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Entries Tagged as 'Sales'

Have we lost the art of storytelling in marketing?

November 5th, 2012 · Branding, Content Marketing, Psychology, Sales, Storytelling

As the buzz about content marketing, social media and all things digital continues to rise, one of the catch phrases that gets a lot of attention is storytelling in marketing.  We afford it incredible lip service but do we actually practice it?

As we give way to our USA Today sound byte style of sharing information, are we losing the emotional tug of telling a great story?  Even in our case studies where we’re trying to help the prospects see themselves in relation to someone we’ve already helped  – are we too focused on the facts and too willing to sacrifice that emotional tug?

I worry that we are so focused on making sure we communicate the facts that we don’t trust your audience enough to find them if they’re wrapped in the emotion of the brand. The danger of that is that buying is an emotional response.  We buy based on our emotions and justify the purchase with the facts offered. But we very rarely buy on facts alone. So it we don’t offer up both sides of the equation — we leave our prospects wanting and our cash registers empty. Storytelling in marketing isn’t just to entertain or be memorable.  It is to drive brand loyalty and increased sales.

What made me ponder this on a Sunday morning is a local phenomenon that put the spotlight on the potency of storytelling for me. A Dunkin’ Donuts opened up in my community (we may be one of the few cities in the country that didn’t already have one) and the line on opening day was literally around the block.  Seriously — who stands in line for an hour for a donut?

Well, they did. And when I thought about the brand…I too had a very warm reaction to it. When I hear “Dunkin’ Donuts” my mind immediately goes back to the wonderful story driven TV spots they did back in the early 80s.

They used a character (Fred the Baker) to tell the audience why Dunkin’ Donuts were better — fresher, more variety and certainly made with more love.  I still crack up when I think of Fred in his dress, covering up his mustache, trying to get some competitive intelligence.

That’s great storytelling.  I not only learn that Dunkin’ Donuts bakes their donuts all day so they’re always fresh, but I learn about the variety (5 kinds of jelly donuts) and their commitment to quality. And it was funny to boot.

On the flip side of the emotional scale, there are few brands that tug at the heartstrings with their TV spots like Hallmark and Folgers.  Very different products but the same link to family and special times.  Check out these spots and see how you react to both the story and the brand.

 

If you look at the dates on these spots — you’ll see that they’re all more than 20 years old.   I’m hard pressed to think of a company today that takes the time to tell the same sort of story (Budweiser may be the exception) today — in any media.

So here are some questions I’m pondering and wonder what you think:

  • Has this sort of storytelling become passé?
  • Are their any brands out there today who do this sort of storytelling in any media?
  • Does social media and content marketing really lend itself to good storytelling?
  • Do we need to go “old school” to really work storytelling into our marketing efforts?
  • Are we equating storytelling to factual case studies rather than emotionally triggering customer stories?
  • Is there a current brand that is really using storytelling to create an emotional connection with their audience?
  • How can we better marry the digital marketing tools with the age old art of telling compelling stories?

Storytelling in marketing is hardly new. But it’s as effective today as it was when David Ogilvy and the other patriarchs of our field wove their compelling tales. The question is — how good are we at marrying the old and the new?

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Video can make a prospect’s concerns go away

October 8th, 2012 · Media, Psychology, Sales

Video is a very useful medium that most companies underuse. But when they are used…they’re typically used to sell or teach.  All of that is well and good.

But I think you might be missing the boat on an opportunity to make your prospects concerns go away.

I’m in Arizona for 10 days — a mix of working with clients and speaking at a conference. I didn’t want to pack enough clothes to cover all 10 days so I decided to pack for 5 or 6 and hit a laundromat on my day off, in between meetings.  I know…the glamours of business travel!

So now it’s Saturday and for me, it’s “find a laundromat” day.  I’m in a city I don’t know and I’m heading to a laundromat, which is usually not a high end consumer experience.  So I have some concerns.

  • Will it be clean?
  • What hours is it open – can I go during daylight?
  • What’s the neighborhood like?
  • Is it crazy expensive?
  • How many machines do they have? Will I have to wait?

So I turn to the digital yellow pages.  Now I am really flying blind. But, on one of the listings — the laundromat had a video. They showed me how clean it was. They showed me the neighborhood.  They demonstrated that there’s always a staff person on-site.  They even showed me how much the detergent etc. would cost.  Their video made my concerns go away.

It wasn’t the closest laundromat. But, because of the video I was happy to pay for a longer cab ride to go to Ginny’s Washhouse. Why? They’d nullified my concerns.

All the laundromats had text in their ads that said they were clean and safe. But only Ginny’s proved it to me by showing me that it was true.

How is this relevant for you? Your potential customers have worries about you too.  They might worry that you’re too far away or hard to find. They might be concerned that you’re too expensive or you don’t understand their industry.  But deep down inside, every prospect has a worry or two about you.

Some of them will show up anyway.  Or pick up the phone and ask about their concern. But many will simply fade away, not ready to proceed with that nagging worry in the back of their head.

The old marketing model would have been to put the spotlight on all that you do right and ignore those worries, hoping they’d go away. Today, we know better.

Attack those buyer concerns and worries.  Pull them out into the light and deal with them.  And a really powerful way to do that is with video. Our brains may believe bullet points and text but our hearts believe what we see.  Video packs a multimedia punch that can use emotions, strong visuals and even music to create a tone of reassurance and confidence.

Keep in mind that sometimes their fears aren’t as easy to visually deal with as whether or not the floors are clean.  You may need to use a testimonial approach where a current client looks into the camera and says, “I thought AB&C was going to be way out of my budget range so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out it only cost $X.”

Get creative — but get to their worries and answer them right up front.

 

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They’ll buy when they trust

September 27th, 2012 · Business Owner/Leader Stuff, Content Marketing, Psychology, Sales, Social Media · 6 Comments

Here’s an equation that every business owner needs to understand. Know + Like + Trust = Buy. Whether you sell toothbrushes or multi-million dollar medical equipment and everything in between — until a customer: Knows who you are Likes who you are Trusts you there is no purchase.  The depth of the trust required varies [Read more...]

What clear signals do you suppose you’re missing?

August 8th, 2012 · Customers/Clients, Psychology, Sales · 4 Comments

I had a few little electrical projects that needed to be done around the house. So I turned to my Angie’s List favorites. Once I found the right business, I had an array of choices in terms of how I wanted to connect with them.  I clicked on the email icon and jotted a quick [Read more...]

Funny doesn’t sell well

July 25th, 2012 · Media, Sales, Strategy · 3 Comments

Apparently, other people were pondering the same question I was last week when I asserted that advertising can’t just be funny. Now — a recent study is showing that funny doesn’t really sell well. One in five TV ads are funny, and Super Bowl ads are three times funnier than the rest. But none of this [Read more...]

Does your funnel need fixing?

July 23rd, 2012 · Sales, Web/Tech · 1 Comment

People come to your website every day.  They pop in and pop out.  Some spend a few seconds while others read page after to page, lingering for many minutes. Wouldn’t it be incredible to not only know who those anonymous visitors are but what links, pages and information they clicked on? Well, now it’s possible. [Read more...]

Twitter and Facebook ROI

July 8th, 2012 · Money/ROI, Sales, Social Media, Strategy · 12 Comments

This has to be one of the biggest questions banging around marketing conferences, blogs and social media gatherings.  “How do we measure the return on my investment (ROI) for the time, money and effort we put into Twitter and Facebook?” To truly answer that question, you need to define your own ROI. If it is [Read more...]

How do you create urgency?

June 6th, 2012 · Psychology, Sales · 7 Comments

I’ve been in several conversations with clients and other business owners of late all surrounding the issue of creating urgency in potential buyers. You’ve probably found yourself in the same situation. You know your product or service has incredible value but no one seems in a big hurry to buy it. How do you move [Read more...]

The worst sales email ever

May 24th, 2012 · Marketing, Sales · 9 Comments

Maybe I’m wrong and you can top this…but check this out: Hi folks, Name Name here from InvestorGuide.com. Our network of sites reaches a business savvy audience of over 5 million people every month. We also have a million opt-in subscribers and 125,000 financial advisors ready to receive dedicated email blasts. We’ve been in this [Read more...]

What is the next step?

April 25th, 2012 · Marketing, Psychology, Sales, Strategy · 8 Comments

That’s the question you should ask yourself as you create any marketing piece.  “What is the next step I want the prospect to take?” Whether it’s a Facebook fan page, an enewsletter, a TV spot or a blimp with your logo on it — you have earned their momentary attention.  What are you going to [Read more...]