If you haven’t already seen it, watch this video. Apple has an ad which tells a story about a Grandmother receiving a holiday surprise from her Granddaughter. She surprises her with a very special song. I won’t elaborate on the details for those who haven’t seen the spot. Just get ready to cry.
Love’em or hate’em, score one for Apple.
Good stories are memorable. Great ones evoke emotion. As I learned from the tour guide at our local historical village museum, there was a time when your family’s popularity was determined by the quality of your storytellers. Neighbors always seemed to spend the most time at the home of the people who told the best stories. I guess the number of houseguests then would equate to YouTube hits now?
It’s the same for B2B marketers. You need to have both good information (a great story) and a good way to communicate (a great storyteller). Those who can tell the best story in the most engaging way will be the most successful marketers.
At SIGMA we use marketing analytics to tell the stories of our client’s customers. But the insights we pull from the data rarely stand alone; we have to put them in the context of the customer experience. This is just as true for the B2B marketer as it is for the B2C marketer. Sure, it takes great math skills and good analytical tools to pull insights from the data, but it also takes good storytellers to drive the findings home. And when you tell a compelling story, it gets repeated and communicated far better around an organization than a bunch of charts. When it comes to making effective use of analytics in telling the customer’s story, here are three things the B2B marketer should focus on at the onset:
- Educate your business operations team about the value of analytics-driven customer stories. Make it a focus to establish a presence of business champions who can tell and re-tell your customers’ stories.
- Education within the analytics team about the importance of taking time to apply findings to the business and putting valuable nuggets of information into the context of a story. Effective storytelling will increase the understanding of how analytics positively impacts the business.
- Don’t expect to get it right immediately. Take a phased approach to growth and learning both within the analytics team and business operations around how to tell an engaging customer story with your analytical findings.
The ideal path is to grow analytics capabilities while simultaneously engaging business partners through smart storytelling. Be cautious of moving too fast in one dimension without the other. A strong analytics team that produces mountains of findings without context or actionable output is just as dangerous as a strong business team that skips the foundational data work. Begin here, and then start building your stories.