This article was originally written for Inside Magazine and was featured as part of our monthly column entitled The Inside On Social Media.
I recently had the pleasure of attending an event with a number of other marketing & business professionals where we each had a five minute slot to talk to an audience about our area of expertise. To my amazement I watched as one by one each of my fellow professionals stood up and spent the entire five minutes talking about their business, their origins, and why the good people in the audience should want to work with them.
To be perfectly honest with you it was a snore fest, so when it came my turn to take the mic I was surprised to see that everyone was still in their seats and not taking an early lunch! Instead of talking about my business, what we offer our clients, and how we came to be, I spent my five minutes talking about story telling.
There is, in my opinion, a very large section of people who believe that marketing is the same as selling. This could not be further from the truth. I know of many great sales people who are terrible marketers, and likewise many great marketing guru’s who couldn’t sell plastic surgery to Joan Rivers!
Marketing is story telling. It could be the story of your product, or the story of your business, but even better it should be the story of what you’re offering your customer. The story of how your product or service will make them feel. Pay close attention the next time you watch an advert for Coca-Cola. You will see that their adverts are full of smiling, dancing, people who pop open a Coke and subsequently have the time of their life - they are telling the story that great moments happen with Coca-Cola. Now whether or not you like to consume the highly addictive sugar water, you cannot argue that they don’t tell a great story inside a 30 second commercial. And this is what you should be considering the next time you talk about how to market your business.
What stories are you telling your potential customers? Is it clear how your product or service will make them feel? Are you telling great stories or are you just trying to sell?
The best salespeople on Earth know that great stories sell, and as such they have become master story tellers themselves. They also know that the fastest way to lose a sale is to make the customer feel that they’re being sold too. It is a difficult skill to master but one that will be made considerably easier if the next time you talk about advertising or marketing you ask yourself “what story is this telling?”
It may have just been my imagination, but when my five minute talk was up the audience looked a lot more awake and the ripple of applause seemed to be slightly louder than previously. Perhaps I had just told a great story.
Jordan J. Whittingham
The Inside on Social Media.