January 31, 2020
This is part of a weekly journal I'm keeping about my day job running marketing at Inntopia.
Don’t call it a breakthrough, but I think I’ve finally figured out how to tell a story that’s been frustrating me off and on for about three years.
As you might have guessed, it’s a really complicated story. It’s got a lot of moving pieces, lots of characters, a bunch of prerequisite industry knowledge to help it make sense. I had figured out a way to tell it in a sorta ‘meh’ way, but I wasn’t satisfied.
So I did three things.
First, a survey.
I surveyed our customers and asked them to describe us in their own words. No jargon. I asked them to describe the problems we solve and what words they wouldn’t use to describe us. I wanted to get out of my own head and see us how others on the front lines see us. I took all that feedback and started to look for patterns.
Second, one-on-one conversations.
Next, I jumped on the phone and talked through some of these nuances with a handful of customers. I opened up, I admitted where I didn’t know enough, and I asked for help. I went even deeper with some of our sales and product people. Then, with my brain full of fresh insights, I unplugged and tried to make sense of it all. Sometime during a way-too-long shower, it clicked.
Third, I practiced.
The new way I had discovered to tell this story was good, but I wanted to:
- Make sure I was understanding the nuance correctly
- Make sure the story portrayed that nuance correctly
- Get better and better at telling the story.
So I wrote it down, called up a co-worker and gave it a try. He gave me some great feedback, I cleaned up a few parts, called up someone else and tried again. Then again. And again.
So far I’ve told the story more than 20 times to a dozen different people.
Sure enough, it become better and better and better. And today, as I close out the week, I feel pretty dang good about where it is. Not 100% – maybe 90% – but given that I was at a 60-70% earlier this week?
I’ll take it.