So emotional

Every marketer faces the challenge of how to make emotional connections with their customer while coming across as authentic.

What does it mean to emotionally connect with your customer? You make them feel something – whether that’s through joy and laughter, nostalgia or inspiration or even anger.

For real estate companies, it’s fairly easy to think about the types of feelings that can be evoked for people about to buy or sell a home. It’s already an emotionally charged situation.

Real estate software companies, on the other hand, particularly business-to-business companies, face a more difficult challenge. How does a b2b tech company create a feeling for its customers?

It starts with story.

Story is more than a new buzz word. The smartest minds in the business have been using story as their starting point for marketing for decades. It’s fundamental. The story work we do with clients at 1000watt always produces breakthroughs.

But why?

Think about the best TED talks you may have heard. Did the presenter stand on the stage and rattle off fact after fact while showing corresponding charts on a screen? No. The presenter told you a story – or two or three – to get a message across that made you feel something that you still remember today.

This holds true in marketing. Facts are absolutely necessary. But without a story to thread them together or give them context, they mean nothing to your potential customer.

Zendesk has been doing some really great marketing around a powerful story that’s very central to their service, which includes things like branded help centers, live chat, and customer phone support, among other things.

Zendesk is a business-to-business software company. The temptation for their marketing team would be to market around their software and the efficiencies it provides for customer service teams.

But they took it a step further and realized their business is really about helping companies improve their relationships.

Now we’re talking.

Relationships are a universal human experience. They are professional and personal. And they are much more significant to most people than software.

The company has taken the time and care to develop this story of relationships, which supports all of their marketing. If you’re new to this concept of story and want to see an example of what this looks like, check out these two links: Relationships, a page devoted to the story on Zendesk’s site, and Relate, a sister website that’s all about relationships.

This is a perfect example of an inherently unsexy b2b product whose marketing has been elevated to a point of emotional connection with its customers and prospects. Bravo.

As a real estate technology company, you may think your story is about efficiency, for example, when it’s really about offering your customer more time in their day for the things they love. You may think your story is about having a superior product, when it’s really about choice.

OK, so you’ve got a great story. What’s next?

Building a brand is a process. After you uncover and polish your story, it’s time to get creative and draw marketing ideas from that story. This is where the emotional connections to your brand will start to happen.

In the case of Zendesk, you see how they’ve taken their core story around human relationships and created memorable ad campaigns like this one called “Relationships are complicated,” which features short takes of what life is like with a scuba diver and an astronaut who live together. You can view them here, here and here.

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It’s when you elevate your value above the mechanics that you really start to see how you can forge emotional connections with your customers and prospects. 

You feel me?