Certain words pop in and out of our vocabulary. One word that seems to be very much in vogue these days is “narrative.” I find it a bit odd. We even hear sportscasters referencing how the narrative has changed when describing the journey of a team making its way to the playoffs. But your customers’ story is your new narrative.
At a time when our marketing lexicon has turned into techno-speak with terms—content, search optimization, click-through, impressions, etc.—it seems to have simultaneously given rebirth to a vocabulary of less hardened and more ethereal words, including emotion, authenticity and story.
We have known all along that creative marketing campaigns and a rigorous sales approach are key to generating and closing a sale. We also know that sometimes you can bring a horse to water but you can’t make it drink, or so the saying goes. While our creative content and messaging may successfully stimulate prospects to fill their (online) shopping cart, they will often abandon the sale at the key moment of truth (checkout). While there are myriad reasons for purchase trepidation seeping into the buyer’s consciousness, we do know that if a trusted source has recommended the given product or service, the final purchase probability increases dramatically. In fact, a Nielsen study found that 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising. This phenomenon is the same in the B-to-B market: Ad Age cited that 61% of IT buyers report that a colleague recommendation was the most important factor when reaching a purchase decision.