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Posted By:  ECT News Network on 05/15/2019 in Marketing

Compelling Storytelling Is Key to 'Selling In'

Compelling Storytelling Is Key to 'Selling In'

By Kory Grushka 

Research-derived insights into consumers' preferences, market trends, and changing behaviors are essential tools for marketers who seek to drive growth through brand differentiation.

While methods for conducting market research have evolved significantly in recent years, marketers still often fail to present their findings in compelling ways. Moreover, at many companies, research lacks a clear corporate mandate; it may be a standalone function or live within marketing, data analytics or corporate strategy.

A key reason that research departments are frequently unable to persuasively present their findings is due to the rapidly accelerating volume of data pouring in from web analytics software, social listening tools, connected devices, etc. The result is often an overload of data, dumped into a 200-slide Powerpoint presentation that lacks a compelling narrative.

Research vendors are similarly challenged by disruptive technologies that provide access to a deluge of consumer data. A 10,000-word research report, replete with charts, graphs and slides, is no longer adequate to deliver insights that are actionable to management.

A Better Job at Storytelling

How can marketers demonstrate value from their research-driven insights? They must do a better job of storytelling -- delivering insights in captivating ways that are timely, relevant and, above all, persuasive.

They must create narratives around their data, instead of collating bulk responses into a densely packed research report. Following are four ways brand stewards can begin to tell more effective stories around research-derived insights.

1. Design Multimedia Presentations

Brand managers should ask key questions when designing presentations based on research data: What is the goal? Who is the audience? What is the most appealing format? What level of sophistication is required? Brands should consider producing multimedia presentations, using filmmaking techniques rather than static slide charts.

2. Present Data in Compelling Ways

Marketers too often get lost in the data.

It's important to prioritize the data and present insights in compelling ways, using data visualization techniques and graphic tools to emphasize key facts and figures.

3. Incorporate Video

Brand stewards should consider the use of different video formats to present insights in interactive ways, such as short-form videos -- similar to movie trailers -- that tease out research findings while generating excitement about new initiatives.

Or, they may present longer-form, documentary-style videos, complete with consumer vignettes and interviews, that put flesh and bone on their research insights.

4. Create Compelling Experiences

Another effective way to tell stories around market research is to think differently about corporate events. Brand stewards might consider producing live "fishbowl" events, in which corporate decision-makers view a consumer panel in real-time, and then the executives swap places with the consumers.

Or they might bring in consumers to recreate shopping experiences. Companies can also combine live events with audio/video events to enliven the experience. The more ways a story is told, the more ways it will resonate with key constituents.

Growing Need

As disruptive business models and changing consumer habits continue to upend the consumer products industry, market research-driven insights will take on ever more importance.

In order to sell in actionable insights, and demonstrate measurable results, brands need to become skilled at telling compelling stories.  

About the Author
Kory Grushka is the founder and CEO of Stories Company, a creative agency that helps business leaders tell critical stories through presentations, video/animation, infographics and dashboards, among other tools. Kory is a creative director, strategist, business development executive and former corporate lawyer. He has extensive experience in a variety of industries, having managed brand strategy, innovation and design projects for Fortune 500 companies ranging from CPG to technology.

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