The galvanizing story part 3: a B2B positioning example
We then looked at the new imperative in B2B marketing. The thing that, now that content marketing has bedded down, we all need to focus on: the galvanizing story.
A galvanizing story is the core narrative of your company (with other ones for each product line).
It’s the narrative that inspires and unites all your sales and marketing.
And it often includes five things: The change in the world; The potential; The obstacle; The breakthrough; And the pay-off.
The five things shouldn’t be a fill-in-the-blanks formula. More like a guide to answering some important questions.
Now let’s look at an example.
OpenMarket goes high
When OpenMarket came to us, they had a fantastic offer and a deeply loyal customers base. They provided large-scale SMS services for companies that wanted to communicate directly with their customers.
It was kind of a techie play and OpenMarket played it well. But they were finding themselves stuck in discussions about the features of their A2P (application-to-person) platform with the people who owned the text delivery problem.
As we progressed through our positioning process, working closely with James Cox and his team, a fantastic story started to emerge.
This wasn’t a tech story about delivering texts. It was a customer experience story about surprising customers with relevant, helpful information and interactions just when they would most welcome that interaction.
One example: a train company sending users of their mobile app a text about their arrival platform—30 seconds before the information hits the big board.
One more: a car dealership sending an appointment reminder the day before a test drive (and re-scheduling via text if necessary).
The galvanizing story
We built OpenMarket’s galvanizing story around the idea of the “Empathetic Interaction”, moments of utility and relevance delivered automatically to customers based on their profile, history and context.
The story goes something like this:
“Over the course of your relationships, your customers experience certain moments; moments when a timely, relevant interaction with you would make a disproportionate impact on them.
What’s different today is that they’re starting to notice those moments—and expect you to notice them too. If you seize these opportunities, you can blow them away with empathetic interactions they’ll thank you for.
The problem is, current ways of reaching your customers aren’t up to the challenge of delivering empathetic interactions at scale. No one opens emails. Automated voice systems annoy the hell out of people (and force them to make the first move). And call center experiences are frustrating for customers (and expensive for you).
OpenMarket’s Mobile Engagement Platform makes it easy to spot opportunities for empathetic interactions, then automate the delivery of intelligent, timely and helpful messages that seize those opportunities.
The result: remarkable customer experiences that drive revenue while building long-term loyalty.
That’s the story. Now let’s look at the five parts, as described in the last post:
The change in the world
This is the fresh spin on hard-to-deny trends, topped by a real change in the market that triggers the need for a response.
In OpenMarket’s case, the world view is about their customers’ customers—the way their needs vary over time and peak at specific moments; and the way their expectations have changed too.
Remember, the world view shouldn’t be controversial. Prospects should recognize it as the world they’re living and competing in. But it should also feel fresh. Not just an obvious truism.
In this case, the freshness comes from zooming in on specific moments of opportunity. And the accepted, recognizable part comes from the dawning realization that CX is pretty much the whole game now.
The new potential
This is about the new potential for improvement.
For OpenMarket, it’s not really about solving a problem, it’s about seizing an opportunity: blowing customers away with unexpected moments of empathy that make their lives easier—and doing it at scale.
The challenge here is that there are so many different examples of empathetic interactions created by a timely, automated text message. We need to get prospects to apply the approach to their own situations, coming up with their own ideas (a lot of the content in the OpenMarket program works on this).
The thing holding prospects back from seizing the new opportunity.
For OpenMarket’s prospects, the obstacles are the current ways of interacting with customers—chiefly email and the call center.
This one’s not a big leap. Current customer communications channels really are limited and just not optimized for the kind of timely, personalized, empathetic interactions we’re talking about.
The change on the supply-side that makes it possible to overcome the obstacles and realize the new potential.
In this case, the breakthrough is the platform itself: a new combination of existing technologies (including workflow, core system integrations, multi-channel plug-ins, personalization, and relationships with mobile operators worldwide).
Like a lot of new ideas, this one combines new technologies with a new mindset—a new way of thinking about automating and personalizing customer interactions .
The final piece is about the benefits that the breakthrough will deliver and the reasons someone should consider change.
For OpenMarket, it’s all about upside: new customer acquisition, loyalty, revenue per customer, stuff like that.
The upside story will depend on the specific customer use cases, so credibility here depends on lots of customer stories (thankfully OpenMarket has plenty to share).
What their galvanizing story did for OpenMarket
Without a galvanizing story, OpenMarket would do what the vast majority of B2B companies do: bring a whole lot of different stories to market at once.
- The sales guys would go in with a story, for instance, about SMS delivery efficiency.
- The website would be all about the global platform.
- The content would cover a whole bunch of issues for different audiences and funnel stages.
And none of it would add up to anything.
With their galvanizing story, everything OpenMarket does refers back to this core narrative.
There are still lots of different campaigns and content pieces, but they all hang together. They all contribute to a cohesive narrative.
Taking the story to market
Armed with our new galvanizing story, we went to market with clarity and focus.
In the first few months, we produced fourteen inter-connected pieces of content – including ebooks, workbooks, a video, an interactive String and a number of customer stories.
The top-of-funnel content evangelized better customer experiences driven by text interactions, while middle-of-the-funnel content highlighted real-world use cases and bottom-funnel stuff drilled down into the platform itself.
The content was delivered through a new website and resource center plus a series of lead nurture streams executed via marketing automation.
Here’s one of the videos:
The new positioning and new story resonated, seeing a spike in every engagement and conversion metric and leading to a $10 million pipeline and three big, flagship customers in the first year.
The early indicators of engagement and conversion for the first 6 months included:
- 22% increase in new users
- 182% increase in session duration
- 54% increase in social network traffic
- 48% increase in organic traffic (helped by a hike in domain authority)
- 21% increase in online PR traffic (blogging and news sites)
It worked because the whole marketing program was aligned around one strong story. A galvanizing story.
Next post in the series? The heart of the matter.