Data driven storytelling can take your business to all the right places.
The essence of all human interaction is rooted in storytelling. Even something as innocuous as a greeting like, “Hi, how are you?” or “What’s up?” is essentially setting the stage or looking for a story. A good story can help persuade people, influence their decisions, and motivate them to be loyal to your brand.
People are the product of their culture and feelings. A good advertising, marketing or sales professional will tell you, the art of persuasion is in being able to relate to people culturally, to get a sense of how they’re feeling at the time and telling them a great story. Good content is the same, it connects with people and tells a good story that they can relate to. It’s a lot more than a good idea, smart phrases and great syntax, it’s about the story people derive from it and how this story helps them connect to the content. For instance, the real power in the phrase “be the change you want to see” is in the fact that it lets people envisage their stories of change for themselves so they can relate to it and commit to it.
Take your audience along on a journey, and make sure they can enjoy it enough to want to benefit from it. This calls for some serious expertise in balancing facts with emotional subtleties. It’s got to take them on a journey from where they are to where they’d like to go, who they’d like to be or how they’d like to feel. It’s not so much about telling the best story as much as it is about telling the one that matters and what it inspires.
Telling stories in the time of the Internet and social media needs a new language to resonate with people who are more connected with the world. This new evolved audience demands a more personalized style of storytelling. It’s time to rethink how you tell stories and what journeys they need to take people on, so you can persuade audiences to buy-in to your brand’s narrative and become loyal customers and advocates. This is where the data comes in. It can help identify what future and current customers need and expect from your products and services. It’s only a matter of time before brands break down the silos of information and successfully integrate data for a more holistic customer view.
Data-driven storytelling is here to stay. Businesses are focussed on creating strategies that include governance and quality of data at every touchpoint. They work incessantly towards refining analytics to predict trends, attract more attention, and convert leads to customers. Further, there is a growing tendency to measure marketing strategy in terms of its contribution to the larger enterprise objective as a whole, rather than just restrict it to a specific effort or campaign. With the volume and detail that data presents, it’s no wonder that data is driving storytelling too.
Connecting the dots from data to content in a multi-channel perspective needs some planning. With a wide choice of channels for customers to choose from to reach businesses, there needs to be just the right quantity and quality of content to keep pace. With all this data at hand, remember to keep your sights on what’s important so you can craft the right stories to keep content relevant and impactful, and be sure to get your timing right.
Keep personas in your sights. There’s so much talk about customers wanting personalized content, it’s easy to get carried away and not see the forest for the trees. It would be a waste of time to try and personalize content for every customer when you can focus on personas of your real buyers and influencers. After all, their word holds more water than your own when it comes to how effective and efficient your product or service actually is. Let’s not forget there are many points of entry on your customers’ journey to your business and multiple touchpoints where you can make a compelling case for them to become buyers.
High value or small details, which numbers matter? When it comes to data, everyone has a point of view about what’s important. Straight away let’s put an end to the debate and be clear that what matters is what can give you the most context. There are probably a wide range of numbers that pertain to each customer, but there are only a few that can present the right context and help you keep things real in terms of where, when, and how there was viable engagement. So focus on what gives you more context and work towards building on this information sensibly.
Sometimes the data is the content. What’s more, it’s also free. Keep your ear to the ground and pick up on story cues from the numerous interactions your brand has with customers, media, analysts, influencers, and talent. Listen closely to feedback from onboarding, sales, billing, and customer service teams for the real stories you can tell. Cast a wide net to gather all the data there is about your product or service on social media, industry reports, reviews,and even random mentions in the media. Take a little time to collate this data by context and personas and remember it’s all free and yours for the telling.
With marketing strategy being evaluated holistically rather than from campaign to campaign, data and content are in a continuous mutually beneficial relationship for the long term. Which means as the data keeps rolling in, the content will keep improving on itself, making the data-content continuum a reality. There can be no better way to tell better stories.
We’d like to leave you with a detailed presentation on storytelling in the age of social media.
If you have a story about how your data helped you tell a good story, write and tell us all about it in the comments below.
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