Most association marketing doesn’t link our member’s problem with the association’s solution. We market our advocacy, conference, research and journals while our members are trying to solve their problems. They are new-to-the-profession or new-to-the-industry or a new manager or newly jobless or a new director or starting a business or hiring or starting a new project for the first time. If I’m a new manager will your conference help me? I don’t know.
Storytelling helps you connect your member’s problems with your solution. Turn come to our conference for networking and learning to come to our conference and leave with specific ideas to solve your specific problems [insert specific problems here].
4 Elements of storytelling
Discover the members who love you – you have to know who you are talking to. Marketers of old have called this your target market or segmenting. I think we’ve got to get more personal about it. Identify the group of members that love you the most. Why do they love you? How do they show their love? Are there any similarities among them including both demographics and worldview?
Define their distress – among the members who love you what is the most important problem are they dealing with? This is actually a two part exercise; you need to define both the issue and the emotion. For example, members join Toastmasters to become better public speakers. Top of the list for becoming a better public speaker, for many members, is becoming more comfortable in front of an audience (the issue). Their pain comes from feeling uncomfortable, nervous, shy, anxious and less confident when faced with a speaking situation (the emotion). To craft a good story you need to understand the underlaying distress but you don’t necessarily need to reference the pain in your story because you have trigger points that can connect as well.
Uncover the trigger points – a trigger point is an event, action, thought, feeling that proves your member’s problems. Trigger points are the things members can look at and say yes, I have experienced that and I don’t want that. For Toastmaster’s their story trigger points could be something like, the next time you stand up in front of an audience with sweaty hands, a racing heart or with butterflies in your tummy (trigger points) there’s a club near that helped people like you overcome feelings like these.
Smooth their path – now that you have done a good job of attracting and connecting with them through mutual insight of their pain you need to show them the best solution. How do they eliminate, reduce or even learn to live with their distress? What is the product, service or offering and how has it helped others just like them?
If your marketing story is not connecting with your members these four steps can help you develop a complete story.
- Storytelling: a passion for robotic surgery
- The data you have can not help you… much
- Membership experience not membership math (on the WebBright blog)