4 Ingredients of a Killer Marketing Story

Pawel Grabowski
by Pawel Grabowski | Last Updated Feb. 5th, 2014 0 COMMENTS

OK, I get it. Your industry is boring.

Your products are dull, people are unmotivated, customers don’t interact with brands and there is hardly any innovation going on. Everyone’s bored.

That’s the realm you have to promote your company in, and do it with words.

But how many times can you write lists of features or product descriptions? And, make them interesting enough for customers to choose your products over the others?

It’s impossible.

Or is it?

Sometimes we, writers forget about the most natural way of connecting with others – through storytelling.

And no matter what you might think, you are a storyteller too. You use stories all the time. You tell a story whenever you try to convince someone about something. Every time you need to justify yourself, you do it with a story too. Or when you pick up the phone, there is usually a story told then as well.

Stories are at the very base of human communication. They resonate with us, captivate our imagination, give us hope, push us to take action.

They are what we remember.

No product description or a list of features can ever achieve that. Tell your customers a good story though and they will recall it for years.

But that’s exactly my problem, you say. I write about soldering rods (or electronic cigarettes, or anything else at that), there’s hardly any story there!

Well, you would be surprised. You can construct a story out of anything. There are only few things you need for that.

You Need Your Customer

Every story has a protagonist. But in spite of how much you might want to write about yourself or your company (that’s quite a common mistake in fact) the truth is, no customer is interested in that.

Customers are interested in stories about themselves. They want to read about their transformation.  They want to find out how they overcame a problem and came out victorious on the other side. Or at least get a glimpse of a promise of how it’s going to be if that happens (and that sometimes makes for even a better story).

But in order to include your customers, you need to know everything about them. You need to know their problems, needs and wants, pain points, desires, what makes them lose sleep at night and what makes them get up in the morning. It is only then you are able to write a story that truly resonates with them.

A protagonist is not enough to make your story stick though.

You Also Need a Problem

There is also no story without a problem that your protagonist, the customer has. It usually is something they have a strong emotional connection with. Luckily, that part is quite easy to figure out.

Their problem is the reason they sought out your product in the first place. By including that problem in the story you will make it relevant to them.

Are your customers trying to quit smoking? Make that the premise of the story. Do they want to change careers? Let your story be about their journey towards that.

Thanks to a problem, your customers will be able to identify themselves with the protagonist and your story will resonate with them.

Next, You Need an Obstacle

Face it, if the problem was easy to overcome, it wouldn’t really be a problem, right? The reason why your customer came to you in the first place is because he or she can’t solve it on their own. There is an obstacle in front of them and they need help with overcoming it.

These obstacles are either psychological or emotional, like fear of consequences of actions, for instance. A potential roadblock to quitting smoking might be social acceptance. Everyone knows the benefits of quitting smoking. But, regardless of how much your customer cares about her health, if all her friends smoke, she might find herself cast out from the pack if she quits.

Luckily, you are the one who might provide a solution for that.

And, You Also Need a Solution

And, that is nothing else but your product. What you sell is an integrated part of the story. It’s what helps the protagonist overcome the obstacle and achieve their goal, solving a problem they originally had.

If your protagonist is afraid of not being accepted among her friends anymore once she quits smoking and you happen to you sell electronic cigarettes – you hold the key to our protagonists problem – a cigarette that won’t damage her health but will still allow her to be accepted amongst the circle of smokers.

That’s a great material for a story, one that will deeply resonate with her, building a strong connection between her and your brand.


Lists of features or product descriptions provide information but hardly anything else. It’s stories that sell.

You can construct a good story out of everything. It doesn’t matter what your product is for as long as there is a protagonist, a problem he or she has, an obstacle on their way to overcome it and your solution, you have your story.

That story is what makes you unique in the marketplace. It is what makes customers believe you, trust you and eventually buy from you. It is your gateway to success.

So, what’s your story?