We all know traditional marketing at its roots is defined as the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service. But savvy, experienced marketers know it is about so much more. Marketing is about taking your customers on a journey during which you tell them your brand and product story in the most compelling and engaging way. Storytelling is a true art form, and as any artist will attest, it takes years of experience and refinement to do it correctly. So what elements must be present in any successful product story? Here I explain some of the most important to consider.
Know Your Customer
While most companies will tell you they know who their customer is, many marketers don’t really take their understanding beyond what standard segmentation analyses have told them. We commonly see target markets that are too broad and that simply list a bunch of potential customer demographics with little meaning or context. The real question to ask yourself is this: Do you really KNOW your customer? What do they enjoy and why? What inspires them to take risks or try something new? What would offer ease and convenience in their everyday life? What are they passionate about? The questions and others allow you to communicate with them in a manner that builds commonality and trust. Marketing is more than just knowing your customers’ demographics, it’s about knowing what moves them to act with passion.
Learn How to Evoke Emotions
To inspire true emotion from your customers, you need to know them at a deeper level. This includes understanding the emotional responses that trigger positive action or negative feelings. Skilled storytellers know how to trigger the positive and avoid negative emotions in customers, which ultimately shapes product development and branding. They help customers visualize your products or services in their lives. The art of storytelling is about getting your potential customers to trust and to fall in love with your brand, your products, services, and your story. When you reach into and tap core emotions with your story and product experience, you then begin to quickly build deeply loyal followers.
Inspire. Inspire. Inspire.
Another important element that all good storytellers understand is that they don’t rely on customers to tell them what they want. Most of the time, particularly when you are launching innovative products, your customers don’t yet know they need it – it’s too new. It becomes your responsibility to explain and tell them how their lives will improve and for you to inspire them to try it. Evoking emotions creates the pathway for customers to remember an experience, but inspiration is the key to getting them to try it and to tell others. Great storytellers know how to weave inspiration into all marketing mediums to enhance the desired emotional response.
In the end, learning how to be a great storyteller, or hiring someone who is already skilled at doing so, can be the most important piece of any marketing campaign. Whether you are in the beginning, middle, or end of a product cycle, ask yourself – what is your product story? If you don’t know – find someone that can help you create it.
Jill Cleveland spent 15 years at Apple and during her time in Product Marketing, she launched several major iPhone and iPad in Business campaigns worldwide and led the expansion of Apple’s Deployment Programs for Business in over 30 different countries. She is a key contributor for Greenline. Who is Greenline?: Greenline has a passion and track record of helping entrepreneurs and companies successfully bring their products and ideas to market. We help our clients succeed by engaging early on in the development process all the way through launch and into the growth phase of the product cycle. We have a particular expertise navigating how to develop relationships with Apple and across all other applicable channels by leveraging best practices, resources and a Rolodex that brings the right people to the table.
To learn more about how the Greenline team can help with your product storytelling, contact the Greenline Team today.