Writing customer stories to improve team collaboration

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Martech.org offers a practical technique for building collaborative team processes on a foundation of customer-centricity.

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The author says that for a long time, we’ve taken a very task-centric approach to marketing. While having each owner write out their own task is quick and easy, and oftentimes a good way to work, writing work in a story format may be better for instilling the value of team collaboration.

The story approach has been long used by agile software teams, and you may be familiar with the term “user stories.” User stories were created to get rid of heavy documentation and to spur a conversation with the team. While user stories were meant for software developers to see how people used their systems, it’s a technique that works well for marketers, too — with a few minor tweaks. Instead of “users” of a system, we want to think about what our customers want, so I like to call them “customer stories.”

A customer story is really all about the work the team is going to do but gives everyone a more well-rounded perspective and is inclusive of all work needed by the team to create value for the customer. A customer story answers the questions of who, what, and why. When everyone on the team is clear on who the target audience is for the marketing, what work we’re doing, and why it benefits the customer, we can have a better shared understanding as a team. Here are a few examples of customer stories:

  • “As a realtor, I want a landing page where prospects can go so that I can build up my sales pipeline.”
  • “As a healthcare provider, I want to get a weekly email update on vaccination rates in my community so that I am better prepared for a crisis.”
  • “As a mom of two, I want a buy one get one free offer on back to school shoes so that I can save money.”
  • “As a new homeowner, I want to receive a brochure on where to find a qualified pediatrician near me so that my kids are well cared for.”

The author goes on to explain how businesses and teams that take a little extra time to write customer stories benefit from the exercise.

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