I have been listening to a fascinating audio book entitled “All marketers are liars” by Seth Godin. In his book, Seth talks about a new concept in marketing: Developing stories to market to groups of people with different “world views”. This is fantastic stuff. I am so tired of “in your face” marketing techniques that bombard me with overhyped spam. Seth’s book is a revelation. Market to people by telling them a convincing story.
Stories are powerful tools. People love to hear stories. If you throw a bunch of facts and figures at me I’m going to tune you out. But if you tell me a compelling story, I’m all ears. I’ve learned this first hand in Toastmasters. Attend any speech contest that Toastmasters puts on and the winner of the contest will be the one with the best story. It’s simple and it’s true. International speech contest winner Craig Valentine puts it this way… Tell a story… Make a point.
So how do we develop a story to reach a target group? We need to listen. What are people talking about? What are people interested in? What is the “Buzz”? Hang out for any length of time in your local Starbucks and you’ll pick up on the Buzz. Is it the latest Idol or Bachelor or maybe the latest edition of Survivor? Could it be a politician or maybe the latest video game? People are always talking. We just need to hear what they are saying. I was in a Starbucks the other night and the topic of conversation that caught my ears was about Paris Hilton. The question was asked… what do you think about the Carl’s Junior ad featuring Paris Hilton? The responses went from brilliant to risky to downright sleazy. I would say if people are talking about it is was a pretty good marketing move for Carl’s.
We can also listen to people online. What are people talking about in the popular blogs and forums? I did a little search today of my favorite blogs and here is what I found.
Steve Pavlina is talking about Self Discipline
Slacker Manager is referencing Micromanagement
Rosa Say over at Talking Story is talking about Responsibility
Genuine Curiosity has a compelling article on Spheres of Influence
Bert over at Open Loops is raving about ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”
Author Seth Godin is referencing a program about Lying and Winking
When you just glance at the list above which would be the most compelling? Even though I like serious subjects like responsibility and self discipline, I would be clicking on the link about lying and winking first and the link about dancing second. I think my choice makes a point… a story needs to be interesting and compelling. Facts and figures, while important, just don’t sell well.
I think this whole subject today could be called “Listening Marketing”, developing a compelling story to share with your target audience.
Hmmm… I wonder who was lying and who was winking…??