Americans live in a state of what has been described as “information overload”. Two-thirds of us own a smartphone and 29% of us claim it’s the first and last thing we look at on a typical day. In fact, adults across than 11 hours a day listening to the radio, using a phone, and watching TV.
In other words, more time than a typical workday.
Gone are the days when research required a trip the library to pour over materials in order to gather the necessary facts. A typical Google search can result in thousands of hits, which we then have to page through in order to find the best answer.
Enter information overload.
Why Does Information Overload Matter in B2B Marketing?
Potential buyers are making business decisions after thorough research, which has the potential to become overwhelming in our modern age. There is an abundance of reviews, star ratings, and opinions available, social media pages and interactive web pages, which means buyers are coming into the process armed with more information than in the past.
No longer are B2B salespeople the first source of information. Technology has armed us with almost everything we need to find what we are looking for, research, and compare in a short amount of time. Customers now hold the reigns and have the power.
Why does this matter to a B2B marketer? Shouldn’t a great amount of information be seen as a benefit to the industry?
Only if your company’s information is the most relevant and most reachable to your audience.
Storytelling in B2B Marketing
Telling a story is as old as time. Even before the age of print, stories told with words and written by hand were passed down from parent to child to neighbor, and the cycle continued. Storytelling has the potential of being a powerful force in persuasion, conversion, and influence.
Today, storytelling takes on the varied forms of blog posts, tweets, a video, or an e-book. An effective infographic can persuade. A whitepaper has the possibility to convert. And an illustration may bring more influence than we understand.
In the B2B marketing industry, telling a great story is about connecting with your audience. As content marketing continues to expand into social media, blogs, and whitepapers, storytelling becomes another resource content marketers can add to their arsenal of tools.
When presented effectively, storytelling can:
- Offer a different, creative approach
- Leave the audience (potential buyer) to decide what the ending will be
- Create a connection between your business and your audience
- Present illustrations that show your customers potential solutions to real problems
- Engage audiences of all types while presenting a human approach
Meeting the Challenge
Content Marketing Institute offers 7 archetypes that are central to good brand storytelling in B2B content marketing. They include:
- The Quest (progression through challenges)
- Overcoming monsters (making the customer the hero)
- Rags to riches
- Voyage and return
A good story reaches across boundaries by appealing to emotion that connects on a human level. By giving potential customers (readers) interesting information that is relevant and educational, you are providing them with a new form of content. Although the B2B industry is business to business, it is also about humans who can relate on a deeper level. Of course you want to make the sale, and of course the goal is to lead and convert. But if you can appeal to a buyer’s values through an interesting narrative that also connects to your company goals, you can be one step closer to the goal.
The B2B buying process is extensive, untraditional, and marked by multiple decision-makers, but there are ways to connect on a people-to-people level. Begin to build your story that supports your business and reinforces your company’s mission; try storytelling as a way to propel your B2B content marketing. You may be surprised at what you find.
Has your B2B company embraced storytelling as a content marketing resource? What has been your experience with telling a good story in order to reach potential customers?