Stories are powerful, they allow us to learn, emotionally connect and they can carry a message. It’s the original form of entertainment and if you think about it, all good stories have a beginning, middle and end, with the emphasis being on getting your audience hooked early so they stay engaged until the end. How many of us love films, tv shows and books? All of us right? Because it’s a natural concept for us to latch on to.
People tell stories in the same way they share word of mouth. We’re so used to telling stories that we create a narrative even when we don’t need to. Stories provide a quick and easy way for people to acquire lots of knowledge in an engaging fashion that’s easy to remember.
So why use stories as part of your ABM?
Well like with anything, you make a decision based upon emotion which is reinforced by rationale. This way you are focusing on how you engage with your target audience, so that your story resonates with them, so they buy into your message.
When it comes to account-based marketing (ABM) you are going to focus on targeting the key stakeholders involved in the decision-making process as part of your strategy, which will mean all of your personalized content needs to be carrying the same vision/message. Focus on the creating a vision that the key personnel within the targeted accounts can resonate with, latch on to and share the vision and story across the business and departments.
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How do you tell stories that your audience wants to hear?
Content is king. Yes, it’s a common saying but it’s true, especially when it comes to ABM. Remember it’s all about resonating with your targeted stakeholders so you need to make sure your content is on point. Ideally, you would focus on their pain points, the challenges they face and how you can help solve them. If you want to learn more about what makes your targeted audience tick and incorporating behavioural science click here.
Through your in-depth research of your targeted accounts, stakeholders and pain points you should be in a good to create your content. Here are few formulas you can use:
1. Setup — Set the scene and introduce the character(s)
2. Confrontation or “Rising action” — Present a problem and build up the tension
3. Resolution — Resolve the problem
The three-act structure is a popular and straightforward storytelling formulas. You should be able to recognize this structure in stories you come across.
Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle
Why — Why the company exists
How — How the company fulfils its Why
What — What the company does to fulfil its Why
Simon Sinek is an author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant. He is one of the most viewed TED talks ever, with more than 30 million views. He explained that great companies like Apple inspire people and succeed because they use the Golden Circle formula. If you don’t know much about him I highly recommend you view his work.
Freytag’s Pyramid: Five-Act Structure
1. Exposition — Introduce important background information
2. Rising action — Tell a series of events to build up to the climax
3. Climax — Turn the story around (usually the most exciting part of the story)
4. Falling action — Continue the action from the climax
5. Dénouement — Ending the story with a resolution
This can be seen as an advanced version of the three-act structure, with the added layers of climax and falling action. This approach was created by Gustav Freytag when he analyzed the stories by Shakespeare and ancient Greek storytellers.
In account-based marketing, we focus on getting the ground work right and content is just one for the key fundamentals. Before we get to the stage of content creation we carry out an in-depth analysis of the market, key accounts, stake holders and have workshop session in coloration with our whole team.
We go one step further and use behavioral science to help understand our customer. It forms what we refer to as a buyer persona. The better the persona, the better the plan for talking to prospects and converting them into leads and sales. You don’t have to use science, but if it gives you the edge over your competitors, why wouldn’t you?
This forms the perfect basis for us to then go and create content in a story telling format that is interesting, in the correct format, resonates with the audience in a personalized manner.