Storytelling in Marketing Delivers Solutions

Think of marketing success today like this. You’re sitting around a constant campfire. (Yeah, I know the triple digit temperatures in Arizona make it feel like that anyway). Are you good at storytelling? Or, is your competition burning you like a marshmallow fallen off a stick?

For good reason, I wanted to follow up on the storytelling in marketing video I did a few days ago. The truth is for many businesses and people, marketing around that campfire is a struggle like trying to keep a dying flame alive. You want it to be stronger. You aren’t sure exactly what to do, or how to do it. But you do know doing the same thing you did before, or failing to do anything is going to end in the result you don’t want.

You’re not alone. For many, marketing is getting to be tougher by the day. When the internet burst onto the scene, it opened up a whole new world, didn’t it? You either had to get on the ball and get online, or stay offline and drift off into oblivion and likely failure.

First, for internet marketing success the science of SEO was the way to go. Then, Social Media and Smart Phones opened up more new worlds and more paths to marketing success. Now, the long-awaited “Content is King” key way of life is finally reality, and well in the mix. That little marketing campfire seems like it’s spreading out of control, doesn’t it?

Storytelling is your marketing solution. Those you’re hoping to reach may also find it to be their solution. Storytelling has been a known effective tool for centuries. Plus, this approach sounds much less intimidating and much more doable than developing a comprehensive marketing strategy, doesn’t it?

What is Storytelling in Marketing?

I realize this approach could mean a new chapter for you. So before I answer, here’s a few more fascinating relevant questions to get you into the perfect place.

Did you know there are more than 5 trillion ads created every year?

Did you know there’s around ¾ of a billion Google searches every minute?

And on a more personal note, did you know it’s said on average we process over 100,000 words every day?

Let’s put out the campfire analogy and move on to the world. Storytelling in marketing means slowing down the crazy, fast, super-stimulated world. It’s cutting through the clutter. It’s not getting on a louder speaker to try to override the noise of the crowd. It’s creating marketing content which speaks to someone where they are, whether you’re talking about geographically, physically, or emotionally. Storytelling is making the world smaller and easier so you and those you want to reach can connect. It’s making a sound investment to create an emotional bond and enjoy the ROI which comes with it.

Why do we read stories to children? To teach them, entertain them, inspire them, help them focus, help them relax…and to connect with them. Now apply that to storytelling in marketing. Ah ha! (Insert light bulb here).

The stories you tell could include the rich history of your company, unmatched customer service, the super team which makes up your organization, the need for your mission, or your passion for what you do. Look no farther than your own mirror. With the new world of technology, you’ve changed along with it, haven’t you? There’s emotional super glue with your smart phone, tablet, computer. You’re more of a skimmer now with information than a deep diver. You’re pretty good at tuning out spam, standard advertisements, and other unwanted messages. You’re so good at cracking the code of the constant flow of content you make instant decisions all day long. Much of the time you do it subconsciously as though it’s now in your DNA.

Effective Storytelling in Marketing Involves Giving and Receiving

Through telling your stories you give the gift of quality content so others may receive. Some will give back, and you’ll receive the results you want. Others will like your content so much they’ll become volunteer evangelists for you. They’ll share your messages, and promote your brand and value with their connections. Once again, you win.

Storytelling is connecting with your audience by connecting their heads with their hearts. It’s helping them to make choices which both make sense and feel good.

Storytelling is not selling a small box of chicken nuggets with fries or apple slices. It’s a “Happy Meal.” Storytelling is not taking apart a boxer engine. It’s “Love is what makes a Subaru, a Subaru.” Storytelling is like you creating your own kind of effective Super Bowl Commercials every day on your level, to support your mission, with your target audience, in your own world.

Storytelling in Marketing is delivering the messages you know people want to hear, not the mantra you want to say.

It’s the difference between bragging and presenting benefits. Of course, direct marketing still has its place. The right price in the right place at the right time will always have value. But a steady diet of hard-selling is hard for people to swallow, and it grows old. Marketing has made all of us aware how difficult diets are. It’s why they fail, right? Instead, storytelling is more like a weight loss program. It speaks of the results people want.

Just like with weight loss, achieving long-term success with marketing storytelling often requires you to make a lifestyle change.

The old way of Sell – Sell – Sell becomes Tell – Tell – Tell. Then, once you Tell – Tell – Tell, you have to Show – Show – Show. You have to prove it. You have to be it. If you can tell when someone isn’t genuine, don’t you think others might notice it if you aren’t? I am always preaching to clients, “If you just do what you say you’re going to do in business today, you’ll come out ahead because so many people and businesses don’t.”

You Want “Yes!”

Hold on. I get it. You may want and/or need to get into someone’s budget, wallet or purse so they will buy your products and services. I know. The change which may be scary for you is storytelling uses a different approach to succeed in our different world. You do more tapping in to the genuine human experience. You use good content to ignite the solution-seeking, decision-making and buying power which lives inside people. The goal is to get others to pay attention to your story. Then, the action and results you want such as sales, support and other types of “yes” will follow.

How to Do Effective Storytelling in Marketing

You need a marketing strategy which fits who and what you are. Within that strategy you must identify your unique stories and embrace them. Next, you find the best ways to tell them, show them, and live them because you believe them.

Remember the world in which we live. Once upon a time telling a story once might have been a solution. Times have changed. It’s like getting a website online. The marketing loser thinks that’s the end. The winner knows it’s only the beginning. For maximum results, it’s best to do your storytelling multiple times across multiple media and marketing platforms.

Track the results. Discover what works and run with it. Still, stay open to change.

Effective storytelling in marketing positions you as the solution for others. They in turn become your solution. Using this approach generates results and builds your brand and credibility. If that’s not enough, it also humanizes the brand of who you are and what you do with who you’re trying to reach…humans.

by Thomas Baldrick      Google +