What is wine really? Just old grape juice with a really good story.
And because of that story, winemakers can charge $30 a bottle.
To spark your next great marketing story idea, we bring you examples from Tourisme Montréal, a pet supplies ecommerce site and a digital marketing agency.
This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.
Tesla is worth more than Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, GM, Ford, Honda, Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot combined (as of December 14, 2020 according to Michael Wayland and Lora Koldony of CNBC).
What is the difference between Tesla and all of those much more established car brands?
Well, you might say the electric car company has superior technology. Or that its products offer a better customer experience.
While those may be true, I would argue that Tesla simply has a better story. Something along the lines of “Real-life Tony Stark reinvents the concept of what’s possible in the automotive industry building fun, futuristic cars with Ludicrous Mode and retractable door handles that – oh by-the-way – will save the planet (while leading the first private company to send humans into space on the side).”
What is VW’s story? Or Fiat Chrysler’s? And how can it possibly compare? Even asset managers and fund administrators aren’t purely logical P/E ratio calculating machines. When they are trying to do the impossible and predict the future (profits of a company), they buy into a story.
Just like your potential customers consider the story of your products and services when they decide whether to purchase and how much to pay. Stories are the great margin builders.
But you don’t have to be Iron Man to leverage story in your marketing. You just have to raise your head up from the MarTech stack long enough to recognize that every print ad, every email, and every landing page can benefit from the power of story.
“Sometimes, when we get excited about the latest technology we can apply to a page or the most beautiful design, we miss the most important element — the soul of what we’re trying to talk about,” Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS Institute said in Leveraging Compelling Stories: How to draw out your value proposition from your company’s story (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).
Read on for three quick case studies of marketers who leveraged the power of story in their company’s marketing.
The international press relations and travel trade team at Tourisme Montréal wanted to reach out personally to 75 top international media in its priority markets (Canada, the USA and France), and let them experience Montréal like a local while showcasing its members.
But of course, these are not normal times. They couldn’t simply invite the press to visit due to the global pandemic. And the team itself felt strapped for resources after experiencing the economic repercussions of Covid-19 – they were downsized from 11 people.
The four remaining members – Gen, Monica, Martine and Marisa – decided to create a story set in Montréal. The characters would personify different neighborhoods, and the tale would incorporate many top attractions and iconic features of the city. The story was written in-house from scratch, complete with illustrations created for the project by the team coordinator’s daughter.
“A Montréal Winter Tale” was published as a printed book and recipients could hear an audio version of the story by scanning the QR code at the beginning of the book.
Creative Sample #1: Pages from print book created by municipal department of tourism for media promotion
The campaign required the somewhat delicate process of contacting each intended recipient individually to request their personal addresses and mobile numbers.
The print book was sent in a sophisticated gift box with a black exterior and gold interior, very subtly branded with the Tourisme Montréal logo, and containing four made-in-Montréal gifts that could be shared – a scented candle, the ingredients to make hot chocolate and homemade pancakes, maple syrup, and handmade candies. Each item, or the company that made it, had a fascinating backstory. Even the scented and recyclable wrapping and packing papers were part of the experience.
Creative Sample #2: Inside of box mailer created for media promotion by municipal department of tourism
Creative Sample #3: Box mailer contents, from media promotion created by municipal department of tourism
There was also a personal invitation in the box for these media recipients to come and re-discover Montréal in 2021, when the times will hopefully allow press trips.
The project was realized in less than eight weeks, with a minimal budget, and the reduced team working three days a week.
“So far, we got amazing testimonials from the media that received the package, touching them with our very own story,” said Geneviève Archambault, Manager – Media and Leisure Market, Tourisme Montréal.
“I had good open rates but poor conversions for my welcome email sequence. Then I inserted an email about the company that focuses around an interview [with Thrive Global about his personal story] as the second email in the sequence,” said Alex Willen, Founder, Cooper's Treats.
Willen used the subject line “We’d like to tell you a little bit about us.”
Creative Sample #4: Welcome series email from ecommerce dog treats website
The open rate on that email is about 40%, with two percent of people placing an order. Plus, the next email in the series now has a six percent higher open rate and 0.3% higher order rate.
The website for EWR Digital had a page featuring its local business clients. The conversion rate from this page was very low.
The team decided to try featuring full-length case studies telling the stories of exactly what the digital marketing agency did for each business. The case studies are split into five sections:
The team picked a range of businesses and objectives to showcase the full extent of its skills.
The case studies became very popular and are now among the most trafficked pages on the website. The conversion rate is more than 200% higher than the previous page. Now the agency has prospective businesses contact them saying they were very impressed by what the agency achieved, naming a business featured in one of the case studies.
“Case studies are a very powerful form of storytelling because they show instead of tell,” said Matt Bertram, CEO & SEO Strategist, EWR Digital. “If your audience can identify with the main character, the challenge and the objective, you can take them on a journey that engages them both rationally and emotionally.”
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