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Seven Steps to the Perfect Story

Crafting compelling stories is an invaluable tool in sales and marketing. Stories uniquely captivate an audience, evoke emotions, and convey complex information in a relatable and memorable way. In sales, stories can transform a product or service from a commodity into a solution that addresses a customer’s needs and desires. In marketing, stories create connections, building brand loyalty and driving engagement.

Moreover, in the digital age of online technology, stories have become a potent means of cutting through the noise, grabbing the attention of potential customers, and guiding them on a journey toward conversion. Understanding the power of storytelling is not just a skill; it’s a strategic advantage for those looking to thrive in the competitive landscapes of sales and marketing.

Now that we’ve acknowledged the immense power of storytelling in sales and marketing – let’s delve deeper into the structured approach that can turn your narratives into compelling tools for success. These seven steps form the backbone of crafting stories that resonate with your audience and drive your sales and marketing endeavors.

By following this structured journey, you’ll gain insights into constructing narratives that captivate, engage, and ultimately achieve your objectives in the ever-evolving landscape of sales, marketing, and online technology.

  1. Grasping Your Story – The Foundation of Engagement: Understanding your story’s essence is foundational to creating an enthralling narrative. This involves unraveling the central problem or challenges your characters will encounter and introducing the ordinary life they lead before the story takes flight. Much like laying the cornerstone of a grand building, this step sets the stage for the adventure unfolding. By gaining a profound insight into your story’s core elements, you pave a clear path for your narrative, rendering it relatable and captivating for your audience.
  2. Picking Your Plot – Blueprinting Your Tale: Choosing the right plot archetype is akin to selecting the blueprint for your story. Whether it’s Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, The Quest, or one of the other classic plot types, each offers a distinct framework for your narrative. This choice provides the structural skeleton upon which your story will thrive. The plot sets the tone and direction for your narrative, guiding your characters through a purposeful and engaging journey, much like the architect’s design shapes a building’s form and function.
  3. Selecting Your Hero – The Protagonist’s Journey: Heroes come in diverse forms, from willing heroes like King Arthur to anti-heroes like Darth Vader. Choosing the right hero archetype determines the narrative’s tone and influences its underlying message. The hero is the audience’s guide through the story, and selecting the appropriate one enhances the connection between the audience and your narrative, much like casting the lead actor who embodies the story’s spirit.
  4. Crafting Your Characters – The Ensemble Cast: A well-rounded cast of characters is vital for a compelling narrative. These characters include mentors, heralds, threshold guardians, shapeshifters, tricksters, and more, each with a unique role in advancing the plot. Diverse and well-developed characters add depth and complexity to your story, making it more engaging and relatable, akin to the ensemble cast of a theater production, where each character plays a crucial part in bringing the story to life.
  5. Embracing the Rule of Threes – The Power of Triads: The rule of threes, a storytelling principle, suggests that things are more satisfying and memorable when presented in threes. It’s a useful guideline for structuring events or elements in your story, much like the rhythm of a well-composed piece of music. Utilizing this rule makes your story more engaging, memorable, and easier for the audience to follow.
  6. Choosing Your Media – The Art of Presentation: The choice of medium for storytelling is pivotal. Whether you’re using dance, print, theater, film, music, or the web, each medium possesses unique strengths and audience preferences. Selecting the right medium ensures your story is delivered to maximize its impact and reach, much like a painter choosing the right canvas and tools to bring their vision to life.
  7. Abiding by the Golden Rule – Engaging Imagination: Don’t give the audience 4, give them 2 plus 2. This golden rule reminds storytellers to engage the audience’s imagination by allowing them to connect the dots and draw their conclusions. It’s akin to leaving breadcrumbs for your audience to follow while encouraging them to actively participate in the story, resulting in a more immersive and memorable experience.

By understanding the core elements, choosing the right plot, heroes, and characters, embracing the rule of threes, and selecting the most fitting medium, you’re equipped with the tools to create narratives that leave a lasting impact on your audience.

Seven Steps Example: DK New Media

Now, let’s put these principles into practice by exploring a real-world example that showcases the transformative potential of storytelling in sales and marketing.

Step 1: Grasping Your Story – The Foundation of Engagement

Meet Sarah, the ambitious owner of a tech startup that had invested substantial money into cutting-edge sales and marketing technologies. Sarah was determined to make her business thrive in the digital age. However, despite her investment, she faced a frustrating challenge. The high salary and subsequent turnover rate for hiring a talented director was crippling her progress. The costs associated with this revolving door of talent were mounting, and the company’s growth remained stagnant.

Step 2: Picking Your Plot – Blueprinting Your Tale

Sarah’s journey closely resembled the Rags to Riches plot archetype. She started with a promising business idea but found herself in a challenging situation due to the constant turnover in the crucial sales and marketing role. This plot archetype set the stage for her transformation from struggle to success.

Step 3: Selecting Your Hero – The Protagonist’s Journey

In this narrative, the hero emerged as DK New Media. DK New Media offered a unique and innovative solution – fractional services. They became the guiding force in Sarah’s journey, promising to change the trajectory of her business.

Step 4: Crafting Your Characters – The Ensemble Cast

DK New Media brought a team of professionals with exceptional and dynamic experience. These individuals were the mentors, heralds, and threshold guardians in Sarah’s story, providing the necessary expertise and support to navigate her challenges.

Step 5: Embracing the Rule of Threes – The Power of Triads

DK New Media’s approach relied on the rule of threes. They offered a trifecta of services: integration, strategy, and execution, which allowed them to efficiently address Sarah’s needs, just like the three acts of a well-structured narrative.

Step 6: Choosing Your Media – The Art of Presentation

Sarah’s story was delivered digitally, much like her business. DK New Media leveraged online technology to connect and collaborate with her remotely, emphasizing the importance of selecting the right medium for effective storytelling.

Step 7: Abiding by the Golden Rule – Engaging Imagination

DK New Media’s fractional services embodied the golden rule, providing Sarah with one solution and an entire team. This approach engaged Sarah’s imagination, allowing her to see the potential for her business’s growth and transformation.

As Sarah embraced DK New Media’s services, the backlog was cleared, and innovative solutions were implemented. The team pulled in different resources as needed, seamlessly integrating them into Sarah’s existing structure. Most importantly, all of this was accomplished for a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time director.

DK New Media had not only resolved the challenges plaguing Sarah but also provided her with a path to success, turning her tech startup into a thriving business.

Feeling Like Sarah? Contact DK New Media

This story illustrates how storytelling and the right strategy can reshape the landscape of sales, marketing, and online technology, creating a compelling narrative of transformation and triumph. To illustrate the steps, here’s a great infographic.

Steps for a Perfect Story
Credit: Content Marketing Association (no longer active)

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is CMO of OpenINSIGHTS and the founder of the Martech Zone. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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