Storytelling: Why it Matters in Marketing

Mark Evans spoke about Storytelling in Marketing at the National Business and Technology Conference. His talk focused on the role of storytelling in molding the foundational marketing activities from core messaging to strategies and content for startups and entrepreneurs.

“Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business.”

Storytelling plays an important part in everything a startup does – from communications and marketing to sales and hiring. Unfortunately many entrepreneurs are not the greatest at doing this. Conference attendees benefitted from Mark’s presentation which gave some context and steps to start the storytelling process and examples of places where such stories can be told.

Why Stories Work Well

  • They connect us
  • They are memorable
  • They are motivating
  • They are really sharable

How Storytelling Helps Startups

Storytelling is everything when it comes to startups, and needs to be embraced from the beginning.

Most startups are bad storytellers, Mark says. Some reasons are that they have no perspective – startups are focusing 24/7 on their business or product, but not paying attention to the outside world. They also love to talk about their product, what they want to tell – but now what the consumers actually need. Another issue is that the people in these startups have different skill sets (developers, engineers, for example) and may not be trained at all in storytelling.

Storytelling Starts from the Beginning

But where can a startup start? Mark says that storytelling starts from the beginning. The story should be the reason the product is going to resonate with anyone – it should be baked into the DNA of the organization.

You need stories for:

  • Convincing friends and family – why are you going to create a business on your own?
  • Attracting employees – how will you convince people to work with you? Helping new potential employees become instpired to work with you requires a story.
  • Getting customers – convincing people to use your product or service.
  • Raising Capital – investors need the story of the product, the team, the marketplace – a good story will help you get your foot in the door.

What is Your Story

  • What do you – or your product – do? Answer in 10 words, Mark recommends.
  • Who needs it? Know everything about who will be your customer.
  • What are the key benefits? How will your product help people out?
  • What’s in it for me? What benefits will it provide to people (smarter, healthier, etc)?

Where and How to Share Your Story

  • Develop your Website – it is the hub for telling great stories. You can tell stories in different ways in different locations within your website. You have only a few seconds to make an impression! Great examples are SquareSpace and Mint.com.
  • Whitepapers – Free eBooks with stories to connect with target audiences.
  • Blog – A great way to drive your stories, offer tips and ways to connect. A great example is Buffer.
  • Video – People will watch videos before reading text when they have the option. Keep yours under 1 minute.

Think Stories, Not Products

As much as you would like to tell people about your product specifically, the story is the most important part. They can learn about your product later if they are engaged and interested. Be different, unique, or both.

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