Cory Treffiletti is SVP Marketing at FIS, a large fintech company that supplies a lot of the technology used by banks and broader financial institutions, as well as the largest payment processing platform in the world. He’s also a serial entrepreneur, author, columnist, and genuine ad-tech pioneer who I’ve known for many years.
Cory is a major advocate of data-driven storytelling, and I wanted to explore with him the difference that storytelling can make, especially in a B2B context, where the technique is often under-used. We discuss how marketers should go about ideating and hypothesizing stories and testing them in the marketplace, the foundational importance of talking to customers and prospects before embarking on the storytelling exercise, and the fact that the B2B customer journey — like the B2C journey — is non-linear and thus requires careful thinking about which message is most appropriate at which stage of this journey.
We explore how B2B companies, which generally place a high value on customer testimonials, should go about getting them, and how the post-pandemic re-emergence of face-to-face meetings will likely affect the B2B sales channel. As Cory observes, “the handshake is back, with a vengeance.”
We discuss the fact that more B2B sales decisions appear to be made by committees, not individuals, and how marketers should adapt to this new reality. As Cory observes, it’s critical to understand the role played by each decision influencer, where they obtain their information, and have the ability to create and deploy informative messages specifically tailored to address their individual concerns.
We delve into the many different flavors of B2B marketing messaging, from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) through FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) to what I call “the Aspirational Hero Story” (e.g. “you’ll be a hero if you buy this solution”). I also wanted to get Cory’s take on how e-mail, push notifications, and social channels are being optimally used in contemporary B2B marketing, and talk about the folly of B2B marketers focusing too much on new customer acquisition at the expense of customer retention/adoption.
We conclude our talk with a discussion about how B2B marketers often make the mistake of believing that one single creative treatment will resonate equally well with disparate audience segments, the critical role played by qualitative feedback in properly ideating about creative messaging, and strategic changes that B2B marketers may be forced to make if a recession appears in 2023.