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. 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.


Side Door Thinking: Learn the smart marketing tactics you need to truly engage with more customers.Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how you can use storytelling as part of an effective content marketing strategy.

You’ll learn how to:
  • Increase Your Referral Rate
  • Increase Your Social Media Reach
  • Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
  • Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
  • Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource


5 Content Marketing Tips: How to Add *ZING* to Dull Subjects

"Stop Boring Me." How to add *ZING* to Dull Subjects Using Content MarketingSome topics seem SO inherently boring. Content marketing is all well and good if you’re working in an exciting field with endless subjects to explore, but what if you sell life insurance or manufacture Teflon? Jazzing up a seemingly dull subject isn’t as hard as it sounds.

Stop boring your target audience by following these five content marketing tips:

1. Share your Passion
You love what you do, right? Show your customers the beauty of your industry by sharing your passion. It’s not all about selling. Tell them why you believe in your product or service and how it makes your life better. Provide case studies featuring people like just your customers (businesses, individuals or families, whatever is appropriate) to demonstrate how you solved their problems or improved their lives, their bottom line, or their business.

2. Offer Solutions
Compelling content answers questions—but the key is to answer the right questions. Do people want a detailed explanation about actuarial tables? No. Really, they don’t.

What do potential customers really want to know? Keyword research and social listening will help you determine that, but there’s also something to be said for your own instincts. People are interested in how your product relates to them and their lives. Find their pain points, address their fears, or find a way to make their lives easier.

3. Walk on the Wild Side
It’s human nature to be fascinated by the strange and unusual. Add some pizazz to your content by finding the angles that add interest to your product or service. People may not want to hear about actuarial tables, but they DO want to know if they’re at risk for ebola. (Nope. You’re far more likely to die from your jammies catching fire.) Find creative ways to tie topics together.

4. Add Images
Visuals carry tremendous weight. Research shows that 80% – 90% of the information our brains process is visual and that related images help us process information. Brain science aside, visuals are simply more appealing.

Research shows that 80% - 90% of the information our brains process is visual and that related images help us process information. Brain science aside, visuals are simply more appealing.

5. Understand the WHY
The New York Times teamed up with Latitude Research to study the psychology behind sharing. Digging into social media motivations, they found that customers share to connect with each other. They share to motivate, advocate and interest their peers. The takeaway is to address your customers’ desire to connect with their friends…not just with your brand.

Providing answers is not only a great way to make your content more interesting, it’s also a great way to nurture your customer relationships throughout the buy cycle. Download our FREE Growth Cycle Marketing white paper to better connect with your prospects before, during and after the sale.


In the end, the most important takeaway is to be sure to make your marketing about your audience.



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