5 Ways to Tell a Great Marketing Story


Storytelling is foundational to being human. Even before cavemen first scratched drawings on cave walls, our legacies, lives and lessons were passed down by word-of-mouth, across cultures and spanning generations. We use stories all the time: to recount our day, to share our histories, to teach children caution, to scare the pants off campers, and to entertain everyone, everywhere. Most importantly, we use stories to connect with other human beings.

We use stories to connect with other human beings. The best stories are compelling; they speak to our passions and capture our imaginations. That’s why effective marketing hinges on great storytelling.

The best stories are compelling; they speak to our passions and capture our imaginations.

That’s why effective marketing hinges on great storytelling.

Here are 5 ways to ensure your marketing story is compelling…and irresistible to your prospects.

1. Cast Your Customers

Every story starts with a great cast. Sure, there’s your awesome company hero…maybe a plucky CEO who dropped out of college to start a company in his dad’s garage with just a few friends and a shoestring budget. The company grew and grew until it changed the world. Now that seems like an obvious hero. Well, his name is Bill Gates, but he’s not the real star of this show.

The hero of your story isn’t you—and it isn’t your business, either. Today’s audiences can find these kinds of stories egotistical and uninspiring. Your real hero is your customer, so write your story about them. Better yet: Tell their stories.

2. Use Imaginative Imagery

Whether you’re writing a blog post or creating an all-out advertisement, imagery is crucial. You can write that imagery right into your content or show amazing imagery via superb graphic design or interesting infographics. Imagery is the secret to really wowing your prospects right off the bat.

Check out how GE took our breath away with this beauty:

3. Present a Vexing Villain

In any great story, there’s always an obstacle standing in the way of success. What seemingly insurmountable hurdle is preventing your customers from attaining their goals? Your job is to supply the tools they need to slay their business dragons.

The Allstate Mayhem commercials: seriously, what’s not to love? They’re hilarious, yes, but this villain is relatable and familiar to so many of us, we just can’t help but consider the real-life message behind the mayhem. Now that’s effective marketing.

4. Evoke Emotion

Whether B2B or B2C, today’s consumers are looking for stories that connect us as human beings. These are stories that evoke emotion, bringing us together and inspiring us to feel something…and feel something powerful whenever possible.

While the ASPCA’s animal cruelty commercials are probably the most poignant example, let’s try on something that’s a little more…not completely and totally depressing. These (much more uplifting) Pedigree commercials are sure to tug at your heartstrings.

A dog makes your life happier. Adopt.

5 Ways to Tell a Great Marketing Story

5 Ways to Tell a Great Marketing Story

5. Hone in on a Happy Ending

Your marketing stories should focus on how your customers can achieve their goals and overcome their problems using your products and services so they can find their own happy ending. To add depth and character development to your story, consider your customer’s goals as a fundamental transformation. How does your solution transform the customer? How is your story inspiring?

Have a look at this fun Chevrolet commercial, “Little Engineer.” Chevy took a bold and broad approach, showing how their innovative designs today might inspire the innovative designers and doers of the future.

Chevrolet: "Little Engineer" Commercial from Jorge Garduño on Vimeo.

Remember: Storytelling connects us as human beings; it’s powerful and dynamic, and stories truly inspire us and make us feel alive. Telling a great marketing story is a spectacular way to connect with your prospects and customers. Show your customers how your goods or services transform their business—and the world. Above all, be honest and make your customers the stars of the show. You’ll draw in more new business and keep your existing customers coming back for more.

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