The perfect combination: storytelling and marketing automation

At first glance, combining automation with the storytelling may seem like a risky task. On the one hand we have the action based on the analysis of a large data resources, which result in messages sent to hundreds or even thousands of recipients. On the other hand, creating interesting and inspiring stories. If these two activities have a common denominator? It turns out that they have, and text we will show you a few ideas that can be implemented using the tools built into the platform Synerise, which is used to automate marketing and realize omnichannel strategies.

Marketing Automation has a number of advantages, but its implementation requires certain rules, which we presented some time ago. One of them is to provide clients with valuable and contextually personalized content, according to the principle: “If content is the king, context is a God!” So let’s go a step further and think about storytelling, so that advertising campaigns and notifications can gain in quality. They will not only be delivered in the right context and time, but in an interesting form for a customer. Interesting, not trivial text is no less important than the accurately made segmentation and characteristics of a target group. This is particularly important because of an information noise, which we encounter almost every day.

Briefly about storytelling

The basic concept in storytelling is a “story”. In standard marketing we usually focus on objective indicators and specific effects. However, the storytelling strategy is based on creating a fascinating narration. This is approach, in which content is important which cause a positive associations and emotions, as well as to attract recipient attention. A good story in e-commerce should be interactive and draw a client into a relationship with a brand, a product or a store. But what is less obvious, sometimes it is better to focus on buyer and his needs (and emotions) than the offered product. Good story entertains, teaches, surprises, raise client’s emotions, and thus provokes him to react. Paweł Tkaczyk recommends two strategies for creating a narrative in e-commerce. The first tells about creation a funny story, that results in an increase in customer interaction with the message, so you can increase online traffic. The second strategy resolve to the creation of such a narration about the product, service or a brand that builds customer confidence about their uniqueness. This increases the perceived value of the product by the customer, and consequently its readiness to purchase or invest more money.

Where to find inspiration?

Persons wishing to implement elements of storytelling in their marketing activities, may be interested in biographies and styles of communication of inspirational speakers. For example, Steve Jobs had a habit of asking about the inner motivations and desires of the people (What makes your heart sing?), which allowed him to show their role in the creation of any story. Is the success of Apple products is not affected by Jobs’ passion and the way he presented this at their conferences?

Other great business people convince that in order to reach people, simplicity and clarity of communications is important. Richard Branson, the British billionaire and founder of more than 400 companies associate in the Virgin Group, believes that a speech, which content is too big to be located at the back of an envelope is suitable only for the trash. Similiar thoughts has Tesla founder Elon Musk who tries during his speeches to present the most complicated problems, such as batteries rechargeable by the sun’s rays, in as simple as possible manner – through simple symbols and analogies. Of course, the desires arousing or simplification is not the only strategy. You can rely on people’s education, motivation and even initiation of social movements. Further discussion of such strategies is available in the presentation „The Storyteller’s Secret”, by Carmine Gallo.

Modern marketing is largely based on listening and observing a client, which means gathering lots of data about its behavior and can be perfectly implemented with the use of the platform like Revenue Performance Management, which is for example Synerise. In this way we gain knowledge about customers, but we may risk a situation in which a data is in the center of a company. Facebook understood that platform is not limited to solutions based on big data, but also creates activities, which are based on the story of a friendship with certain person or occasional films, like it was with Thanksgiving Day. The aim is to create an emotional bond between the brand (Facebook profile) and its users.

A few practical tips

The Synerise platform allows reaching customers through multiple channels in a real time. With our tools, marketers can realize various types of automated campaigns: emails, text messages, based on the PUSH notifications or beacons. What is more, there is also the possibility to create dynamic blocks in mobile applications and newsletters sending. So you can see how many opportunities Synerise creates to reach customers. Extended, but intuition based solutions (blocks, the drag & drop method), templates creators, allow to prepare creative messages, which then reaches a specific customer segment. Now consider which elements of storytelling can be used in these templates. Here are some tips:

  1. Tell customer stories – let’s say you run a gift shop and you want to create a promotional campaign because of Valentine’s Day. It will not be too original, but may increase the chance of a positive reaction when you join to the message from one of the clients, in which he shares his personal history with a certain gift?
  2. “Talk” to customers – while designing a new newsletter, prepare a few sentences in the introduction where you thank for his subscription. Show customers why it is important for your company and present them the benefits.
  3. Use direct phrases – while designing any notification or an email message, consider the form in which you turn to your clients. It may be worthy to adjust direct phrase or messages introduction to the characteristics of the (segment) customers group? Think about what message can be done to the user in the youngest age group.
  4. Use your knowledge – do not hesitate to use the knowledge about your clients. Create segments and keep communication sensitive to the expectations, motivations and desires of your customers. Decide which customers might react better after notification maintained in a humorous convention, and where better to send a message showing the uniqueness of your offer. Or maybe try to combine these two approaches?
  5. Remember about the simplicity – of course this does not mean that communication with customers should be minimalist, based only on information (eg. Product “X” is available from today in the shop “Y”). This is not storytelling. However, do not overdo it here on the other side, especially in the communication channels, which have their limitations (eg. PUSH notifications or SMS).
  6. Take care of cohesion and originality of your messages – to facilitate this, you can rely on a few basic models and create narrations that say who you are, what you do in a particular place and where are you going, why you act in a particular way and what benefits you provide to customers.

A good story is like a recipe – is made up of several elements and requires adequate preparation. It is difficult for a universal solution, because much depends on the specifics of the business, as well as the characteristics of the client. Certainly, it is worthy to be interested in storytelling and not treat it as a strategy opposite to marketing based on the analysis of large amounts of data. The best way is in the middle, so you should combine both approaches, in what this article might be helpful.