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Tips and Bits: The Big Marketing Secret

Spend two hours telling a prospect every fact about your product—and he’ll forget 95% in 10 minutes. But tell him a story, and, 20 years later, he’ll repeat it to you word for word. – Marketing Profs, Bill Schley

What do marketers really do, anyway?

In a moment I’ll answer that question.

But first, I’d like to pause for a personal note. When the Next Day Flyers’ blog began in late 2008 I was privileged to be part of it. One of the first articles I wrote, Last Minute Marketing, was about the New Year (then 2009). Ah, so long ago. In many ways I feel as if I’ve grown up as a blogger, right here at NDF and I’ve loved every minute of it.

Now, it’s time for more change, time for me to move on. So, you’ll no longer find me on the blog here. But not to worry! NDF has new and exciting writers on the horizon who will continue to bring you the great marketing and design information you’ve come to expect, so stay tuned.

And, you can still find me at my blog Zencopy, which focuses on writing, creativity, and online success. Stop on by and say hi!

Now, back to the question, what do marketers do? Good marketers tell stories.

As do good bloggers, entrepreneurs, teachers, and parents.

According to linguists and anthropologists, the most effective way to penetrate into someone’s mind and leave a message is through story. If you’re trying to marketing something, today, more than ever, stories matter.

For your story to succeed, for your story to be something people want to listen to, you need:

  • A value proposition that speaks to them
  • To find the right time and place
  • To educate and maintain awareness

We love stories when we’re little; we love stories when we’re all grown up. The choice, then, is to begin to look at everything you write as a story.

Your company name tells a story.
Your tagline tells a story.
Your content and images tell a story.

It’s the stories you tell that give your product value. Here’s a powerful example. In 2007 the Washington Post conducted an experiment which was about how people perceived and valued beauty. As part of this grand experiment, Joshua Bell (one of world’s best violinists) played in a subway station. No one knew who he was. No one knew what he was worth. He played for 45 minutes on his 1713 Stradivarius (worth about $3.5 million). Here’s is what happened:

1,097 people went through the subway station. Only seven stopped and listened for a while. About 27 gave money but continued to walk past the musician. There was no applause at the end, and the total sum collected during the performance was $32.17.

Just two days before this, Bell had performed a sold-out concert with average ticket size of $100.

What does this tell us? Without the work of all the people behind Joshua Bell he is not worth $1000 per minute. “His work is worth $1,000 a minute only to a carefully primed and self-selected audience at a setting they accept and a time that is convenient to them.” (from Just What do Marketers Do, Anyway).

That’s what marketers do. Stories are the big marketing secret. They have the power to take the perceived value of a product or service to unprecedented heights.

Now I ask you, when it comes to your company, your products and service, what kind of stories are you telling?

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