Story Telling and an Ickle Bit of Jargon - Once Upon a… | ...Gasp!

Story Telling and an Ickle Bit of Jargon

Once Upon a Digital Marketing Show

Gemma and I were unleashed from Gasp HQ to attend the Digital Marketing Show last week. I went there with an inquisitive mind, eager to soak up as much as possible. We agreed early on that Gemma would do most of the talking, what with memories of me lambasting Alan Titchmarsh at our Chelsea Flower Show jaunt still causing her grief.

And this decision immediately reaped dividends, for the moment we crossed the threshold we were gently accosted by a chap who was softly peddling his SEO digital wares. As I was poised to start idle chat on Sandwich Etiquette and Ornamentation, Gemma quickly whispered to me that SEO actually stood for Search Engine Optimisation.

Having been saved from an embarrassing faux pas, we went and stood at the back of the Search, Social and Mobile theatre, as there was not a seat to be had, but unfortunately the sound was poor, so we quickly gravitated towards another talk.

Not a great start, but things quickly improved as Ollie Jones from Yieldify gave a very lucid, confident talk. He had the swagger and look of an X Factor contestant who gets to the judge’s house but not quite the live show. I half expected him to start MCing into his mic, but disappointingly he never did. I thought I spied him later with a white towel round his shoulders, carrying a bottle of water with two Marketing groupies in tow.

I learnt the concept of “basket abandonment,” from his talk, which wasn’t about abruptly leaving a picnic if the sandwiches are a bit shit (bad etiquette, never do that), but rather how bad online journeys lead to unfulfilled purchases. The salient crux of Ollie’s talk was the creating of a personalised connection in the user’s journey to convert visitors into customers. Use customer data and emerging technologies across multi-channels to achieve this, whilst remaining agile enough for any further market changes that will no doubt come.

With an overly expensive cappuccino and tea in our hands, we managed to get a seat for a talk by Niamh Norton of AdRoll, the global leader in retargeting. Again, a high quality, confident talk, with a particular nugget of info being that over 80% of people will start a purchase journey on one device, but complete it on another, thus making multi-screen targeting vital. It was also here that I heard reference to the Sales/Marketing ‘Funnel’ for the first time in my life (as an aside, AdRoll’s flyer mentions they have ‘vertical account managers,’ which is refreshing, as a ‘horizontal account manager’ sounds like a Jackie Collins novel).

Next up, all that stood between us and an over-priced panini for lunch was Alexandre Vandermeersch of Odoo, a company who produce high quality CRM (Croissant Relationship Management) apps for businesses, amongst their comprehensive suite. I really enjoyed Alexandre’s talk. He was good humoured, articulate and self-effacing, and offered the interesting opinion that the notion of a Marketing ‘Funnel,’ is no longer relevant, seeing it as too linear, what with the diverse array of touch points now in existence.

The final talk we listened to was my favourite, by Matthew Walko from Omobono, entitled: Tell Me a Story – The Art and Psychology of Narrative Storytelling in B2B. You can flick through it yourselves here

It was a thorough exploration on story-telling, with no jargon, although there was mention of that funnel again! Maybe soon there will be the 'Sieve of Content,' which makes sure no crap content ever gets out. Matthew spoke of the importance of building a content reputation and put up, amongst others, this excellent example of good story telling content from Adobe.

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One lovely idea I took from this talk was making the customer a central character in some rich content, as Sungard did recently to award-winning effect.

Even though people want to devour quick-fix content now, don’t be afraid to invest in substantial story-telling. Microsoft did a great 3500 word website content piece recently about their innovation lab.

But a lot of story-telling content will thrive on being concise quality, so this brought to my mind a great 6-word short story by Earnest Hemmingway:

For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.

So why does this work? Simply:

• Concise.
• Immediate scene set.
• Emotional empathy.
• Ambiguity: open ended, so the reader’s own imagination wanders down their own personal path to it’s own conclusions.

If you can replicate that in your content, you will be on to a winner.

I see Dave Trott as the Hemmingway of Advertising/Marketing blogs. Truth is, as you can see, I write a bit too much, I struggle to pare back. Next week I have challenged myself to write a blog in the style of Hemmingway/Trott. 400 word limit. Bosh. I may learn the true merits of ‘concise’ and never write the same again.

Or, more likely, in two weeks time I will write a 1500 word diatribe on the P2P (Person 2 Person) acronym I saw used recently. “We are entering the ‘Person to Person’ era,” apparently. Like WTF. That’s just the Human Race or Civilisation. It’s been around a while.

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