Every day the internet is filled with more articles and videos about the most important shift in marketing in years: storytelling. At first glance, it is easy to dismiss the word itself as a trending buzzword. But the re-appropriation of creative storytelling into a marketing tool is more than just a fad.
In fact, as the number of young people who have grown up in this new medium rises, it may already be too late to say that “traditional” marketing even has a dominant place in the world. A simple ad that says nothing more than “this is what we have, it’s great, come buy it,” does not work on a consumer who has access to marketing that offers much more than a pitch.
So what’s the difference between traditional marketing and new marketing? Simply put, new marketing brings back person to person interactions in advertising. Deep down, we all know that there is a person behind every commercial - but in the recent past, we have become so saturated with half thought out, assembly line marketing that it is easy (and satisfying) to ignore or remove it from our lives.
Consider it this way. A long long time ago, business owners advertised to the people in their small towns or cities. Chances were that they knew the majority of those people, or at least some of them, and could interact with them as they went about their daily lives. Their circumstances didn’t necessitate storytelling in their ads because they could share their experiences personally.
As time and technology progressed, this same business owner suddenly is faced with a shrinking world. Competitors who were once too far to reach or contact are now minutes away. As such, businesses begin to pump out more and more marketing, attempting to both keep their local customers and attract more from newly accessible areas.
In this process, they begin to lose their personal touch. They take themselves out of the equation more and more as they can’t interact with individual people as much anymore. Marketing slowly transforms people into demographics and numbers, and personality is traded for a tactical method.
This works, for the most part, as the market is flooded with ad after ad of the same thing. Consumers begin to lose brand connection provided by the companies they are buying from. In the background, though, there are companies producing ads that do little else than tell a funny or heartwarming story. These ads get prime location and love in the people’s choice awards of marketing: the Super Bowl.
Soon, the internet rises to prominence. People are connected in ways they have never been before. Suddenly traditional mediums of market communication shift, and there is a way to be in every customer's hand 24/7. Consumers realize they are newly empowered to avoid ads they don’t like, or on the extreme end, get rid of the majority of ads they see all together. The issue that arises for most marketers is this: how do we stop people from blocking our content?
We arrive in the present day. The smartest marketers have already discovered the cure to apathetic or annoyed consumers. Provide them with the content they want. Produce something that they will search for, share, and re-watch on their own. Don’t force your way into their heads or interrupt their lives, open the door and invite them in.
It could perhaps be said that we have come full circle. From the beginning where everyone knew the business owner’s name and could see them whenever they entered the store to now when social media makes it easier than ever to make sure customers know what business owners are up to.
Storytelling is little more than keeping humanity in business. It’s taking out the toxic and faceless parts of procedural marketing and building bonds between real people. It is the next level of marketing.
Adding a voice to your business is the best way to keep your customers more intrigued in your everyday business activities. Speak to a new marketing professional. Read about storytelling in marketing. Above all, prepare your business for a new generation of consumers that expect to connect with your business in a personal way, and start building customer-relationships that will last a lifetime.
For all your storytelling marketing needs, Letter 13 Creative has you covered!