How to best sell a smartphone? A data center? A new Gartner report offers four steps for marketing success. In a nutshell: Tell a crisp, compelling story that leaves a lasting impression.
Gartner has some advice for business leaders and brand managers
struggling to get their points across. In a new report, the research
firm-which says it gleaned the advice from marketing executives and
professors at leading MBA schools-offers four steps toward more
effective marketing strategies.
The goal, states Gartner, is to present a crisp, compelling story
that leaves a lasting impression. Achieving it is as simple as
following four steps.
"Visit any Website and you'll quickly see lists of product features,
functions and capabilities," Gartner Research Director Richard Fouts
said in an Aug. 12 statement. "While features and capabilities are
relevant buying criteria, marketers substitute this style of
communication for good stories. We tend to remember a good story, even
years after we've heard it. We tend to forget lists of bullet points."
Step one, shirking the classic storytelling model, is to "end with
the story." By presenting the most compelling business outcome from the
start, customers are motivated to listen to what comes next.
Step two, then, is to "flesh out your value proposition." This is
the part where the story gets developed, defended and explained more
exactly, whether with customer testimonials, third-party statements or
what Gartner calls "credible truths."
"Buyers say they are three times more likely to buy when the
provider's value proposition is quantified," Fouts said in the
statement, following his own advice. "Moreover, when asked to rank the
marketing activities that influence them most, buyers named customer
success stories and reference selling. Effective marketers use these
findings to help make their stories more unique and memorable."
Also helpful is to pepper in independent observations of trustworthy
third parties. For example, states the report, IBM, in supporting its
argument for reducing power in data centers, cites data from the U.S.
government's independent studies on energy.
Step three, now that the customer is convinced and poised to act, is
to "finish with a call to action." The common mistake at this point is
to default to the suggestion that customers take a look at the
company's Website. Instead, says Gartner, think through the action
you'd really like the customer to take and suggest a more specific
"If the market is including stories in a proposal, they might urge
their prospect to have a personal conversation with the reference story
they've included," writes Gartner. "If marketers are using stories to
keep existing customers engaged, they might push them to their rewards
program, or download content that is exclusive only to current
In working to build stronger marketing strategies, Gartner
additionally suggests- step four-building a "story scrapbook," or a
place to store ideas and stories that might someday come in handy.
"At some point," said Fouts, "the marketer can analyze why they
think stories are good but it is always a good rule to save any sample
stories they believe can help them later on, when they need it most."
Is there a real-life example-step one-playing out in public these days? During Motorola's July 29 earnings call, CEO
Sanjay Jha said Motorola would continue to include its MotoBlur user
interface on devices but had decided to stop emphasizing the name of
"We have found that being able to convey the value proposition
around MotoBlur is not an easy thing to do in a 30-second ad spot," Jha
told participants on the call. Instead, he said, Motorola would focus
on the value proposition of its devices.
The Motorola Droid 2 went on sale Aug. 10. Marketers may want to
note how the figures compare to the Droid's first, MotoBlur-emphasized