A variety of people advertise their storytelling ‘expertise’ heavily on social media. Figuring out who to trust is difficult, especially when there’s a hefty price tag to attend their workshops and events. In episode 499, Dave Mastovich uses science and reasoning to break down how to craft memorable stories you can use in your marketing.
It’s the No Bullshit Marketing Show. I’m Dave Mastovich, CEO and founder of MASSolutions, the world’s only No Bullshit Marketing consultants. This episode is going to help you tell memorable marketing stories to change behaviors and mindsets of the target markets that you have to reach, connect, engage and influence.
Have you ever had a salesperson begin their pitch to you, or tried to sell you, and you could tell they weren’t prepared? The answer is yes. We’ve all been there. Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to be able to coach sales teams, sales executives, sales teams. And I would often say, ‘How much time do you dedicate to pre-call prep? How intentional are you about five to 10 minutes of pre-call prep?’ The answer is always, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I do.’ And then when we would have the chance to go on a call with them, or mystery shopped, or anything of that nature, you’d find very quickly that they hadn’t been intentional about five to 10 minutes of pre-call prep. Well, today, I want to talk to you about, not only a sales story, but marketing stories and making them more memorable, and how to do that with as little as five to 10 minutes of prep. And I’m going to tie it to the cognitive science. Why am I going to do that? I have this little button. And this button is the, ‘That’s bullshit.’ It’s the button that we use to call out ourselves sometimes, but to call out things that we see that are bullshit. And what has happened today is the phrase storytelling has become ubiquitous and has become a bit of a cliche now. And it’s almost bullshit because everyone out there is telling you that they’re a storytelling expert. I know some storytelling experts. I know people in this industry that are fantastic. They’ve built companies and practices and they’ve done it at the highest level. I know what I’ve had the experience to go through and the expertise that it’s brought me. And I can tell you that most of the people that you’re seeing talking about storytelling, when they do a Instagram post or a LinkedIn post or a YouTube video, or they’re selling a course for $99.99, or $349 and they’re going to make you a storyteller, I think many of those would get that bullshit button hit because they haven’t worked through the cognitive science and combined the cognitive science to drive that creative art. When you have that combination, it is unstoppable and it is amazing the fulfillment that you will have because you will have helped your target audience and yourself, and you really need to do both. This isn’t just about helping the client, this is about you helping that client to get better, so they get more clients and more customers, and helping you to grow your business and grow your personal self, have personal and professional growth. When you have the behavioral science, the cognitive science drives the creative art, that’s when you’re able to create magic. And all these people who are telling you they’re gonna help you create magic don’t understand both of those. They don’t really understand the behavioral and cognitive science. And they don’t really have that skill set that’s the creative art that’s amazing and magical.
The process to use in five to 10 minutes prior to any storytelling opportunity that you have – time out – what do I mean by storytelling opportunity? You have a weekly meeting with your team? Storytelling opportunity. You get the chance to present to a group internally, internally? Storytelling opportunity. You’re talking externally to someone at a networking event. Storytelling opportunity. You’re on a sales call. Storytelling opportunity. You’re meeting with your boss. Storytelling opportunity. You’re sending out an email to a group of six to 10 people. Storytelling opportunity. You’re updating something for your boss to talk to the board of directors about in an email that you’re sending your boss. Storytelling opportunity. You’re building a deck. Storytelling opportunity. You get the chance to write for the company blog. Storytelling opportunity. Cross-departmental team meeting. Storytelling opportunity.
First, most people don’t look at each of those as a storytelling opportunity, they just go and do it. I’m not trying to slow you down, anybody that knows me, I’m not the most patient person. So I’m not trying to slow you down. But what I want you to do is spend five minutes on pre-story prep. And those five minutes start with actually being intentional about defining the goal of that story in that instance. ‘Oh, I’m going to present to my team, we’re going to go around the room. And everybody that reports to the boss has to give an update. I’m going to see that as a storytelling opportunity. And my goal is to help everyone around the room understand what’s been happening on my team, and how it benefits the company and them. I’ve been intentional about my goal.’
The second step is you then are intentional about the target audience, and you say the target audience is the people in the room. And the people that are in the room are six or seven people, they’re all executives. And I know the mindsets of most of them, I know kind of how they focus on their area and what their thoughts are, so I now understand the target better. You can apply it to a group of 20, a group of 50, a group of one, but have an intentional goal of your story and a target audience of your story. That’s part of the cognitive science is you go through understanding what the goal is, writing it down, understanding what the target audience is, then you start digging into how our mind works. The cognitive science says that what we begin to do is we begin to process stories in almost every interaction. And we do just that. We understand what the goal is and who the target group or target audience is of this story. But then we go to the next step, the science says that we begin to want to understand people, we’re driven to understand people. So we want to understand these people that are involved in this story. Who was that main person? What is their goal and their target audience? What struggles does this main person in the story have? What barriers have they overcome? But because we want to understand people, we know that no one does it alone. We know that regardless of people in stories saying that there was a hero, we always know there were others who helped. So who helped and how? It helps you to tell your story. Touch on who helped and how to get you to this point. What were the lessons learned? The cognitive science says our mind wants to do this. They want to understand who we are, what is our goal? Who is the target audience? What struggles and barriers did we overcome, the person who is the focal point of the story? Who helped them overcome that and how, and what were the lessons that were learned? That’s what the cognitive science says we do. So why not build your story that way? Why not have an inventory of stories, a cadre of stories, a toolbox of stories that you’ve already built that tell the st
ories about each of your target audiences, how your company, and you personally, can help that target audience? So when you build that story that way, and you do the pre-story prep, what’s the goal of this story? So what’s the goal of this story and this storytelling opportunity, this meeting, this blog, this conversation? Who’s the target audience? What do they look like? What’s the makeup of that target audience? And as I dig into the story, what was the struggle? What barriers were overcome?
So what are examples of that? Well, when we were trying to build the new way of doing the comprehensive marketing plan at MASSolutions, we had a struggle because not everybody understands strategic and tactical marketing combined. Our target audiences often don’t get that. They also aren’t used to paying for the strategic part and they get uncomfortable with that and they haven’t thought of a comprehensive
marketing plan that is targeted at current and future clients or customers, current and future employees, current and future referral sources. So we as a team had to come up with a way to tell that story. And our team included 6, 8, 10 MASSolutions team members working together, and I can name them by name: Mike Gatti, Brett, Bonita, Mike Mas, Tina, so forth down the road. And we had to go overcome this barrier of the customer not understanding a comprehensive marketing plan and not understanding what we meant by top and bottom line stories. And this whole team of people worked together to fight through this struggle to overcome those barriers. And the lessons we learned was, we were the cobbler’s son with no shoes. We weren’t as great at telling our story as we were at telling our customers’ stories to their customers. So we had to get better at that, we had to be intentional about it, we had to practice what we preach. One cliche is we had to eat our own dog food. And so that’s what happened at MASSolutions. That was just an example for you right there. Because a lot of times people say, ‘What do you mean by the struggle? What do you mean by the barriers overcome? What do you mean by the lessons learned?’ And I say, ‘Those are the things that cognitive science says our minds are already processing. So why not give it to the mind on a silver platter so your target audience can remember your story that much more? Your marketing story would be that much more memorable.’
So that was my example at MASS for you to
apply, so that you are intentional in your pre-story prep, so that your marketing storytelling can be more memorable, more sticky, with your target audiences. Have an intentional goal, define that target audience and understand them and make it about them. Talk about the struggle and barriers overcome to get to this point, so that you can offer this to them. Talk about the struggles and barriers that they’ll overcome by using your product or service. Talk about the lessons learned that got you to this point, and how working with other clients has made your company that much stronger for this client today to benefit from it. And when you do all of that, you then come back with your closing big idea that pulls it all together. And you know, I often joke about Hemingway’s six word story where he won the bet with a bunch of writers of his time, threw money in a pot when they were out for lunch or a happy hour and said, ‘Who can write the strongest, shortest, clearest story and make the most impact?’ And he said, ‘Baby shoes, never worn. For sale’. So that became Hemingway’s six word story, ‘Baby shoes, never worn. For sale.’ I might have even done it backwards. ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’ Doesn’t matter. It was the six words that Hemingway used to make the point. That’s what you’re ultimately going to do after you go through this cognitive science of being intentional with your pre-marketing storytelling, have that clear cut goal, define that target audience, make it about them. Talk about the struggle, the barriers overcome, who helped and how, the lessons learned. Now you’re doing all this conversation with somebody and you want to close it out with that takeaway that most salespeople have, that big takeaway. Most companies have that big takeaway. You need to have that for your team or for internal communication. You need to have that for
your recruiting. You need to have that for your productivity, your results. So your B2E, business-to-employee storytelling, any storytelling opportunity has to go through these steps, and end with that closing, memorable big idea.
That’s how you can get through this time when all these people are telling you about storytelling and how they can help you with it. And they might not have the cognitive science driving the creative art, they might not have the expertise, they might not have the experience that we’re bringing to you today in this podcast, on this episode, to help you be able to make your marketing stories more memorable, to help you improve your top and bottom line, to help you communicate to current and future customers, current and future employees, current and future referral sources. It all ties together. It’s all about intentionality. It’s all about the cognitive science driving the creative art.
Thanks for listening to another episode of the No Bullshit Marketing Show recorded here in MASSolutions studio in bold, beautiful, downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Remember, ask yourself, what’s the big idea? And build your story around the answer. It’s all about bold solutions. No BS.