Storytelling for B-to-B Marketers

As marketers, it is our job to create content that is compelling enough to grab the attention of our prospects and persuade them to take action.  In b-to-b marketing, it is especially easy to let “being compelling” become an afterthought behind “being brief and factual”.  However, stating all the facts in 100 words or less, means nothing if our message is not compelling or persuasive.

In the article The Persuasive Power of a Story, authors Edward Wachtman and Sheree Johnson examine how storytelling is one of the most persuasive and compelling ways to convey a message.  The article draws comparisons between messages that are conveyed simply with facts and opinions and those that are conveyed with stories.  The authors explain how stories tap into emotions and why they are persuasive.  They then pose the question, what does the emotional story have to do with the rational world of business?  The answer: behavior.   As the article sites, more than a generation of neurological research proves that decisions are driven by emotions.

As b-to-b marketers, it is easy to design our messages in a “problem, solution, action” format.  It’s quick, rational and typically, boring.  Although, we are targeting a professional audience rather than consumers, our audience are still people, whose emotions factor in to their decision-making processes.  For this reason, case studies, customer testimonials, and references are powerful marketing tools.  In last week’s post, we discussed customer retention versus customer loyalty, and why loyalty and not just retention is important.  The importance of customer loyalty is directly related to prospects responding to stories better than facts and opinions.

The article mentions several b-to-c companies that have harnessed the power of story-telling including Nike, Apple, Harley-Davidson, and Volkswagen.  However, b-to-b companies are recognizing the importance of using stories to convey their messages as well.  In Marketingprofs post Serial Storytelling: Email Marketing’s Missing Link , Neil Squillante discusses how storytelling is especially effective in email marketing because it often takes more than one touch to get the prospects attention and solicit a response.

So when creating the content for your next lead nurturing campaign, consider using a story or series of stories to get your message across.  You might find that storytelling is more effective than packing your messages with facts, figures, offers and action items.