By Robert Pease, head of Heinz Marketing’s CMO Practice

I am a huge craft beer fan both because I like beer and because I love the local aspect of each craft brewer’s story.  Storytelling is such a critical part of great marketing and I see over and over companies struggling with wanting to explain more about how their product works and its features versus creating an experience around their product aligned with prospect needs and outcomes.

One of my favorite breweries is Full Sail Brewing Company in Hood River, Oregon.  Their beer is great but their story and my experiences with them are what make me buy their product when I see it and tell others about them (like this post).

Hood River is one of the most spectacular places on the planet as the Columbia Gorge cuts through the Cascade Mountains with the mighty Columbia River running through it.  There are so many beautiful waterfalls and it is a top destination for kiteboarders and wind surfers given how the wind blows up river against the current creating a perfect combination of wind and waves on many days.  I have spent many days on their deck enjoying their beer and watching all of this around me.  It creates a memorable experience around the beer each time.

When I see their product in a store or at a restaurant, I think first of that experience then whether or not the IPA or Amber Ale sounds best or what type of hops were used in the brewing process.

As marketers, we can learn a lot from the craft beer industry about storytelling and creating experiences.  Rather than be a mass produced, watered down, and bland marketer (like some big breweries) focused on product differentiate yourself by being more of a small batch, hand-crafted marketer focused on your story.

What sort of experiences are you creating around your product or service?  Do you spend more time focusing on the “ingredients” or the prospect’s needs?