Good enough is no longer good enough. Those are the words I now live by as a B2B marketing and sales leader. To truly stand out in today’s marketplace your messaging needs to be brilliant, your communications and content need to be remarkable, and your sales reps need to be memorable. Maintaining a competitive edge means you not only need to find your why (thank you Simon Sinek!), it means you need to find your wow.
May I have your attention?
Getting attention is hard. Keeping that attention is even harder. Forget the goldfish analogy, the simple truth is that the Internet has taught people how to avoid unwanted interruptions and to quickly self-select which content and messages they choose to engage with. Looks like an advertisement? No thanks. Smells a bit salesy? Next please. A spray-and-pray templated email? Oh please. Now wait, this one looks interesting, and what’s with that crazy hat she’s wearing? Okay, I gotta check this one out.
The most reliable way to stand out and get the attention you deserve is with content and messaging that holds the promise of delivering a “wow” moment for your audience. The type of content that turns a simple message or idea into a remarkable and memorable story that sparks an emotional response. Like Game of Thrones or Westworld, but on a slightly smaller scale. And the fact of that matter is, every message you want to deliver as an individual, or as a business, has a remarkable story hidden inside just waiting to burst out. You just need to put your message, content and delivery method through a different lens to find your wow.
This Guy Replaced his Cover Letter with a Rap Video. Wow.
This story is a perfect example of finding your wow. Chase Zreet is a copywriter that wanted to land a job with the agency responsible for Sprite’s creative. The traditional approach would have been to submit a resume with a cover letter, but let’s be honest, there’s no wow in that. He could step it up a notch and maybe do a video-based cover letter to let his personality, character and passion show through. Seems likely that this would help him stand out, but would it really wow? Then it dawns on him: tell his story through a ridiculous (and very cleverly written) rap video. Wow. Just watch and judge for yourself whether he found the wow in his cover letter. And yes, he landed the job.
Wow, Did You Just Write my Name in the Clouds?
During the holiday season, my team is always looking for a clever way to stand out from all those predictable “Season’s Greetings” holiday cards. We try to find the wow in the way we wish our customers a happy holiday. The safe and predictable route is a signed card or a templated email. Not so wow. You can send out a holiday video with your team wishing everyone a season’s greetings – a little more personal and authentic. But what about showing them how much you care by writing their name in the clouds, spray-painting their name on your office walls, and ringing an appreciation bell just for them?
Watch for yourself to see if this campaign was wow-worthy (tip: for the full experience, create a personalized version for yourself by entering your own name and email address in the “re-gifting” form…it’s a special moment when you see yourself in the story). The responses we got from people were incredible, from “OMG this is the greatest email I’ve ever received” to “I heart you, thank you for putting a smile on my face, happy holidays!”. Responses like these made me truly appreciate the power of wow. And yes, this “brand” campaign became one of our top 3 pipeline influencers of the year.
How I Wowed to Win an Award
Marketo was running a contest to identify the top 50 “fearless marketers.” To be considered, you had to share a 60-second video on social media explaining why you deserve this recognition. I watched a number of the submissions online and there were lots of incredible stories, but none of them really seemed to stand out. Partly inspired by Chase Zreet’s rap video, I decided to go a different route and create a short “music video” with original lyrics to the tune of Imagine Dragon’s “Whatever it Takes” (luckily, this song had been in my head and it was a natural message for being fearless). And to be clear, I can NOT sing, but I do know the basics of video recording and editing in iMovie. My gut told me that this approach would stand out for people, hopefully make them laugh, and maybe even deliver a wow-worthy moment.
Here’s the full post with the video if you’d like to watch. I like to think that I found the wowin my fearless marketer submission. Thankfully, Marketo agreed and I made the list, despite saying very little about why I am actually fearless. The power of wow unleashed!
Find Your Wow in the Sales Pitch
Admittedly, marketers have an unfair advantage. We’re often immersed in creative projects that force us to think about these types of experiences, and sometimes we have discretionary budget to use. But neither of those things are pre-requisites to be able to find your wow. Take my friend Morgan Gillespie from Terminus, a Sales Development Rep who spends her days reaching out to prospective customers to engage them in conversations. She doesn’t view her role as “selling”, she’s all about connecting in a meaningful way and helping people understand how her company’s ABM technology can help them solve real problems. That’s her why, but how does she unlock the wow in her message? She does it with hyper-personalized GoVideo messages that infuse the right mix of authenticity, personality, humour and humanity.
Yes, her videos are educational and get the core message across (“based on what you do, I think we can help you with x, y and z”), but the wow-factor comes from her unexpected delivery style (video message) and the way she connects in a more personal and empathetic way. She’s done more than 3,000 of these custom videos and her results are off the charts. She recently recorded a podcast to talk about her approach, or you can check out the story of her entire team’s use of wow-worthy videos to accelerate sales.
How Do I Find My Own Wow?
Everyone’s wow is unique to their personality, their approach, and/or their company’s brand identity. But what I can say is that you need to be willing to put yourself out there, to take risks, and to be intentionally different from those who are vying for the same eyeballs. Using text, templates and inside-out language (telling them what you want to say, rather than what they need to hear) are surefire ways to blend into the crowd and leave your audience less-than-impressed. Try video, audio, music and imagery to bring your story and personality to life. Make your audience the hero, rather than yourself (remember—they are the hero and you are the guide), and try making them laugh or feel genuinely appreciated. Get creative, take cues from pop culture, and above all else, be human!
Whether you’re a marketer working on that next campaign, a sales rep trying to find that next deal, a CEO trying to build an engaging company culture, or a finance professional trying to get your employees to get those expense reports right for once—remember that good enough is no longer good enough. If you want to stand out, be heard and inspire those around you, find your wow to deliver a truly memorable message that will make them take notice.