues themselves an attraction and engage visitors, so they don’t think of the lines! Now if you go to the parks, many rides have games, hidden Mickeys, or even murder mysteries to solve as you wait!
Now think about some of the many stories you tell at work:
- Dashboards: You have a reason for displaying specific data, chart types, and cadences. Your numbers to support your story – how something performed, how your team contributed, etc. Or perhaps your numbers are meant to solve for a story that was presented to you.
- Presentations: A good presentation has a purpose, some background (stories), outcomes, and the next steps.
- Client-Facing Campaigns: Whether in sales, customer success, support, marketing, etc. it’s necessary to have a well-thought narrative before communicating with prospects and customers.
A Story Worth Telling
I was lucky enough to sit in on a webinar featuring Matthew Luhn, writer, and storyteller extraordinaire. One of the items that resonated with me was the question of “What do you want your audience to feel?”
We know the basic elements that need to be included, such as the setting, build, conflict, and resolution, but how can we direct a feeling? He also mentioned that great stories are about transformations.
This is also VERY relevant to campaigns, nurtures, and playbooks.
Target & Be Relevant
Your business has a focus, and a “customer profile.” Consider the different stories you need to share based on personas, segments, and buyer’s journey.
Stuck? Try putting yourself in the audience’s shoes and decipher what you’d need to understand or what needs to be provided to you.
Make Them Feel It
You may want leads in the top of the funnel to feel curious and excited, and then supported and included as they work their way to a customer and even an advocate.
Believe it or not, data can be a huge help here! Gather some pain points (industry, customer testimonials) and formulate how those pains make someone feel and then through the solution of how that changes. This needs to be carefully translated to fit the audience you’re addressing.
It gets so easy to get carried away. Note the goals upfront and make sure the whole team is on the same page.
What is the point of this message? What transformation do we want to highlight that will help move prospects to customers? And how did that transformation happen (probably your awesome product or service, right??)
Have Fun With It
A brand tone may be enforced, but your message should still be memorable and unique.
And They Lived Happily Ever After
If you utilize the power of a great narrative and plan the delivery (perhaps multiple channels), you’ll be sure to increase engagement and increase the velocity of your pipeline. Oh, and we can help! … The End.
Meet Kim Para Allen
Kim Allen likes tapping into right- and left-brains equally; and marketing automation serves perfectly in exercising both the creative and the analytical! With 7+ years in the marketing automation space, she’s very thorough in strategy, troubleshooting, and tailoring systems to support business needs and goals. Kim is a past member of the Marketo Champion group and is now part of the Marketo Champion Alumni group. Located in Jacksonville, Florida, Kim enjoys spending as much time as possible in the sunshine. You can usually find her sailing, reading, cheering on her Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Jacksonville Jaguars, traveling, or exploring with her husband and their two dogs.