Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2017 and updated in February 2022 to add more creative storytelling marketing ideas for your customer stories!
As technology marketers, or technologists, our comfort zone often lies in our product knowledge. If you are the MASTER of telling people how awesome your products are and why they should use them, your potential customers probably checked out a long time ago.
But, have you heard of storytelling marketing? Storytelling marketing uses a narrative to communicate a message and aims to make customers feel something and inspire them to take action. Storytelling in marketing helps your customers understand why they should care about something and why they need your product.
Customers are the single best asset any marketer has. Yet, as reported year after year in our annual B2B Technology Marketing Benchmarks and Trends report, lots of technology marketers struggle to feature customers in marketing at all.
That’s where storytelling marketing comes into play – it’s time to flip the switch on this and put your customers front and center. While you may think your products are being used one way, it’s often not the case. When was the last time you actually called a customer and asked them how they use your products, why they love working with you, and what benefits they are seeing?
Ask yourself how engaging your customer stories are. Do prospects read them? Do they engage with them? Maybe it’s time to change up the same old 2-page PDF you’ve been doing for years.
Storytelling Marketing: Creative ideas to showcase customer stories
According to the Social Science Research Institute, 65% of us are visual learners. Why not illustrate your customer story with a super creative, visually engaging infographic case study? As with any good story, your customer case studies or success stories should have:
- A hero
- A villain
- Human problems and emotions
- A memorable ending
A Story Book
This may sound a little crazy but have you thought about an online chapter book? A case in point is Microsoft Stories. The Microsoft News team wrote a great story about their facilities manager and tried to release it to the press. Guess what? No bites! So, the team tried a different tactic and turned it into a page-turning story with compelling photography and video and put it online. Through this whole process they showcase how Microsoft built the city of the future – all using Microsoft technologies. This is an excellent way to feature several customers (or projects) in one compelling piece.
What’s a use case? We create one-page use cases like the sample image to help clients visually convey lots of different things from process automation to product benefits. But we have also created use cases to tell customer stories, including anonymous stories when you can’t name your customer. Don’t let that barrier keep you from telling fantastic success stories in a fun, concise, and appealing way.
Podcasting is a little-used medium for technology marketers – mostly because content producers are afraid of the technology side of it. Never mind the fact that some of us are just uncomfortable speaking publicly or being on camera. This is a great opportunity for you to look inside your organization for that person who is a great public speaker. Podcasting lends itself really well to technical discussions (if you’re talking to an IT audience), customer stories (you can co-host with a customer), or positioning yourself as a subject matter expert. Great examples exist all over the place. Perhaps you could start with your support desk. They impart valuable knowledge all the time for your customers and this is a great way to shine a light on them and their expertise.
In the era of remote working, we are all used to being on video calls at this point. Why not take advantage of that and schedule a video case study interview with one of your best customers? Talk through the project, how your teams worked together, and the positive outcomes they experienced as a result of your partnership. Still can’t get a customer to commit? Interview your account managers and technical resources to tell the story of a customer project without naming the customer.
Need help telling your customer stories…creatively? The Partner Marketing Group excels at facilitating the entire process between you and your customers from professional interviews to compelling stories. Get in touch if you’d like some fresh ideas and an expert team to support you.