If it looks like marketing, acts like marketing, smells like marketing…it’s marketing! So, what’s a marketer to do?
This is the dilemma for all of us who are trying to tame the beast that is “content marketing.” How can we get people to engage with our brand, share our content, and maybe buy whatever the hell it is that we’re selling – without being salesy? This is counter-intuitive to a lot of traditional marketing best practices that I’ve learned. But wait a second…
I hate being sold to, yet I have an online shopping addiction. So how do brands convince us to buy? They tug at our heartstrings with videos of puppies. They captivate us with powerful moments captured by people just like us. They remind us that we can make an impact that is “Bigger Than Us.”
I love these brands because they appeal to me on an emotional level; I can relate to them, my beliefs align with theirs, and suddenly I care about all this amazing content they’re sharing with me. Simon Sinek’s TEDx Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, really helped solidify this idea that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. The key is showing your customers what you believe in so that they can decide if it aligns with their beliefs.
Everyone in marketing can do this! It’s called storytelling. And the good news is that humans have been successfully telling stories since… forever! Seriously, like thousands of years ago we were carving narratives into the walls of caves and sitting around a campfire sharing stories. Shane Snow wrote a great article about storytelling as the top business skill of the next 5 years, in which he said, “now more than ever, businesses, workers, and leaders have opportunities to stand out, spread messages, and make change through storytelling”.
So in reality, how lucky are us marketers?! Instead of having to go old school and sell a product, we have the freedom to craft these really beautiful, funny, and honest stories that reflect our brands.
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