Mark is truly passionate about marketing -- look at the root word, mark is in it, as in making a mark. A self-defined educator on the importance and power of developing a solid presence in new media, Mark's style is very collaborative. He even came up with a logo for this series of exchanges between bloggers. Feel free to borrow it for your conversations (with attribution to him, of course).
Mark Goren: Earlier this week, you emailed me a list of questions. One of them was: Why is storytelling so compelling in marketing? Since you're known as Conversation Agent, why not give me your take on this question and we'll take things from there.
Eagerly anticipating our first exchange!
Valeria Maltoni: How about: Storytelling is the backbone of our ability to remember and transmit information by compressing it into manageable chunks. We are able to edit the information we receive to suit our needs. We edit to make it simple and concrete. As we do that, we tend to recall and include the pieces of information that match our worldview and, by doing so, we rewrite some of what we hear to suit our thinking.
That's why marketing would be a nonstarter without storytelling.
Mark Goren: Exactly. Storytelling –- and having a good brand story –- is about helping people relate to a brand as it pertains to them. Like you say, "edit the information we receive to suit our needs." I like that notion because it recognizes how important it is to allow people to connect to a story in their own way. A story is not preachy, it's not top-down and corporate – it allows for interpretation and it can evolve. If there's one area where marketers can do better, it's in recognizing that their efforts can evolve organically – and that not everything has to go according to a set-in-stone plan. Your take?
Valeria Maltoni: I think the best stories are those that inspire action. Remember when you were a child and saw a movie, then spent the rest of the day continuing the story in your environment and head? That to me is what organic means. The original pre-packaged story is only the start of a conversation with the people who join in. The confusion begins when the company thinks they need to control every aspect of how its products and services are viewed in the market from the get go. Trust is built over time. As we talk about evolution and trust, I'm reminded that these are fluid concepts closer to our hearts than our minds. Is it a little bit of both? How do you fit measurement in the equation?
Mark Goren: Funny you should bring up the movie example, Valeria. I watched Rocky Balboa twice this weekend (a nice Philadelphia reference for you) and can't get some of the scenes out of my head. The music, the images, the story. So your analogy is perfectly timed, very true –- and we're back to storytelling.
So how do we fit measurement into the equation? Interesting that you write, "trust is built over time" and then ask about measurement. If trust is built over time –- and it is -– then measuring the effectiveness of any marketing effort has to respect the time factor. In other words, you can't put up a blog (for example) and ditch it after two months if it's not achieving "stated objectives". The onus is on the marketer to make the blog relevant to the target –- and finding the right combination may take time.
What are your thoughts on measurement? And what about on tweaking vs. scrapping and starting again?
To be continued... Join the conversation with Mark in the comments. What are your thoughts on measurement and marketing as storytelling?