MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2023

Stop Telling Stories! Create Brand Conversations That Actually Convert, Presented by The Brand Trifecta

Do you have an offer that—you believe—more people should buy?

Most marketers do.

And we make the mistake of trying to convince people, “THIS is the right solution for you!”

Kate DiLeo says we’re doing it wrong.

In this clip from Kate’s B2B Forum 2023 presentation, she reminds us to stop selling to everyone.

Instead, we should connect with the people or companies who have the highest chance of taking us up on our offer. The core buyers, not the outliers.

For Kate’s thoughts, watch the clip, or read the transcript below.

Kate’s presentation was just one of more than 60 presentations, workshops, and roundtables at B2B Forum 2023 attended by more than 2,700 marketers. B2B Forum returns to Boston in November 2024 and tickets are available now.


Are you provoking your audiences to want to know more?

We’re going to talk about that.

Now, in order to do that, you’ve got to shift the paradigm. And the first thing that we have to remember, as marketers and leaders in our organization, is:

We are not in the business of convincing.

We are in the business of converting.

It is not your job or your brand’s job to try to speak to everybody in the world, hoping that they’re going to resonate with your message and ultimately buy.


It is your brand’s job to speak to the few who have the highest probability of buying will most deeply resonate with the heart pain message that you’re speaking and ultimately want to engage and take the next step.

Which side are we on today, my friends?

Are we convincing or converting?

Maybe a blend.

Maybe you’ve got a couple audiences that are really nailed down, right, and you’re like, “I feel like we’re doing okay over here, but we’re throwing darts at the dart board over there.”

We have got to eliminate ineffective storytelling.

The thing with storytelling is that, at its core, it’s beautiful, right?

Donald Miller came out with this incredible book. We all know Donald Miller. I love him. He’s great. His whole philosophy was: stop making it about us. Make it about the customer. Right? Make them the hero, the heart of the story.

Do you know what the problem is though? My fellow story lovers… we went rogue with story, didn’t we?

Did anybody teach us how to write the story?

Not really.

Story at its core is one main monologue. One person talking and one person listening.

Is your brand speaking to somebody, or creating room for engagement?

Here’s the deal. We also have to get over the FOMO.

When you build brand, you cannot care about what your competition is doing. Your brand is not about your competition. Your brand is about you. If your brand is blue and green, why in the world would you go try to be blue and green because there’s successful being blue and green. You’re just going to be in a sea of blue and green. Are you going to stick out?


Go be orange, go be purple. Go be hot pink. Go be Barbie pink.

We have to stop trying to speak to everybody.

We have got to be willing to put stakes in the ground and niche in.

Now, I talk a lot about this with my thesis around the brand trifecta. How do you get to that point of building the message? If you have more than a few target audiences that you’re well-defined? You need to think about it.

Have you prioritized who you’re actually speaking to? In fact, do you understand the one or two or three groups who make up the majority of your revenue? You’re going to always have outliers. Are you trying to speak to the outliers or the ones who actually have readiness to buy? 

The goal here is to be provocative. Proative confident, not cocky.

Now, I will tell you, I’m from Minneapolis, Minnesota, land of the aggressive. (Do I see a hand back there for me? Yes. Okay.)

You know what? Can we just call this out? Midwest culture, American culture. They say, “oh heavens to Betsy, Kate, you can’t be type A, or confident, or anything else!”

And I just want to push us on this for a second. I am not saying that your brand needs to be cocky or pretentious, but does your brand provoke a response where somebody sees it and goes, “interesting, what do they mean by that? Hang on a second! I want to know more.”

The art of provocation and branding, and in language and in writing, is about understanding that—at our core as humans—we want to know more.

And if we’re just telling people things that they already know, we’re inundating [them] with too much information. We have not created a brand response, and we’re certainly not going to create brand loyalty. Then, are you provoking?

Because, my friends, if you are hiding behind your brand with a tagline that says, “We Do It Consulting,” probably not going to provoke somebody to want to know more. Right?

Published 12/20/23

B2B Forum is packed with marketing insights, strategies, and tactics taken from the real world experience of over forty industry experts, packaged into context you can actually put to use.

Join us in Boston for B2B Forum 2024 this coming November 12-14, 2024. Early buyers get B2B Forum tickets at their lowest rate, and discounted hotel rooms are available while they last.


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