Storytelling: It has been with us since the beginning.
It would make sense to think that stories in the beginning were all about survival. Lessons that needed to be passed down from generation to generation. Sitting around campfires teaching our brothers and sisters which berries to eat, which to avoid, what to do when confronted by a tiger, or how to build shelters.
People needed to trust the stories they were told by their closest friends and family members (their tribes) in order to survive. Their very lives depended on it.
Perhaps that’s why word of mouth or recommendations from friends and family members is still one of the most trusted forms of advertising. In a Nielson study, 92% of consumers trusted word of mouth over all other forms of advertising.[i]
Stories are the glue that binds civilizations together. And over the hundreds of thousands of years since the first campfires, the ways in which we’ve told stories have changed based on the preferred communication methods of the day.
Here’s a quick snapshot of how stories have been told through the years:
- More than 300,000 years ago, humans sat around campfires.
- About 40,800 years ago, oldest known cave paintings.
- About 4000 BC, oldest known writings.
- About 472 BC, “The Persians,” oldest surviving Greek play.
- 1454 AD, “Gutenburg Bible,” first mechanically printed book.
- 1905, the first movie theater known as the Nickelodean opens in Pittsburgh.
- 1990s, the Internet as we know it today takes shape.
- 2000s, the rise of social media and smartphones.
- Today, automated campaigns and full digital marketing platforms.
From campfires to glowing screens, humankind has always been in search of the next big story to tell using the best technology of the day. And this is the tie in for digital marketing. Marketing is simply another form of storytelling.
This is why digital marketing is not as intimidating as many are led to believe. When you take the position that the best marketing methods are all about storytelling, then the channels you use to communicate that story become less important.
When done right, digital marketing is simply digital storytelling. Digital storytelling spreads. It’s approachable. It’s magnetic. It’s powerful. Best of all, digital storytelling is easy.
Here’s the catch: No one will be able to tell your story if they don’t know what it is or if you aren’t using the communication channels your audience is using. You don’t make cave paintings if you are trying to sell annuities.
The preferred communication channels of the past are not the same as the preferred channels of today. Similarly, the preferred channels of today won’t be the same as the preferred channels of tomorrow.
The one thing I can be certain will remain constant is the art of storytelling.
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We will be revealing some of the best practices for digital marketing at the Elevate Forum in February 2019. Space will be limited and we are expecting to reach full capacity, so visit our Elevate Forum page to reserve your place today!
This blog is Part 1 of the Storytelling in Internetland series. CLICK HERE to learn why advisors need to include digital marketing in their strategy.