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15 Can You Illustrate a Simple Truth?

The best stories often illustrate one simply truth for the reader and in doing so can illuminate an idea, a principle, or belief in far greater fashion than an overt statement to the same effect.

I believe this notion can be applied very powerfully to something I call the marketing story. Your marketing story is a tool that can and should be included as one element of your suite of education based marketing materials, but done correctly, can facilitate a prospect’s ability to connect and trust in ways that are far more powerful than any other marketing document.

I would like to suggest that you add a story, something personal or telling in nature, to your marketing message toolbox as a way to help prospect connect more deeply with your company. Reveal through your story why you do what you do, where you are going and how your intend to serve every customer that walks through your door.

This is certainly not a history of your business. The best marketing stories start from one simple idea and build in engaging ways, much like the stories we all grew up relishing at bedtime. There are a handful of classic story formats – who I am, where I’ve been, where I’m going, I know you, what I’ve overcome – but like to start with one idea and build.

Here’s an example of a story starter – mind you, I don’t have any idea where this would go, but it reveals something about me that I could work with for a story.

Growing up there were ten children in my family and I remember vividly the times we would all pile in the Impala station wagon for family outings. Legend has it that on these occasions my father would playfully remark to my mother – “I’ll watch John and you watch the other nine.” It seems my insatiable curiosity to discover people, places and things led to some anxious moments for my parents.

OK, I believe there is a relationship to what makes my business go, a simple truth, contained in this nugget, but I also believe it speaks much louder to a prospect than if I just blurted out what makes me tick. The key of course is to then take this story starter and wrap it into my already established core message in a way that is magnifying.

Years ago I worked with a man who ran a very successful window cleaning business. I drew this story out of him and became the centerpiece of his marketing efforts. He printed on the back of his invoices, ran snippets of it in radio ads, and shared it with prospective customers and employees alike.

Marketing Story Example: A Tale of Passion

7 Multiple Personality Marketing Materials Disorder

Most marketing materials suffer from too much focus. Now, I’m a big fan of focus when it comes to message, but it’s the delivery of that message that needs to be flexible.

Marketing PersonalitiesHere’s what I mean. Within the very same, narrowly defined, ideal target market there exists many different personalities and just as many different learning styles. (marketing it not selling, it’s educating.)

The problem this presents is that you can’t simply create the tri-fold brochure, with stunning, persuasive copy and hope to appeal to someone who is a “just the facts ma’am” kind of person.

Your marketing materials must come in many different flavors and offer something for every buying style. That’s why I promote something I call a marketing kit as it asks you to develop a suite of materials aimed at conveying your message in a variety of formats. (If this makes sense check out Magnificent Marketing Materials)

One of my coaches recently pointed out a great way to articulate this and I’d like to share it.

You’ve probably seen or taken the DISC profile. DISC is the four quadrant behavioral model based on the work of William Moulton Marston Ph.D. to examine the behavior of individuals in their environment or within a specific situation. DISC looks at behavioral styles and behavioral preferences.

    DISC is an acronym for:

  • Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness
  • Influence – relating to social situations and communication
  • Steadiness (submission in Marston’s time)- relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
  • Conscientiousness (or caution, compliance in Marston’s time) – relating to structure and organization

My take on this when it comes to marketing materials is that different behavioral styles need different marketing messages and forms of communication and content.

    In our marketing kit world a

  • D – needs the facts, the quick rationalization of benefit that a case statement might make, case studies too
  • I – loves a good story, relates to more classic marketing messages of difference, loves images
  • S – likes volume of content, frequency and consistency of content and message, full feature dumps, white papers
  • C – responds to FAQs, testimonials, case studies – proof, checklists

Also consider that nobody is strictly a high D or high I, we’re all made up of mixtures.

Create lots of marketing content, package it in different formats (including audio and video) and offer it up for all to consume, knowing that how it’s consumed will differ depending on the behavioral style of the prospect.