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I Deliver Stories that Engage and Compel Your Prospects to Act

 

Marketers have varying opinions about what “engaging,” “storytelling,” and “compelling” mean. After 100+ case studies, here are some thoughts on what makes your story compelling and engaging.


Engaging

A case study, video or testimonial has to pass the reader’s “so what” test. I do this in many ways, but my favorite, is to place the customer’s challenge within a strategic context.

 

For example, I wrote a case study [insert link to Avantec case study] about an IT firm that offers low-power-consumption servers. My client supplies the low-power-consumption solid-state drives. They are great products. But the “real” story, from a customer-engagement perspective, is that by using these servers, data-center managers can dramatically cut their power consumption and costs.

Storytelling

Good stories are drama and drama is conflict. That’s why the Challenge, Solution, Results case study format has endured for so long.

 

So when I interview your customer, I look for “what kept me up at night” challenges (conflict.) I develop the “what options did we consider” story to flesh out your hero’s journey. And I get them to share the “why we really chose your products/services’” moment—that one nudge your team gave to trigger a purchase decision. Then comes the happy ending (Real-world metrics and results) and the implicit promise that by coming to you, they too can have a happily-ever-after experience.

 

Compelling

When creating content that B2B IT buyers find compelling, I follow the three “makes:”

 

I Make it real. In my experience, IT buyers don’t expect perfection. That’s because they live in the real world where bad things happen (implementation fumbles, customer service issues, billing mixups and so on.) So when you talk about your hiccups, it’s like breathing pine-scented air in the Colorado forest. And it gives you a chance to answer the real question your prospects have. “What did you do about it?”

I Make it measurable. The ending puts a bow on your customer’s conflict and journey by showing the results of your products/services. Qualifiers (“great,” “big improvement”) are ok, but left-brained IT buyers find numbers, figures and tables more compelling.


I Make it a story that uses their own words. One of the reasons that social media is used so heavily by B2C consumers is because they trust the words of friends, family, peers and users infinitely more than corporate ads. B2B buyers also trust peers, friends, and colleagues. As a result, I favor the use of your customer’s own words to tell your story. That means using quotes that include the speaker’s own style, idioms and expressions. It’s compelling. And it puts the exclamation point in “real!”