Why Story Telling is Essential in Marketing

I recently read the book All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin which basically states that it is essential in this day and age to tell good stories to market anything effectively. The reason is simple: It’s to only way to cut through the huge clutter of advertising we get bombarded with. Here is what I learned:

People share stories that is the single most important reason for telling great stories as a marketer.

Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone. Average people are good at ignoring you. Average people have too many different points of view about life and average people are by and large satisfied. If you need to water down your story to appeal to everyone, it will appeal to no one. Match the worldview of a tiny audience – and then that tiny audience spreads the story.

Points about what makes a great story:

Everyone own special world view keep that in mind.

  • They don’t try to change someone’s worldview. Don’t try to use the facts to prove your case and to insist that people change their biases. Instead, identify a population with a certain worldview, frame your story in their terms, and you win.
  • Great stories don’t contradict themselves. If your restaurant is in the right location but has the wrong menu, you lose
  •  Great stories agree with our worldview. The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, they best stories agree with what the audience already believes. Everyone believe that saving time is something worth spending money, on so people pay. Frame the story in a way that it concurs with the world view of your customer.
  • Great stories don’t appeal to logic, but they often appeal to our senses and emotions.
  • A great story for the most part: is true /makes a promise/ is trusted/ is subtle. Talented marketers understand that the prospect is ultimately telling himself the lie, so allowing him (and the rest of the target audience) to draw his own conclusions is far more effective than just announcing the punch line.
  • First impressions start the story. Make sure that your message is delivered in a appropriate way to the story you want to tell. Snap Judgement is incredibly powerful.
  • People only notice the new and then make a guess.
  • A great story is simple and memorable.
About Competition:

The natural instinct is to figure out what’s working for the competition and then try to outdo it. To be cheaper than your competitor who competes on price, or faster than the competitor who competes on speed. The problem is that once a consumer has bought someone else’s story and believes that lie, persuading the consumer to switch is the same as persuading then to admit he was wrong. And people hate admitting that they’re wrong.

Instead, you must tell a different story and persuade those listening that your story is more important than the story they currently believe.  If your competition is faster, you must be cheaper. If they sell the story of health, you must sell the story of convenience. Build on the message your competition send before you don’t try to change the consumers mind.

What the Past can teach us about the future

The following Questions help us to  determine if the past is representative for the future.

  1. Observation: Will the past behaviour continue? How long can it possibly continue?
  2. Explanation: The past can tell us why something happend.
  3. Predictability: From the past we can learn how probable an event really is, how possible is that it will happen again?
  4. Continuation and Change:  What is required to make the past/ present record continue? What forces can change it or cause what we don’t want to happen and is it likely?
  5. Certainty and Consequences: How certain am I? And what the consequences of being right/ wrong?

The past can teach us a lot about the future when we ask the right questions and look at the bigger picture.

“Study the past if you would divine the future” – Confucius