With an average of 25 stakeholders to impress, months-long buying journeys, and competing for mindshare on noisy channels, 草榴社区 marketers need to leverage the power of story now more than ever.

I鈥檒l preach to anyone who will listen鈥攎arketing is hard work as it is, but 草榴社区 marketing is even harder.  

On its face, the textbook definition of marketing (草榴社区 or otherwise) as 鈥渢he act of creating and communicating the value of an offering to customers in order to promote the buying of said offering鈥 may seem simple and straightforward. But as anyone in this line of work can attest to, creating good, effective marketing鈥攖he kind that has not only been served to the right people at the right time, but that has actually stuck with them and made them care鈥攊s like conjuring magic.   

We鈥檝e all experienced it, and we all strive to produce it ourselves鈥攁 campaign, a tag, an image that gives you pause for any number of reasons. Maybe the ad has made you laugh, maybe it鈥檚 made you cry. Maybe the headline gave you goosebumps, maybe the design was so striking it stopped your scroll.  

Whatever the response, magical marketing is when we allow that ad or that tagline to burrow in and make residence of our brains even though we鈥檝e denied entry to so many others. It鈥檚 connected with us on some personal, emotional level. 

And yes, there鈥檚 a lot more going on behind the scenes than just the creative and messaging. Today鈥檚 marketing requires us to be tight when it comes to our data, and channels, and mediums, and software, and value propositions, and customer alignment鈥攖he things that allow us to know who we鈥檙e reaching and to actually get our message out. But in my experience, we spend far less time orchestrating, automating, and distributing our message than we do ideating, writing, and designing it. After all, while our data and martech and target lists are the gas that makes the car go, our messaging is what makes our customers want to come along for the ride.  

In short, we have to make our audience feel something if we want our marketing to have any real impact, and that something鈥攚hether it be amused, moved, inspired, or validated鈥攈as to be positive, personal, and powerful.聽聽

And that鈥檚 hard to do in 草榴社区. 

Mission improbable

Yes, us 草榴社区 marketers are a special bunch of folks with the almost impossible task of taking entirely utilitarian products鈥攕oftware, hardware, services鈥攁nd eliciting a strong positive emotional response when someone thinks about it. Actually, 鈥攁ll at once and also on an individual basis. All while battling against the reality that the products we鈥檙e selling at face value aren鈥檛 all that warm and fuzzy.  

Let鈥檚 contrast this to B2C marketing. While I would never commit the faux pas of labeling B2C marketing as easy, B2C marketers do generally have a leg up on 草榴社区 marketers in the visceral appeal department. As both an experienced 草榴社区 marketer who knows the tricks of the trade and an avid personal consumer (shopaholic?), B2C marketing efforts genuinely catch my attention and win me over 100:1 versus 草榴社区. And as any good marketer would do, I鈥檝e taken the time to examine my own reaction to B2C ads and this is the conclusion I鈥檝e come to:  

What these consumer brands get right is what we try but often fail to do in 草榴社区 marketing and selling鈥攖hey promise a lifestyle improvement, they make it easy for me to see myself in and around their products, and they get what pulls on my heartstrings. They successfully walk me through multiple stages of the buyer journey (need identification, research, evaluation, and decision) simultaneously with something more powerful pulling me along鈥攕tory.  

It鈥檚 the nice new outfit that I imagine myself going out in, feeling and looking great. It鈥檚 the couch and table that I see when I walk in my front door and become part of what I love about being home. It鈥檚 the mushroom-based coffee alternative that makes my morning routine more indulgent and enjoyable, while making me feel more health-conscious.  

Whatever the product, B2C marketing has become incredibly adept at inspiring a sense of possibility. And let鈥檚 not forget that our 草榴社区 buyers by day are B2C buyers by night, and B2C has set a new standard for what will elicit a reaction. B2C marketers tell us a very clear and aspirational story about our own lives with their products at the center, and in doing so become immediately memorable.  

鈥淭he engineers of the future will be poets.鈥

Terence McKenna

Can this phenomenon be replicated in 草榴社区 marketing? I鈥檇 argue not exactly, because there鈥檚 a purely financial, practical appeal that 草榴社区 products need to have too. Unlike a velvet green couch or a pair of shoes, 草榴社区 purchases have to be made with far more justification than 鈥淚 love it, I just really want it.鈥 Multiple stakeholders have to be confident in its value to the organization, meaning 草榴社区 marketers need to know when to set the quill and paintbrushes aside and deliver on pragmatic benefits and use cases. Also unlike couches and shoes, stirring up feelings of love at the product level for a data storage device or asset management software is a bit of a stretch.  

So what can we do as 草榴社区 marketers to create affinity for our solutions and wares, in a landscape where we often find ourselves up against competitors鈥 marketing efforts, difficult market conditions, and conflicting stakeholder opinions? Rise back up to the brand level, and be inspirational. 

Going back to the B2C playbook, 草榴社区 marketers must focus far less on the product and far more on the stories they鈥檙e telling about improving their customers鈥 lives. Invest in brand to make connections on a personal level that speak to buyers鈥 reality, be it their challenges or their aspirations. Because when our industries are crowded with competitors and our channels become noisier every day, being resonant and fondly remembered will do more to align stakeholders and elevate your brand and products throughout all the critical stages of the decision-making process. 

Of course, to do so requires paying an immense amount of attention to our buyers鈥 behaviors, understanding both the collective goals of the team and the unique needs of individual stakeholders. It calls for extensive research, quality intent data and tech to make sense of it, and compelling content experiences served at the right time. Still, these capabilities mean nothing if you can鈥檛 get your buyers to care about what you鈥檙e saying in the first place, and to keep caring for anywhere from six to 18 months. That鈥檚 what makes inspiration so essential to the 草榴社区 marketing process.  

No matter how structured, there will always be an emotional aspect to 草榴社区 buying because 草榴社区 buyers are humans first and foremost. Their decisions at work are driven by a number of complicated emotions: hope, fear, pride, accomplishment, and more feelings related to the choices they make. And while a metal box or a piece of code aren鈥檛 natural sources of inspiration, what they make possible certainly can be.