The Power of a Business Story: Details

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I was at a conference last week. Saw a great presentation.

It taught me again the value of a good story, and what it takes to tell one.

Details -- (small ones).

Lets face it, every presentation has logic that ends where the speaker wants to go. They have visuals, and often (but not always) are delivered with enthusiasm. So why did this presentation by Marcus Sheridan at Content Marketing World have such a profound effect on me? There were lots of good presentations in two days. Why did I remember this one? Why I am I so passionate to follow up on its message?

It wasn't just the story. It was the details. Pool guy in Northern Virginia starts blogging. Struggles, then succeeds -- that is the basic story and only slightly interesting.
What made it stand out were the details. Real, funny, counterintuitive, you-can't-make-it-up details:

- Marcus writes a Top 10 list of providers and does not list himself. Now he ranks in search engines higher than his competitors ... for their own names!
- Marcus becomes so well known that wealthy homeowners in Caribbean invite him down to oversee their pool installations. He has never installed a pool!
- Metrics show Mr. So-and-so visited his site over 300 times before he engaged. And now Marcus knows how many visit it takes to turn a shopper into a buyer.
- The best story was not even a story -- but an analogy with great details. It was about --Big Macs and special sauce. Guess what -- it's not that special. It's Thousand island dressing, and McDonalds will show you how to make it. The point -- there are no secrets. Tell everyone everything!

As I drove home it occurred to me that this presentation and story taught me an important lesson about stories. In business marketing -- where every claim is doubted and likely ignored. What drives home a claim, value proposition or cements a relationship is never stat or chart or product feature. Its a story. With details that are too weird or unusual to make up.

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