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Storytelling in Marketing: The Key to Connecting

By April 1, 2015May 13th, 2019

marketoonist.storytellingStorytelling is the most powerful tool marketers have learned to practice. Nobody “needs” a Mercedes-Benz, yet its jaw-dropping style (and price) continues to sell.

Mercedes-Benz sells luxury, Toyota sells durability, and Chevy sells patriotism. As important as specs are in choosing vehicles, we usually gravitate to those whose story fits our needs, and then adjust as needed. When was the last time you saw an advertisement that was actually about the product, and not its story?

Storytelling in marketing is very powerful, but what’s even more important is knowing how to use it.

At InboundPHX this past February, we had four great speakers on this very subject. However, if there was one who managed to grab my attention in particular and keep me in awe with his story, it was Ben Smith.

For a self-proclaimed introvert, Ben put on an incredible show. Speaking on childbirth, sex, and orgasms, Ben was able to keep the audience guessing and engaged throughout his entire presentation. Here are a few key takeaways from his presentation:

  • The process of a good story: A hook to bring your audience in; develop tension to create suspense and keep your audience guessing; share the emotions of your characters to create emotional connections; and always consider your end goal, and adjust your story to meet that end goal.
  • Stories are the best way to pass information: “If I tell you a bunch of facts, you might remember me. If I tell you a story, you will remember me. It’s scientifically proven. Studies have shown that if you showed something in a story, people four weeks later will remember all the key points you gave them, versus if you did it in more of a factual basis, most them remember less than one fact and often incorrect.”
  • The story arc: There are three main components to the story arc, the first of which is a struggle. There must be conflict to overcome. The second component is, the inner strength/heroism where we find the way to overcome the problem. Finally, there is triumph, where we can all cheer for a happy ending.
  • Passion delivers: People are great at giving you the passion points in a story, it creates a bond, one that releases chemicals like oxytocin. These chemicals bring happiness, joy, and excitement, successfully creating connection and retention in an audience’s mind.
  • Using stories you can persuade, collate, connect, and retain. “Employer retention is one of the silliest things that people don’t focus on. Having a good brand story, and having people believe in you, is a great way to keep people on your staff. You can change the way people react to your brand.”

I’ve watched his presentation over ten times myself already, and I continue to learn something new every time. Please enjoy a short video with the highlights of Ben’s presentation.


Cartoon courtesy of Marketoonist.

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Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.