For most people, the Golden Globes are seen as both a fancy awards night as well as another standard for measuring what comes out of Hollwood. What most people miss however is that it’s also an event that rewards great storytelling.
And in B2B marketing, storytelling has become the new Golden Globe standard for creating content. A particularly unique challenge however is that storytelling has tendencies to blur fiction and fact.
If you think that B2B marketers are a way behind in the storytelling department, you’d be right for the most part. Often times the process is still focused on that fateful encounter between a savvy sales rep and a hesitant prospect. Then after that, it’s really all about going long-term with the customer.
What this mindset fails to consider is that good storytelling can be important when new customers have become a necessity. Today, even professionals (the target markets of B2B lead generators) are in a constant state of shifting attention. In fact, Microsoft itself shifted its own enterprise marketing strategy for this very reason.
That’s why a good sense of presenting fact versus fiction is critical. You’d be surprised at the consequences that all marketers face when this line isn’t so clearly drawn.
Storytelling leaves a bigger impression
Look at certain media franchises like Transformers or shows centered on a particular profession like Mad Men. Plenty of them are centered on what is supposedly a bread-and-butter product or idea. Everything else is really just meant to popularize it. The result, while in many ways successful, also includes people who are affected by the disconnection between the marketing material and the actual thing. For Transformers, it’s the people who now hate Michael Bay. For Mad Men, it’s the professionals who think the kind of corporate culture being characterized is both an offense and a misconception.
Marketing stories leave a much stronger impression that could overshadow actual facts surrounding the original product. This could be a problem if prospects are more or less uninitiated and can’t set aside the fiction you brewed up.
Lessons in the story must have real value
While Microsoft’s own storytelling experiment seems worth emulating, some questions are left unanswered. For example, even if a layman forwarded their interesting piece to someone who better fits their buyer persona, that prospect has more knowledge on the subject.
It’s that knowledge that can serve as the real obstacle, not simply just getting their attention (although that too remains an objective). A prospect who knows more on the subject matter is also more likely to question, criticize, and still weigh your value proposition.
Separating fiction from fact might not entirely resolve these issues but it’s better to be aware. You don’t want to get caught by surprise that your well-written, story-driven marketing strategy is giving the wrong impression more often than converting leads into sales.