Monday, May 23, 2005

Tell me a story...

I've been following a lot of the hooplah around Seth Godin's new book - All Marketers are liars.

(I haven't actually read the book yet, but I've read so much about it that I probably don't need to. Maybe blogging like crazy isn't the best marketing tool when what you're trying to sell is words...)

Anyway, for those of you who want to make out that you've read it too, here's the 237 word synopsis courtesy of Brand Autopsy:

"All marketers tell stories. And if they do it right, we believe them. Successful marketers don’t talk about features or benefits. Instead, they tell a story. A story we want to believe.

Marketing is the story marketers tell to consumers and then maybe, if the marketer has done a good job, the lie consumers tell themselves and their friends. Some marketers focus so hard on the facts of their offering that they forget to tell a story at all and then wonder why they’ve failed.

Stories are shortcuts because we’re too overwhelmed by data to discover all the details. Marketers tell the stories, and consumers believe them. Some marketers do it well. Others are pretty bad at it.

Great marketers tell stories we believe. The marketer tells a story about what the consumer notices. The story changes the way the consumer experiences the product or service. Storytelling only works when the story actually makes the product or service better.

Storytelling isn’t Seth’s idea. It’s the idea of customers. It’s customers who want to be told stories. It’s your prospects who will walk away if you obsess about the last sigma of this or that without bothering to tell a story about it.

There are no small stories. Only small marketers. If your story is too small, it’s not a story, it’s just an annoying interruption. Make your story bigger and bigger until it’s important enough to believe."

As much as you might not like it, you have to agree it resonates. Facts are boring and easily forgotten. Stories are what our brains have evolved to remember. Which is a better choice when you're trying to directly affect people's brains?

Case in point: this product announcement from IBM. Holy crap! I think the product might actually be cool, but I got so bored reading the thing I fell asleep!

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