I make a living helping B2B software companies position effectively, but I recently sent an e-mail to a prospect telling him to hire a good writer rather than me. While the prospect’s position wasn’t very compelling, the writing was terrible. The prospect needed a quick fix, not a several month positioning project. I felt a good writer would give the prospect time to do positioning right.
Plus good writing – especially good story telling – has the potential to overcome lousy positioning at least in the short term. That’s because good writers know how to tell a compelling story, and nothing is more effective in B2B marketing than telling a good story about your company, product or service. Why?
The brain can’t tell the difference between reality and a well-told story, according to a must read book for B2B marketers, “Neuromarketing: Understanding the “Buy Buttons” in Your Customer’s Brain.”
Stories are a powerful way to highlight a benefit
“Stories represent a powerful way of highlighting one of your benefits or one of your claims,” the book explains. “They help make a point without resistance or objection from your audience.”
I recently reviewed my notes I took several years ago when I read “Neuromarketing.” It reminded me that the authors do a brilliant job of explaining the how and why of effective marketing communication.
When you finish reading “Neuromarketing,” you will understand how the brain works, what it likes to hear and see and what it doesn’t like.
Direct your message to the decision making portion of the brain
The brain has three distinct parts, researchers say, and the way to improve the effectiveness of your communications is to direct your message to the decision maker. That’s the reptilian brain which makes decisions by taking into account input from the new brain (which thinks by processing rational data) and the middle brain (which feels by processing emotions and gut feelings).
In the book, “How the Brain Works,” a human brain scientist Leslie Hart states, “Much evidence now indicates that the reptilian brain is the main switch in determining what sensory input will go to the new brain, and what decisions will be accepted.”
The brain believes it has lived your story
The impact of a good story is that it makes your reptilian brain believe that you have actually lived it, according to “Neuromarketing:”
“Stories put the audience in a world of sensory impressions that make it impossible for the reptilian brain to differentiate between the reality and the story: the old reptilian brain feels that it has lived through the experience even if it has only heard it… When you tell a story, the subliminal message is that you care for your audience. It opens up their reptilian brain to your message. Stories equal caring.”
Nothing demonstrates caring more than to state a benefit that solves the target audience’s most pressing problem. Turn the conceptual benefit into a compelling story, and you’ve got your target audience where you want them – listening to your message.
The Membrain story
For example, Membrain software helps solve one of the biggest problems in B2B software sales – inconsistent, unreliable performance. While the positioning concept is that Membrain helps your sales team consistently make their numbers, the story goes like this:
“WHY CAN’T YOUR SALES REPS ALL BE LIKE CHAD?
“He consistently meets aggressive quotas. He has a strategy that works in complex B2B sales. But Chad can’t deliver the company’s sales forecast single-handedly.
“See how Membrain can make all of your sales reps a little more like Chad – and start selling a lot more consistently.”
Almost makes you want to buy, doesn’t it? Here’s why, according to “Neuromarketing:”
“Good stories have more impact on the reptilian brain and our subconscious than any rational fact.” A good story based on a compelling position is the best of both worlds.