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Bring Life to Partner Marketing Content Using Scenarios

"Storytelling," the latest buzzword being tossed around in the world of content marketing, suggests that you need epic narratives to connect with potential buyers.

If, like the rest of the common world, you don't have a "chief storyteller" on staff, don't worry. You can use scenarios to help your prospects envision the benefit of your solutions.

While the term may be pretentious, the idea behind the storytelling movement makes sense. Instead of listing out the features and benefits, you should use a compelling example of how your solution solved a problem for a customer. For most partners, that's where the challenge comes in.

Case Studies Versus Scenarios
Over the years, case studies have been the go-to content vehicle to "tell the story" of how your software, services or solutions improve the business lives of your customers. While case studies can certainly be effective, they are time-consuming and expensive to create. The yearly commitment to do one case study each quarter usually falters somewhere between the third interview reschedule and the customer's legal review.

Without an actual case study, partners have been hesitant to tell stories -- which is where the scenario can help. Using life-like examples helps your prospects envision how they would use your solution to overcome a challenge or improve a business process. Like a demo scenario, the example doesn't have to be an actual event -- just a realistic representation of a business situation.     

Here's an example of a scenario a partner might use to illustrate the value of proactive business intelligence: 

Before the full impact of the housing collapse was understood, a lumber and construction supplies distributor noted a trending drop in orders. While the trend was subtle, company management compared the data with previous years, recognized the risk and chose to act quickly.

By lowering inventory on hand and open purchase orders for materials, the company averted disaster. Lower carrying costs and related inventory expense allowed the company to weather the recession.

Scenarios Augment, Not Replace
Even though scenarios will help you engage with prospects, you still need to clearly explain what your solution does. Visitors to your Web site scan to find a solution to their problem. If they don't see what they are looking for quickly, they will move on. Easy-to-read bullet lists with features and benefits are still important to help readers hone in on what they are looking for.

There are plenty of Web sites that have gone overboard with storytelling, making it hard to find answers to simple questions about what the solution delivers. Scenarios should augment, not replace.

Scenarios are also a great way to make your webinar or seminar presentation more effective. Instead of reading the bullets on the slide, make the point through a scenario that listeners can imagine happening in their business.
You don't have to be an epic storyteller to come up with great scenarios. You know your solutions, you know your customers; combine the two using a touch of imagination. Make it fun, keep it simple and, above all, keep it short.

How are you getting creative with content? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.

Posted by Barb Levisay on February 19, 2015