On a summer evening when my son was 15 years old, he hopped in the car with me on an after-hours trip to the office to retrieve some research papers. As we drove through the city streets, Ethan looked over and asked, “Dad, what is it you actually do for a living?”
I guess owning an advertising agency wasn’t enough information for him.
Without thinking I answered, “I tell stories.” After some reflection I thought it was as good a description of my life’s work as anything else I’d ever attempted. For my entire professional career, I’ve been telling stories about companies, products and services. But every story is, ultimately, about people. The people who make products and those who use them. Stories are the way we engage with others. The way we begin conversations that often lead to business relationships.
However, marketing stories are about more than plot, character development, conflict and resolution. In my experience, there are five main components to any marketing story. Every one is a creative challenge in its own right:
- Consistency: It’s not just how often you tell the story, but how consistent the story is with your brand identity and market needs.
- Information: Every company has special knowledge that would help other people do their job, or live their lives better. Digging this information out is a big part of the storytellers art.
- Format: People don’t read like they used to. Thankfully, technology has given us so many more ways to tell every story in an engaging manner. Use them wisely.
- Distribution: Every marketing story is only as good as the number of people engaged. Again, technology has given us new ways to reach and interact with the people who can make a difference in our business.
- Follow-up: Good conversations never end at “hello.” Successful marketing stories first engage prospects, discover their interests, then continue the conversation until prospects become customers, and customers become loyal. Modern marketing automation helps the process along.
I hope you’ll take the time to browse our site and get a feel for the power of the storytellers art. So many people lately have latched on to the idea of “storytelling.” We started using it as our theme line over 20 years ago, so I feel like we were ahead of the curve. Perhaps we can help you tell your story and build your business. I look forward to talking to you soon.