In the context of digital business marketing it’s never been easier to get your message out their to potential customers, but are they listening? It depends upon whose story you are telling, yours or theirs. If it’s yours then chances are you’re talking to yourself.

As a scholar of storytelling techniques I’m intrigued by the growing variety of storytelling approaches that marketeers are applying to simply get their stories heard in the cacophony of digital noise, never mind being cared about enough to actually seal the deal on a purchase of the seller’s product or service. Whilst intrigued I’m getting just a little bit fatigued, frustrated if not downright bored with listening to the same old ‘rags to riches’ stories appearing one after another in my social media feeds. Of how I too can fast track my journey to similar success by simply following the 7 step business model, revealed for only a few dollars subscription. Even the gullible and desperate are switching off to this type of marketing storytelling, but why?

What’s happening? Has the new wave trend of storytelling run its course? I don’t think so, after all storytelling has been around for as long as we have, it’s a human condition and is still considered to be the best form of communication and learning. Is the target audience becoming too savvy to the hidden sales agenda of the story format? Maybe, but I feel the problem is more fundamental, it’s simply who the story is about. Whilst some marketeers have become obsessed with the Hollywood Hero’s Journey Story of overcoming adversity as they transition from underdog to hero, casting the business owner as the hero, they are missing the point. They should be casting their customer as the hero, listening to the customer’s challenges and telling their stories, giving them a voice, creating a collaborate business and customer narrative that is much more interesting and believable.

Taking a lesson from coaching, it’s the client’s story that’s important not the coach’s. The coach must bite their lip, listen to and fully understand the client’s story if rapport is to be established and a meaningful relationship developed.

I look forward to seeing and hearing more customer stories in my social media feeds in the future. Include me in the story and I’ll listen, promise!

Cover design incorporating photo by Daniel Páscoa on Unsplash