What do Avatar and HP Enterprise Services have in common?

They say there are only seven original stories on which all literature, fables, myths, and movies are based. From Hamlet to Avatar, all the plots can be summarized in this short list:

  1. Man vs. nature
  2. Man vs. man
  3. Man vs. the environment
  4. Man vs. machines/technology
  5. Man vs. the supernatural
  6. Man vs. self
  7. Man vs. god/religion

Source: Internet Public Library (IPL) and the Librarians’ Internet Index (LII).

People remember stories, especially ones in which they can recognize truths about the world or their own experiences. But, so often in B2B marketing, we forget that we are communicating with human beings. I’ve seen tech brochures and Web sites frequently loaded down with endless bullet points of speeds and feeds, for fear that if it misses one detail our customer will bail.

Our customers are not robots. Just because they are evaluating more complex, technical products and have a longer sales cycle, doesn’t mean they will respond to or even recall all the facts and figures we throw at them. Our customers also go see Avatar and are equally driven by basic instincts when it comes to purchase decisions – risk avoidance, fear of making the wrong decision, peer pressure, group think.

At HP, I recently started working on the Enterprise Services business (formerly EDS). When I made my first trip down to Plano, I got a tour of their “Experience Center” – an operational control station in which they also demonstrate their capabilities to customers. I was amazed at how well they articulate their customer stories through a video series. For example, check case study out about the Royal Air Force.

Now, they could have just interviewed their clients in suits about how great HP is. They could have gone into the data center and pulled out a few boards. Instead, they show the end user’s experience. “The office moves around at about 500 miles per hour.” The Enterprise Services team understands how to add the “man vs.man” story giving it a much more theatrical and entertaining experience.

Here’s another story about how John Weir went the extra mile for a customer. This didn’t have the same “Top Gun” entertainment flair, but the producer showed the personal side of Mr. Weir – his family, his kids opening presents on Christmas time.

Watch the Video

I find that often in our marketing efforts we are hesitant to show our personality behind the scenes. But, this is what makes this video so much more compelling. A well told story in the context of B2B marketing can be a powerful tool to help marketers communicate a complex or intangible value proposition like Enterprise Services.

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