data-driven storytelling, ivan jerkic

I know you better than you know yourself

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Picture of Ivan Jerkić

Ivan Jerkić

What do I do? I build ventures – from the concept to product-market fit. And then I scale them.

A.K.A. the secret of data-driven storytelling

I won’t be wrong if I say the catchphrase “I know you better than you know yourself” to describe how granular and deeply personal data-driven storytelling can be.

Complete customer journey is personalized, from search engines, social media feeds, advertising, and landing pages to post-purchase communication. We, as marketers, can directly control some parts of it, some we cannot, but we can influence the narrative as a whole.

We create the world you see online and influence your decisions by leveraging the most valuable asset of the tech era — the data.

data-driven storytelling, i know you better than you know yourself, ivan jerkic, users, data
Source: Unsplash

Back to basics, let’s first define “storytelling”

What is storytelling in marketing? To put it simply: packing a marketing message in a narrative designed to invoke emotions that drive action from the audience. Storytelling works to humanize your brand by helping customers understand why they should care about you first and subsequently about what you sell.

Data-driven storytelling leverages the data to personalize the narrative to each individual within your audience. It makes the story relevant to their worldviews.

How does it work in practice?

Prepare the narrative

Google understands the context and user intent of each search query.

Are they just searching for more information on the topic? Are they trying to find something locally relevant? Perhaps they’re about to buy a product or book a hotel? How many searches do they need to convert?

You cannot directly control what Google lists in the search results, but by knowing how it personalizes them, you can mold your website content to fit users’ “Google search journey.”

Social media feeds are run by powerful recommendation engines built on thousands of data points users leave during their on-platform activities.

data-driven storytelling, i know you better than you know yourself, ivan jerkic, data
Source: Unsplash

You should understand your typical user and their behavior patterns to produce content that perfectly matches it. Leave the delivery to the algorithms — the right message to the right person at the right moment, be it on Google, Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok. Organically or amplified via ads.

Your narrative is nailed down, and your target is acquired. Your story is a part of theirs.

Once you have them, alter their thinking

Once users land on the website you control, it’s time to step up the game by implementing data analytics. Analytics will help you understand their demographic data, behavioral patterns on the site, cart contents, and whatnot. Use that info in marketing communication.

Targeted communication based on user behavior is excellent. However, no one likes annoying ads reminding them they’ve left a product in the cart. Be ahead of their thoughts but subtle. Learn how to alter their thinking to your liking without being intrusive.

Remarketing is nice, but the real game changer lies in the content personalization of the campaign destination — a website, landing page, or app.

Make it relevant to each visitor. Is it possible to?

Yes, it is. However, it’s the option that’s often overlooked. Many marketers are focused only on advertising, leaving out the landing page experience. It is such a waste.

You can personalize almost everything. This can be done by Google Optimize – a tool that lets you test almost anything from text copies and images to complete UI/UX changes. Optimize is just the tip of the iceberg of what is possible to achieve in landing page content personalization. For example, take BytePlus Recommend, a machine learning tool built to boost personalized experiences. Should I mention that it’s owned by the same company behind TikTok’s enormous success and the game-changing algorithm it boasts?

Data-driven storytelling journey doesn’t end once they purchase

If anything, this is the moment where it really begins! Emails and phone numbers are our personal identifiers, and users leave at least one of them when they signup or buy. We craft a perfect story by identifying users online and offline by email or phone number and matching their purchase patterns. The end goal is a lower churn rate leading to loyalty and, finally, higher profit margins.

Acquiring a new customer is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining the existing one.

data-driven storytelling, i know you better than you know yourself, ivan jerkic, users
Source: Unsplash

We send them emails and text messages; present personalized content across the website, blog, social media, or any other brand touchpoint. We create the world they see, like, and spend money in. This level of robust transaction-based personalization is available through customer data platforms, such as Segment, that track every step of the customer lifecycle.

Final words

Everything mentioned here illustrates how far you can go in online storytelling personalization. Please note that I do not endorse, promote, or suggest the mentioned tools and platforms. Some of them might be borderline non-ethical if exploited. Always ask for users’ consent before obtaining private data (comply with GDPR, CCPA, etc.).

Saying that imagine all of this but in the future, “Metaverse,” edition. Sounds scary?

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