Every B2B company has stories they can use in content marketing programs. The challenge is in how you frame them within your marketing content as helpful scenarios your prospects find relevant.
Think about why you read a novel or go see a movie. You want to be transported somewhere else. This is called suspension of disbelief. If the novel or movie is done well, the story moves you to believe its veracity for the time you're involved.
With a novel, this means you can visualize the story in your head. Have you ever read a book and then gone to see the movie they made from it? If you did so in this order - book, then movie - it's likely that the actors playing the characters don't match the picture in your head. Why? Because you visualized them based on your world view.
With marketing content, this is one reason why knowing your audience is so important. In a perfect scenario, your content should intersect with their world view. Which, from a marketing perspective, are the problems, issues and challenges that your products and solutions address based on their roles, responsibilities and industry.
Marketing content is very evolved from a high-level perspective. We can list the litany of attributes that make our products worthwhile, discuss the features, use the phrases we think our prospects want to hear about increasing efficiency, productivity and revenues or decreasing costs, time and missed opportunities.
The reason scenarios are important is because they take our content from 30,000 feet to 3 feet. Scenarios don't just help our prospects understand the concepts, but relate to them by being able to visualize what they might mean in practice for them and their companies.
At the 3-foot view, our prospects can get their hands dirty. They can transition from theory to what that might look like in practice. Kind of like a "visual" try-it-on-for-size experiment.
A scenario used in B2B marketing can be defined as:
The depiction of an experience your prospects or customers might have that relates to the problem your offerings resolve. The scenario can be focused on a situation that exists either before or after the problem has been solved.
The easiest way to picture this is with customer success stories. They usually discuss the problem, highlight the company's expertise and products applied to solve it and then showcase results.
The reason they usually aren't great scenarios is because they're focused on the nuts and bolts and on making your company look good. Imagine the power if they were actually told in a way that allowed the prospect to visualize themselves going through the experience. There's also no reason your company can't look good in these - even better than you think - if you embraced the opportunity to create them this way.
The way to get to the scenario level is to dive deeper into the details. Do you know how your prospects experience the issue? By knowing just what their pain points are, you can create scenarios that address them directly.
Let's say that you think the problem is that they're hesitant because they think user adoption and training will be too difficult and disruptive. You can write a content piece that makes the point about why your solution and training process is easier and then insert a scenario that illustrates the point. Put a person like your prospect in the lead role, overcoming that obstacle. Give them an in-the-trenches example of how it can be done.
Scenarios don't need to be novels. They can be effectively illustrated in several paragraphs and included in articles, eBooks, customer success stories; or a minute or two in webinars, videos, and podcasts.
However, using scenarios is a bold move. It takes work and creativity firmly grounded in the reality of your prospects and customers. But using them can result in a steady increase to pipeline momentum. Once a scenario is embedded with a prospect, they'll picture that in relation to everything else they read or see about the subject.
Just like you want the novel and the movie to match, they'll want what they picture to be how their situation is handled. If you're the one who creates that vision, you'll be more likely to become the partner chosen to help them get there.
How are you incorporating scenarios into your marketing content?