3 Mistakes When Talking Pull Marketing

schoolWalt Disney. Louis CK. Steve Jobs. Nate Silver. Ellen DeGeneres. Bruce Springsteen.

What do all of these people have in common?

Besides the fact they all have more Twitter followers than I do, they’ve also made a successful career out of telling stories. In fact, they’re among a recent widely circulated list of the top 10 storytellers in the world.

I tell stories too. And I like to think that similar to the distinguished list of business leaders, musicians, comedians, and political data junkies above, the stories I’ve told have helped me with my own success.

Recently I’ve been working on my story around Pull Marketing, and the measurable contribution it can make to a company’s revenue. While our unofficial list of the ‘world’s best storytellers’ tell very different kinds of stories, I’ve learned something from each of them about common mistakes to avoid when talking Pull.

In my experience, there are three big mistakes that keep a technology marketer’s Pull story from resonating among those demanding revenue impact. Here they are, along with what some of our storytelling masters have to say about it.

1. Don’t involve field marketers when crafting the Pull Marketing revenue story.

Often times, the marketing team championing the Pull Marketing story is the one furthest removed from the field. While these teams often have the channel expertise straight, they sometimes miss the points most relevant to the audience laser-focused on hitting sales quotas.

Bruce Springsteen tells deeply personal stories, often based on other people’s stories. While his songs aren’t always based on his own personal experiences, he unites his fans by finding the common threads that bind them (us) together.

When creating your organization’s Pull Marketing story, make sure you get input from those closest to the audience you’re crafting the message for. In their stories lie those common threads you need to make Pull Marketing relevant to revenue-generating teams.

2. Only focus on directly attributable revenue contribution.

In complex sale cycles, Pull Marketing’s contribution to revenue goes far beyond immediate, directly attributable correlations. Too often marketers attempt to justify Pull’s contribution to the top line via simple, system-generated reports by lead source. This is a myopic view that paints an incomplete picture at best, and leaves out other elements that make for a truly compelling end to end story.

Apple’s success is a direct result of its ability to tell a story around an end to end experience. Anyone doubting Job’s role in this narrative need look no further than Apple’s results between 1986 and 1996. He understood the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and drove the company to create an end to end experience worth telling.

Directly attributable revenue is an important element of the Pull Marketing revenue story. But it’s only one element.  

3. Only report numbers in aggregate.

Walt Disney is well-known for his attention to detail. To this day, the amusement parks he built deliver a richly personal, unique experience for its guests without detracting from the broader Disney story.

When we report Pull Marketing numbers in aggregate, we lose relevancy at the individual level. The sales director responsible for the retail industry in the US could care less how many online registrations were generated worldwide from your website. But say you have 2,000 names of real people in real companies in his territory which you’ll be nurturing into future business, and watch the ears perk up.

But like our friend Walt, make sure the broader story never gets lost in the details.

Involve the audience closest to sales in crafting your story, avoid focusing only on the immediately attributable impact to revenue, and get to a level of detail that make the numbers relevant.

Words to live by, if you’re a technology marketer looking to drive Pull Marketing. Otherwise, they’re pretty useless…

Follow the conversation @Adriel_S or #marketingpfft. 

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