People don’t know us. They don’t know who we are, what we stand for. It’s not so easy to reach people. Sometimes I feel like I’m just taking at people, but don’t really have their attention. What should we think about doing differently for marketing?

Thoughts of the Day: The good news is, you don’t have to reach everyone. But you do need to have something useful for the people you want to reach. Consider storytelling as a way to be memorable.

Of the over 7.7 billion people in the world, any businesses’ client base is a very small sub-set.

Figuring out who to reach, and how, is where marketing comes in. Defining a target market is relatively easy for most established businesses.Figure out who are your best customers. Then figure out what puts them in the “best” category.

Here are some typical questions to ask to identify “best” customers.
  • Which clients are most profitable?
  • Which clients care if we’re still here doing business with them in the future?
  • Which clients challenge us to do better?
  • Which clients are committed to securing a healthy future?
  • Which clients are regular, consistent consumers of our goods or services?
  • Which clients perceive that we’re contributing to their success?
  • Which clients can afford to pay us fairly, and do so?

Once you’ve rated all clients on the above questions, pick the ones that score highest in all categories. Step back and look at the demographics of this core group of customers. Find what’s common. Look at company size, market, geography. Consider the interests, opinions, income levels, gender and age profiles of the decision makers and influencers. Build a profile of the ideal buyer that takes this data into account.

Once you know who to target, identify what interests them most, in relation to your company’s product or service.

Why your company? How does what’s important to them correlate with what’s important to your company. If you’re not sure, interview your best customers to get a better understanding. Don’t just focus on what they get from your company. Reach back in time to before they knew about your company. Why did they first inquire and they why did they buy your company’s products or services? And how did that purchase help them to succeed?

Once you figure out the “why”, then it’s time to move on to how to get your message across.

In general, we human beings like stories. When offered a story we tend to turn up our antennae and settle in to receive the information being passed to us. The brain consumes and remembers stories in a very differently way from how it consumes and memorizes data. When hearing statistics, the likelihood of remembering that information is around 10% – 15%, tops. When it comes to stories some researchers maintain we’re 7 times more likely to retain concepts and details.

Good storytelling includes intention and motivation.

By sharing a sequence of actions, including what drove the actions and the outcomes that resulted, the storyteller gets through to our brains in a way that data alone cannot. Story telling helps people organize incoming information. It gives data context that the recipient can relate to. Stories are used by listeners and readers to adapt and apply information and outcomes to their own world of experiences. Storytelling also connects people.

When stories include emotions, people tend to focus on what’s being conveyed in a way that yields higher levels of attention and understanding.

Listeners bond with the storyteller and with other listeners. Stories with emotion have been shown to cause people to be more trusting and open to ideas. And from openness and trust comes opportunity to engage.

Looking for a good book? Stories That Stick: How Storytelling Can Captivate Customers, Influence Audiences, and Transform Your Business, by Kindra Hall.