What will make your marketing exceptional? It’s as simple and difficult as this: You need to tell a good story. It’s true of ads, job searches, competition for crowd funding, and start-ups trying to convince investors that they will be the next Google. As an article in The New York Time says, you need to be compelling, unforgettable, funny and smart. It’s just not enough to offer up plain facts.
The example I use is large numbers. A million, a trillion, a billion…they all sound pretty much alike, with perhaps a few zeros more or less. But if you put this information into a little story, suddenly the differences in scale are very clear. For example, a million seconds is 12 days. But a billion seconds, though it sounds similar, is much longer. It’s 31 years. And a trillion seconds? An unbelievable 31,688 years! But you see how much easier it is to grasp the enormous differences when presented in this manner, instead of just a string of zeros.
So the request you made of your mom or dad when you were a youngster, “Tell me a story,” is still important. Though the difference is that now that you are a marketer, the purpose of the story should not be to make the listener sleepy.
And now that it is close to your New Year’s resolution(s), resolve to remember that your communications should deal with emotions and stories, not merely facts and dull details.
For a holiday bonus, here is a (heartrending) six-word piece of fiction attributed to Ernest Hemingway, which shows the power of a story, no matter the length. “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”