Let your story become your customers’ story

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

There’s an old advertising saying I think can apply to marketing in general: When reading comms, customers are on the edge of their seats. Not because they’re excited, but because they are about to leave.

Our attention spans are getting shorter. This is an age of constant media updates, entire box sets that can be binged in one sitting, and cat videos that can be watched 24/7. Customers are busy folks, and yet half the emails and social ads I get leave me wondering, ‘why on earth should I care?’

And you know who are the real stinkers? It’s the ones that can’t stop talking about themselves.

‘We were founded in blah blah and we pride ourselves in doing this and this. We transform this and innovate that.’ Cool story, bro. But if you don’t straight up say what you’ll do for me, I don’t care.

Brands want to humanise themselves and tell their stories. That’s good – we all love a business with personality. The problem is those stories don’t address the needs, wants and challenges of those they are trying to engage.

There’s no excuse for irrelevance in the digital age. You can get the data. You can find the expertise. You can do the research. It’s time to ground our stories in the reality of our customers.

In other words, it’s time to go from me me me to we we we.

Make it all about them

Take this video we produced for Sage. Rather than make a generic brand awareness piece, we told the story of a real Sage customer, and let them explain how Sage enabled them to navigate the financial complexities of running a small business.

The subjects in the video were representative of those who saw the video. When they describe the challenges of juggling finances with craftmanship, the audience recognised their own frustrations – and saw Sage as the ones who not only understood their hardship, but could help them through it.

In this instance, Sage’s story quite literally become their customers’ story. The campaign was built from the ground up around specific customer challenges – and for this reason it stayed impactful and highly relevant.

Of course, video isn’t the only opportunity to engage customers. Whether it be emails or whitepapers or interactive tools, you need to look through each stage of your customer journey and ask yourself, ‘how can I make my product the conclusion to their story?’

Crafting an engaging narrative – one that genuinely will keep them on the edge of their seats – isn’t easy. I’ve written a lot in this series about the benefits of data-driven marketing. It's the collaboration of right-brain analytics with left-brain creativity that enables you to tell those compelling stories and ultimately become a business with a truly customer-centric vision.

At MOI, we specialise in turning the heads of the people that count. If you’d like to discuss how to you can craft messages which truly engage your prospects, then please get in touch.

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