Before I entered the world of marketing, I studied health promotion. I learned a lot about behavior change theories, how to become an influencer, and leading others to changed behavior. In one of my classes, I was assigned to read Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson. In his book, Patterson outlines a series of principles and tools that one can use to “tap into the power of influence.”
After re-reading this book with a marketing mindset, I came to realize a similarity: The same traits that make a great influencer are the traits that make a great marketer. I’d like to share two of Patterson’s influencer traits that I believe apply directly to marketers as well: storytelling and influencer marketing.
“The key is, no matter what story you tell, make your buyer the hero.” – Chris Brogan
Storytelling is a key component of marketing and behavior change for a few reasons:
- People learn best through experiences (even vicarious experiences)
- Storytelling helps people come to conclusions on their own, rather than being explicitly told what to do
- Stories elicit emotion, which improves your chance of being remembered
Great storytelling should elicit emotion and take the customer into a vicarious experience. Your marketing should do the same. Be sure to use stories that your customers relate to. Lead them through a journey where they become the hero. By making the customer the hero you are leading a customer-centric marketing plan rather than a product-centric plan. A customer-centric plan helps your customer come to the conclusion that they need your product or service to fulfill their needs, rather than your needs.
2. Influencer Marketing
If you know your customers well enough, you should understand who and what motivates them. From a public health perspective, it wouldn’t be wise to send a doctor from a foreign country to a remote tribal society to teach the group that their burial rituals are spreading infectious disease. They have no idea who this doctor is, so they likely will not respect or practice what he/she has to say. A more effective way is to approach and train the tribal leaders about the minor changes they can make to the burial techniques that will help their tribe prosper. Once they’re on board, the doctor and tribe leader could work together to come up with a solution. The tribe leader could then teach the new method to the tribe. This method is more likely to be adopted because the tribe members love and respect their leader; they trust the counsel they’ve received.
Marketing works the same way. People are more likely to try a new product or service if someone they love and trust recommends it. Find an influencer in your customer audience. An influencer doesn’t have to be a celebrity, it could be a blogger, local basketball star, or popular hair stylist. Have the influencer review your product or service and share with their friends!
Understanding Your Customer
Having a true understanding of who your customer is makes storytelling and influencer marketing effective. Surveys are helpful for understanding motives and reasoning. A customer profile report is recommended for gaining insights like your customers’ common interests, income levels, age, etc. Research and development, in the beginning, will help you select an influencer and create stories that will send customers through an emotional journey where you both end up victorious.
By Lindsey Lefevor, Social Media Manager at American Name Services