Why Your Business Might Need a Digital Transformation

Why Your Business Might Need a Digital Transformation

Why Your Business Might Need a Digital Transformation

Countless small and mid-sized companies are using outdated or uncoordinated digital marketing strategies that result in wasted time and money. If you’re still not on social media, have not segmented the audiences on your email list, or are throwing proverbial spaghetti in the general direction of digital platforms—you might be due for a digital transformation. From getting a sense of what a digitally transformed business can look like to understanding exactly which transformative elements will work for you, the bottom line is this: digital transformation will help you make every effort (and dollar) count. Understanding how to embark on a digital transformation for your business has the power to massively uplevel the kind of goals you’re able to reach.

What is “digital transformation”?

Digital transformation is when an established business makes the switch from either traditional marketing or uncoordinated digital marketing to strategic implementation of online or digital methods to meet the needs of an evolving market.

The key word here is “strategic”. The transition to digital requires more than just moving existing methods online. It’s about a thoughtful approach, one that a seasoned marketing leader, like a fractional CMO, often subtly navigates. Digital transformation is increasingly necessary in our technological marketplace because if you aren’t evolving, you’re falling behind (hello AI!). Implementing a digital transformation of some kind in your business has the power to increase productivity while reducing labor costs, improve customer experience, drive innovation, and keep you ahead of your competition.

What are the 4 Ps of digital transformation?

  1. Platform: The foundation of impactful digital transformation lies in modern digital platforms. Cloud technologies, for instance, provide the necessary agility and scalability. The right leadership subtly ensures the integration of existing systems into these new platforms, enabling businesses to maximize their digital ecosystems. This includes selecting tools for collaborative work and efficient CRM systems, an area where a strategic marketing perspective can be invaluable.
  2. People: At the core of digital transformation are the people who drive it. Cultivating a culture of digital innovation and establishing effective processes are critical, and often benefit from the guiding hand of experienced leadership. Ensuring the right talent in strategic roles, perhaps guided by a marketing leader’s insights, is crucial for effective change management.
  3. Project: Digital transformation projects aim to deliver improved customer experiences through relevant and engaging offerings. Involving customers early on and using digital project management tools are key. Here, input from a marketing leadership perspective can be instrumental in aligning these projects with customer needs and market trends.
  4. Process: Revising operational processes is a vital step in digital transformation. Streamlining these processes for efficiency often requires a blend of technological understanding and customer-focused strategy, areas where a fractional CMO’s expertise can make a significant impact.

What are the most common types of digital transformation?

Digital transformation encompasses a wide range of initiatives, but most can be categorized into several common types. These transformations are typically aimed at improving efficiency, customer experience, and competitiveness in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. Here are some of the most common types:

  • Business Process Transformation: This involves reimagining and streamlining business processes to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve service delivery. It often includes automating manual processes, adopting new technologies like AI and machine learning for data processing, and implementing digital workflows. Here, fCMOs often start with website optimization and SEO as part of digitizing marketing processes. You want to ensure every page of the company’s website serves a distinct purpose and contributes towards the overarching goal. This holistic approach, combined with a targeted SEO strategy, can significantly enhance online visibility and customer engagement.
  • Domain Transformation: This type extends a business’s reach into new digital sectors or domains. Companies might venture into entirely new digital markets or integrate digital technologies into traditional offerings to create new opportunities. As companies enter new digital markets, multi-channel marketing becomes crucial.
  • Cultural/Organizational Transformation: This transformation focuses on changing the company culture and organizational structure to be more agile, data-driven, and customer-centric. It often requires a shift in mindset at all levels of the organization, encouraging innovation, collaboration, and a willingness to adapt to change. fCMOs contribute to cultural shifts by advocating for and implementing modern, multi-channel marketing strategies. This helps in fostering a culture that appreciates the nuances of diverse digital platforms, driving a more innovative and adaptable marketing approach within the organization.
  • IT Transformation: This involves modernizing the IT infrastructure and capabilities to support digital business needs. It can include moving to cloud computing, adopting new software development practices like DevOps, and enhancing data security and compliance capabilities. In modernizing IT infrastructure, the role of the fCMO often includes ensuring that the marketing technology stack is optimized and integrated with the overall digital infrastructure, particularly in areas like website functionality and multi-channel marketing tools.
  • Data Transformation: Focusing on the way a company collects, stores, manages, and utilizes data. This often involves big data technologies, data analytics, and implementing systems for real-time data processing and analysis to drive decision-making.

Each type of digital transformation has its unique challenges and opportunities, and many companies will engage in multiple types of transformation simultaneously or sequentially as part of their digital strategy.

Determining where to start for your business

Digital transformation is a strategic imperative that extends beyond marketing, encompassing every aspect of business operations. It requires thoughtful leadership that understands the importance of integrating modern technologies, fostering a culture of innovation, and focusing on customer-centric processes. As businesses navigate this journey, the role of strategic leadership, including guidance from experienced marketing professionals, becomes indispensable in steering these initiatives towards success.

Which area of digital transformation to start with depends on an array of factors like company size, marketing goals, current campaign development, and staff capacity. The only one-size-fits-all suggestion we have is to work with a feasible end goal in mind, set a date, and start small. Our fractional CMOs are literal pros at digital transformation for companies and strategies of all sizes. Reach out today and get matched with the perfect fractional CMO to guide your business to game-changing digital transformation.

Are you facing challenges of your own in generating leads and meeting your business’s growth goals?

We’d love to learn more about your challenges and how a coordinated marketing approach might help take your organization to the next level.

About &Marketing:

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

Revolutionizing Marketing Leadership Podcast: Insights to Fractional Executive Roles

Revolutionizing Marketing Leadership Podcast: Insights to Fractional Executive Roles

Revolutionizing Marketing Leadership Podcast: Insights to Fractional Executive Roles

Recently, I had the opportunity and privilege of being featured on the IMpluse podcast with industry expert Prateek Panda as part of a series discussing fractional executive roles and strategic marketing leadership within medium to large-sized startups and established companies. When you have time during your commute or while you walk the dog, give the full episode a listen. Below is a bit of a highlight reel of what I shared.

Why Fractional CMO?

I started &Marketing almost 8 years ago to serve middle market companies with an outsourced marketing department. As that has grown and evolved, a common thread I noticed was a huge need for marketing strategy and leadership. After looking around I realized that there was a gap in the market on both the offer side to the prospect/client and for the Fractional themselves. So we created a better one.

We started to focus on fractional CMOs in late 2022, and it has made all the difference in our business as well as the businesses we partner with.

What Makes a Successful Marketing Leader?

Here’s a snapshot of those key ingredients for success, the kind that’s making waves in the industry:

  • Crafting the Big Picture with a Dash of Agility: It’s not just about laying down those long-term plans; it’s about being nimble enough to dance with the ever-changing tunes of the market. A top-tier marketing leader blends foresight and flexibility seamlessly.
  • Being a Customer Whisperer: Getting into the customer’s headspace, understanding their beats and rhythms – that’s the heart of it all. It’s about creating strategies that resonate on a personal level with your audience.
  • Making Decisions Fueled by Data: It’s like being a detective, where every clue (data point) leads you closer to solving the case (nailing your strategy). Making calls based on what the numbers are telling you – that’s the name of the game.
  • Acting the Part of a Maestro: Leading a marketing team is like conducting an orchestra. It’s about getting all the different instruments (team members) to play in harmony so it resonates across the entire company.
  • Having Digital Savvy with a Conscience: Today’s marketing maestro has to be fluent in the language of digital but also stay true to the ethical core. It’s about using tools not just for their flashiness but for their ability to genuinely connect and engage.

In essence, it’s about being that visionary who can look through the lens of the customer, crunch the numbers, lead with heart and purpose, and constantly innovate while staying true to ethical marketing roots.

Challenges and Rewards of Being a Fractional CMO

Being a good marketing leader is the baseline, but most fractionals don’t realize how hard it is to actually create a business for themselves from scratch. You’re now selling and delivering a service where YOU are the product. That’s hard for many marketing people in particular because it’s a different skill.

Outside of the challenges though, there are always rewards in this unique role. When a fractional CMO partnership is done right, you’ll feel like a part of a strong executive leadership team. Fractional CMOs are brought on because their expertise is desperately needed at that time, meaning they get to be the hero of the story in many ways—that’s fulfilling.

Benefits of Joining &Marketing as a fCMO

Our fCMOs enjoy a multitude of benefits by partnering with &Marketing. Some of the most impactful ones are:

  • Inbound qualified (and vetted) leads
  • Community of like-minded experts
  • Tools & tips, coaching, advice
  • Assistance in negotiating deals
  • Offload all paperwork and invoicing to our staff
  • Transparency and as little drama as possible

How &Marketing is Different from Similar Agencies

  1. We are not captive – meaning we don’t sign any agreements that prevent you from getting leads from other sources or take a cut from leads we don’t bring in.
  2. We qualify leads before our community sees them. You know they are looking for a fractional before you talk to them.
  3. We help you negotiate the deal. Having someone in your corner makes a significant difference.

One of my proudest professional accomplishments so far is seeing this Fractional trend and pivoting our resources toward making it successful. It will be interesting to see where it goes!

The team at &Marketing is at the forefront of bringing the highest quality of AI tools to our partners as well. Being able to leverage AI to take marketing to the next level is the next frontier in our field, and we are doing that every day with our partners and clients.

I encourage you to make some time to listen to the podcast episode to get a full picture of what’s going on in the field of factional executives right now. Plus, I tell a great story about my biggest professional failure and share which influencer I would choose to have lunch with. (My answer might surprise you!)

For any questions or to get more details about fractional CMOs, please reach out!

Are you facing challenges of your own in generating leads and meeting your business’s growth goals?

We’d love to learn more about your challenges and how a coordinated marketing approach might help take your organization to the next level.

About &Marketing:

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

The Key to Pre- and Post-Acquisition Success in Private Equity Marketing

The Key to Pre- and Post-Acquisition Success in Private Equity Marketing

The Key to Pre- and Post-Acquisition Success in Private Equity Marketing

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The Key to Pre- and Post-Acquisition Success in Private Equity Marketing

And Why More Firms are Outsourcing to a Team of Digital Experts to Do It

In the ever-evolving world of marketing, it can be hard to keep up. But when you’re investing your time and money into a new company, you don’t have the luxury of ‘figuring it out as you go.’ Today’s complex digital ecosystem poses new challenges and opportunities that require fresh, independent perspectives and data-driven decisions. And in order to create a strategy that connects, engages, and inspires the right audiences in the right places, you need to put in the work initially.

That’s where an outsourced private equity marketing team comes in — equipping you with a team of experts led by a seasoned executive to own the creation and execution of your entire strategy. Curious how it works? Here’s everything you need to know about developing and deploying a private equity marketing strategy that will ensure a successful future for your portfolio company.

What is Private Equity Marketing?

Private equity marketing is more than just having a digital presence; it’s translating a deep understanding of your portfolio company’s customers, your competition, and your market into an actionable plan that positions you for faster growth and long-term success. So whether a private equity firm is looking for pre-acquisition advisory or post-acquisition planning, it all starts with a digital deep dive to uncover the truth behind the numbers and get clarity into the investment. Without it, your long-term private equity marketing strategy will be built on a precarious foundation.

Once that strategy is built, the next step is execution. This means preparing all the necessary marketing materials, creating digital assets and deploying on predetermined platforms, monitoring performance, and reporting on all established KPIs. Having a private equity digital marketing team that is not only expertin the necessary platforms and tools, but also understands how to build content that informs, inspires, and excites makes all the difference. These experts will blend bold creativity with sharp practicality to ensure the best results from your campaign, offering full transparency and guidance into the results to help you make effective adjustments along the way.

Finally, having a full team that brings these two phases together – strategy & execution – seamlessly is another major component to a successful private equity marketing strategy. This is why more and more firms are relying on outsourced marketing services that provide both a Fractional CMO to lead their digital due diligence and a team of digital marketing experts to see it through to fruition. This dynamic eliminates the risk involved in adding another point of responsibility which requires additional handoffs and external communication.

Why Do I Need Private Equity Marketing Services?

While pursuing a new acquisition, there are a handful of common problems that private equity firms may face:

  • The emergence of new trends or changes in the market that impact the portfolio company’s business model
  • The current marketing team lacks the experience or leadership to successfully bring the company into the digital age
  • The company is underperforming against its competitors and targets
  • The company needs a fresh outlook and executive-level insights into the company’s processes, commercial tactics, and strategy
  • The company’s marketing has been merely a part-time effort up until this point
  • The firm wants to accelerate the company’s growth post-acquisition and needs someone to lead those efforts
  • The company has strong executive leadership in place but needs a team of digital marketing experts to execute

What to Look for in an Outsourced Private Equity Marketing Team

Outsourced private equity marketing services offer a more flexible and efficient way to get your portfolio company on the right track, so that when it is ready to hire full-time people, it will have solid processes in-place. An experienced agency will help make the transition a lot more seamless by developing the right organizational structure and hiring the right people for long-term success.

Here’s what you should look for in a private equity digital marketing team:

  • Full Strategy & Execution with a Fractional Mindset
    • The ability to provide pre- or post-acquisition advisory through hybrid or on-demand models, allowing you to delegate full responsibility in only the areas you need it most.
  • Battle-Tried & ROI-driven Leadership
    • A fCMOs that brings proven experience both on the agency side and in leading a strategy to the creation and execution of your growth plan
  • Digital Expertise
    • A digital-first CMOs and marketing teams that are seasoned experts in practical execution to help you maximize the best solutions for growth in today’s digital age.
  • Personalized CMO Selection
    • The chance to meet and interview your potential fCMO and digital marketing team prior to your commitment, so you can find the right fit for your niche offering, industry, and goals.
  • A Flexible Engagement
    • An engagement that is flexible, or “on-demand,” allowing you to navigate the important phases of the acquisition with support that’s on your terms.

To learn more about the benefits of outsourcing your private equity marketing services, or how &Marketing can help take your private equity digital marketing strategy to the next level, contact us today.

 

About the Authors

As the Founder & CEO of &Marketing (www.and-marketing.com), Raj and his team strive to provide growing businesses unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. Raj has more than two decades of experience in B2B and B2C marketing, sales, & strategy. He has led nearly 100 high-profile marketing strategy projects for Global 100, mid-sized clients, and SMBs, plus over a decade with General Electric and General Mills. He is a sought-after advisor and facilitator, with experience across five continents. He is known for bringing the best of ‘big company’ marketing and strategy to smaller companies without the baggage, his bias for practical implementation, and his unrelenting customer focus.

Are you facing challenges of your own in generating leads and meeting your business’ growth goals?

We’d love to learn more about your challenges and how a coordinated marketing approach might help take your organization to the next level.

The Benefits of Working with a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)

The Benefits of Working with a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)

The Benefits of Working with a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)

&Marketing, and marketing, outsourced marketing strategy

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We’re happy to announce that &Marketing is officially certified as an MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) through the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)!

These certifications are increasingly essential for credibility and validation in today’s business climate. Additionally, many organizations have Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion procurement requirements (or preferences). There are a variety of benefits of working with an MBE, so let’s break those down.

What Does It Mean to be MBE Certified?

An MBE certification means the business is primarily owned by an individual who is a minority and has applied for and received a minority-owned business certificate from the NMSDC. Minority group members are United States citizens who are Asian-Indian, Native American, Black, Asian-Pacific, and Hispanic. Ownership by minority individuals means the minority individuals own at least 51% or, in the case of a publicly owned business, one or more such individuals own at least 51% of the stock.

The Benefits of Working with an MBE

Partnering with a certified MBE offers many benefits and opportunities, like allowing you to tap into new perspectives and fresh takes. It can also help your business grow and help your company culture evolve toward more diversity and inclusion. Here are some more specifics about the benefits of working with an MBE:

Tax Incentives

The U.S. government offers many state and federal tax incentives, breaks, and rebates to organizations that partner with MBEs. In addition, MBEs themselves are eligible for tax liability reduction for projects funded by state and federal grants and loans.

Additional Revenue

In addition to maximizing your profit margin through tax incentives, you can expand your client base to a larger demographic. With 23 affiliate nationwide regional councils and over 1,450 corporate members like Goldman Sachs, Coca-Cola, and FedEx, the NMSDC helps connect over 12,000 certified MBEs to an extensive network of corporate members looking to meet diversity spend requirements. NMSDC certification for programs designed to help eliminate barriers to participation in public-sector contracts is accepted by 17 states and 25 cities. Most states have specific targets and set aside contracts just for MBEs.

Many NMSDC and MBE-related events and conferences also bring other MBEs and larger organizations together around the U.S. to help both expand their networks. In addition, many MBEs are well-connected to other local businesses and can access training programs, mentorship programs, and workshops that allow them to bring more innovative strategies and cost savings measures to your business.

Showing Support for Diverse Communities

Partnering with an MBE helps you foster diversity and support minority communities. It allows your organization to build a more diverse clientele. It brings insight that can help you offer that clientele even more value. MBEs offer innovation that can help you stand out from your competitors, and they can help your business with brand recognition and community outreach so you can help strengthen the community you do business in.

Interested in Partnering with an MBE?

If you have an opportunity that requires MBE certification, don’t hesitate to contact us! We are excited to use our unique viewpoint to help organizations meet their diversity spending requirements, support more diverse communities, drive more revenue, and innovate in their industry. To learn more about how we can help you drive long-term success, contact &Marketing today.

About the Authors

As the Founder & CEO of &Marketing (www.and-marketing.com), Raj and his team strive to provide growing businesses unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. Raj has more than two decades of experience in B2B and B2C marketing, sales, & strategy. He has led nearly 100 high-profile marketing strategy projects for Global 100, mid-sized clients, and SMBs, plus over a decade with General Electric and General Mills. He is a sought-after advisor and facilitator, with experience across five continents. He is known for bringing the best of ‘big company’ marketing and strategy to smaller companies without the baggage, his bias for practical implementation, and his unrelenting customer focus.

Content Specialist Kim Steinmetz helps brands and thought leaders discover and develop their unique voice and tone while establishing authority on a topic through compelling messaging and copywriting. An accomplished writer and marketer with over a decade of experience, Kim is well-versed in both B2C and B2B content.

Are you facing challenges of your own in generating leads and meeting your business’ growth goals?

We’d love to learn more about your challenges and how a coordinated marketing approach might help take your organization to the next level.

The Benefits of a Fractional CMO for Private Equity Firms

The Benefits of a Fractional CMO for Private Equity Firms

The Benefits of a Fractional CMO for Private Equity Firms

&Marketing, and marketing, outsourced marketing strategy

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From Strategy to Execution: A Full Team Approach with a Single Point of Responsibility

As a private equity investor, you’re an expert at seeing the potential in a business. But you may also be familiar with the fact that in many cases, the founder of that business doesn’t have the background or knowledge as to how to actually reach it. This is why more and more private equity firms that invest in small- to mid-size businesses or start-ups ready to scale up are leveraging the benefits of fractional CMOs.

What will a Fractional CMO do for my Private Equity Company?

Fractional CMO services offer the full executive power of seasoned Chief Marketing Officer through a fully customized commitment. These subject matter experts work with you for a fixed amount of time in a given month, utilizing their proven experience and success to assess the risk, value, and potential of your acquisition through a flexible investment.

A fCMO will lead, manage, and deliver a return on your investment by:

  • Managing the day-to-day function of the marketing team
  • Working closely with your leadership team and other stakeholders, such as CEOs, CSO, VPs, the Board, as well as Salesforce
  • Delivering ROI to determine whether to continue to invest in each area of the marketing programs
  • Working closely with the sales group to ensure that leads generate receive the appropriate attention and follow through (this is key!)

This model is perfect if your portfolio company needs a marketing reset, its current management team lacks senior-level marketing talent, it cannot afford/doesn’t need a full-time marketing department, or it wants to reduce the risks of developing and implementing a new business marketing plan.

Setting the Stage for Fractional CMOs in Private Equity Companies

The marketing landscape is rapidly changing, and recent trends are amplifying the benefits in using fractional CMOs and digital marketing team.

  1. Smaller to mid-size businesses are starting to invest much more in online marketing but cannot afford a full-time marketing department — or they just don’t need one.
  2. The startup scene is thriving. Over 800,000 new businesses are emerging every year (SBA, 2021) only an estimated 20% of which will be operating in five years. Fractional CMOs are a great fit as these companies start to scale up, but many are pursuing these partnerships early in the development stage to make their product or service more appealing to intial customers.
  3. Advancing technology and the rise of remote working has made it easier to collaborate with fractional CMOs and fractional digital marketing teams.

When a Fractional CMO can Help Your Portfolio Company

fCMO services could be a great fit for your portfolio company if one or more of the following applies:

  • The company needs to accelerate growth, but either lacks a complete marketing department or executive guidance and leadership.
  • You’re interested in getting an independent, outside perspective on the business, its marketing strategy, and its commercial tactics.
  • The company is a startup needs to hit the ground running but currently does not have the time or budget to hire a full in-house team.
  • The company needs marketing leadership and support to keep up with competitors but isn’t in the position to incur the high costs and risks in searching, training, and developing an in-house team.
  • The company’s CEO (or another senior leader) is spending more time on marketing at the expense of other priorities.
  • The company is starting to launch more products and services and needs to increase bandwidth quickly or needs specialized expertise.

Accelerating Growth & Value Creation Pre- and Post-Acquisition

&Marketing not only helps you uncover the true potential of your investment, but it can also complement your fractional CMO with a full team of digital marketing experts to handle the entire creative execution. Unlike other providers who leave that to the company or a third-party, &Marketing offers a full-team approach with a digital-first fCMO that becomes a key part of your leadership team supported by our digital marketing experts who will take full responsibility of your company’s strategy — from pre-acquisition due diligence to post-acquisition delivery.

We’ve built a network of 40+ digital-first, ROI-driven fCMOs with proven experience as external consultants and leading in-house marketing departments to ensure every facet of your strategy is connected in the most effective way. These battle-proven executives lead your marketing due diligence, while digital marketing specialists handle the creative execution to ensure your efforts drive the most meaningful results.

Helping Portfolio Companies Succeed

Your team of digital experts will help you gain a deeper understanding of the market’s dynamics, key segments, primary and secondary competition, and most importantly, current and potential customers.

Through a single point of responsibility, you’ll receive:

  • A marketing leader on the management team, experienced enough to work with stakeholders, including shareholders, CEOs, and other functional leaders
  • A deep understanding of the market dynamics, competition, and customers
  • A robust marketing strategy
  • Positioning that is “true, distinct, and compelling”
  • Content that “informs, inspires, and excites”
  • Strong branding and positioning
  • Product pricing and new products/services luanches
  • Online and media optimization; SEO, Account Based Marketing, PR, etc.
  • Customer retention and loyalty programs
  • Salesforce marketing material and qualified lead conversion

How Much Does a Fractional CMO for Portfolio Companies Cost?

Full-time CMOs in the U.S. average a salary of $175K, plus benefits, earning between $200-300/hour (Glassdoor). With a time commitment starting at one week per month, our full team of marketing experts led by a fractional CMO start between $15,000 to $25,000 per month (plus any out-of-pocket expenses). This team includes the fCMO, a Marketing Manager, and the subject matter experts needed to creatively execute your digital marketing programs. That means you can get a full team without going through a lengthy and expensive search and hire process — AND the money saved can be used to develop more effective marketing programs and initiatives.

Let a Fractional CMO Lead Your Growth Marketing

Pre- and post- acquisition digital due diligence and a strong marketing strategy allows companies to build their branding, attract new customers, generate leads, maintain customer loyalty, accelerate growth, and more. That’s why executing the best marketing strategy possible is crucial to the growth of your portfolio company in the digital age. A fCMO supported by a digital marketing team offers a single point of responsibility to ensure your business strategy and execution is done in the most effective and successful way.

To see our full roster of seasoned fCMO or learn more about how we can help your acquisition drive long-term success, contact &Marketing today.

&Marketing Case Study: Healthcare Digital Marketing Strategy Simplified

A cutting-edge healthcare technology company (BUDDI.AI), whose target audience includes C-level healthcare executives, was poised for major growth in 2021. However, they were playing in a fragmented competitive landscape that would require them to creatively “break through the noise” in order to build and maintain brand awareness, drive lead generation, and achieve tangible results. To become a true thought leader and partner of choice in the industry, they needed to enhance their digital presence.

About &Marketing

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

Are you facing challenges of your own in generating leads and meeting your business’ growth goals?

We’d love to learn more about your challenges and how a coordinated marketing approach might help take your organization to the next level.

Brand Storytelling: Winning Business by Making Your Customer the Hero

Brand Storytelling: Winning Business by Making Your Customer the Hero

Brand Storytelling: Winning Business by Making Your Customer the Hero

&Marketing, and marketing, outsourced marketing strategy

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These days, you can find any information you could want online. Thanks to Google, instant gratification has become a daily feature in our lives. What has become more rare, however, is human connection.

That’s why connecting with consumers more deeply as human beings has become more effective. It’s not enough anymore to simply share the logical reasons why your brand has something special to offer. To cut through the noise of today’s oversaturated markets, you also need to weave emotion and empathy into a narrative that captures and holds their attention.

Why a narrative?

  • Storytelling has been shown to increase oxytocin production in the brain, which encourages people to feel more empathetic and willing to participate in a shared, cooperative experience.
  • Audiences naturally engage more with emotions, ideas, and values over products and services.
  • A memorable brand story gives consumers a stronger impression of who you are and what you stand for, ideals that are more likely to inspire loyalty.

Storytelling is always at the core of what we do for our clients, and we’re passionate about helping organizations realize the power of its impact. Below, you’ll learn more about the neurological impact of storytelling on the human brain, the basics of brand storytelling structure, and how positioning your customer as the hero positions you to win more business.

Why Our Brains Love Brand Storytelling

Recent scientific studies show that storytelling has a measurable impact on the brain, particularly the synthesis of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone released by the pituitary gland, sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” as it can be released by things like touch, music, and exercise, which produce feelings of well-being.

“Oxytocin is produced when we are trusted or shown a kindness, and it motivates cooperation with others,” says Paul J. Zak, founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and a professor of economics, psychology, and management at Claremont Graduate University. “We found that character-driven stories do consistently cause oxytocin synthesis. Further, the amount released by the brain predicted how much people were willing to help others.”

Zak’s team has also gotten insight into what makes stories effective at spurring oxytocin production, finding that a story must first grab and hold the audience’s attention by creating tension. When the characters experience tension, the audience’s ability to empathize and get transported into the story increases. If you’ve ever felt like working out or taking a karate class after watching an action flick, this is why. This may be because our attention to the story at hand sharpens as more tension arises. Our senses heighten as we get swept more and more into the story, imagining ourselves in the hero’s place.

If you can present your consumers with a story that places them in the center of the narrative as the hero triumphing over daunting obstacles to achieve their goals, you can capture their attention and empathy. You’ll have the opportunity to show them (not tell them) how you can help them defeat their villains and change their lives for the better.

Brand Storytelling Structure

Another reason storytelling is so effective is that it helps our brains organize information in a way that’s easy to understand. Stories put everything in order to prevent the audience from getting confused and tuning us out.

Because effective storytelling has been studied and practiced for thousands of years, it can be distilled down into a definable and repeatable structure. This structure is highly effective at helping brands simplify their message and use their opportunity to communicate with the audience to its fullest potential.

In Building A StoryBrand, Donald Miller identifies seven essential parts to storytelling:

“A character who wants something encounters a problem before they can get it. At the peak of their despair, a guide steps into their lives, gives them a plan, and calls them to action. That action helps them avoid failure and ends in a success.”

Miller says that customers are most interested in how your brand will help them to survive and thrive. Once you understand their needs, desires, problems, fears, and goals, you can place them in the center of this storytelling structure as the hero conquering their foes with you by their side as a trusted expert and guide. Just remember — they are the hero, not your brand!

Using Brand Storytelling To Win Business

People want to see themselves as the heroes of their own stories, and helping them do that is a vital way to cut through the noise and differentiate your brand. By focusing on their goals rather than your own, you position your brand as a wise guide that can help them overcome their challenges and thrive.

Once you’ve identified your ideal customer/main character, you need to define the problems they need your help solving. Focus on internal problems, the kind that keep your audience up at night — the primary villain, the dragon they need to slay. In what concrete ways do these problems present themselves in daily life? How does it nag at them mentally throughout the day?

As their empathetic and authoritative guide, you should be able to articulate how your brand can help them vanquish their villain. That means you’ll need to present yourself as wise, showing your expertise through case studies and testimonials to demonstrate how you’ve helped others. You’ll also need to show empathy and that you thoroughly understand their challenges.

Now that they’ve got a trusted guide on their side, they need a plan of attack. That’s where calls to action come into play. Don’t be coy — tell your audience exactly what they should do to fight their villain and come out on top. Articulate how this action will help them to achieve success and avoid failure, transforming them from the striving hero to the ultimate champion.

Unleash Your Inner Yoda

Do you want to unleash your brand’s inner Yoda, guiding customers toward their Luke Skywalker moment? Learn more about storytelling in our free guide to narrative marketing, where you’ll find a full breakdown of each step from StoryBrand.

About the Author

Content Specialist Kim Steinmetz helps brands and thought leaders discover and develop their unique voice and tone while establishing authority on a topic through compelling messaging and copywriting. An accomplished writer and marketer with over a decade of experience, Kim is well-versed in both B2C and B2B content. 

About &Marketing

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

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