There are many ways to tell a story, but since companies find it so difficult, a good idea is to keep it simple and avoid overly complicated structures.

  1. The hero wants to achieve an ideal state.
  2. A challenge is holding them back.
  3. Your solution will clear the way and prepare them for the future.

Few pitfalls to consider.

  • The hero is never your product.
  • The more concrete and specific you can be with the challenge, the more it will resonate with the hero exactly at the right time.
  • The solution needs to be translated in the language of the hero, and it is never a list of features and spec.
  • You are gonna need different stories for different heroes (i.e. personas).

It’s not perfect, but if you are not already touching on these three points, in that order, in any conversation you are having with a prospect, this is a good way to wrap your mind around storytelling.

Good and bad

The reason why I find this and this (and this) worth of my attention (and money), while I find this, this, and this (and this too) trite and unattractive, is not that the former are good and the latter are bad.

It’s that the former target a specific audience to which I apparently belong.

I don’t believe in good and bad marketing, but I do believe in effective and non-effective marketing. Know who you are selling to, know what you are selling, and make the match.

All the rest is non-effective.


Perhaps thinking that 88% of digital ad clicks are fraudulent is an exaggeration. And perhaps it is true that digital ads are so cheap that at the end of the day ad fraud is not a big issue.

But at some point, as marketers, we will have to acknowledge the big hallucination we are living through.

Influencers can buy fake followers by the truckload — roughly 20% of them are fake. Approximately 40% of Donald Trump’s followers are likely bots. Social media platforms are rife with cats and bots: Facebook admits to shutting down billions of fake accounts on its platform every year. Even app store installs are fake. Bots/click-farmers download 1 in 5 iOS apps. On the Android platform it’s 1 in 4.

Scott Galloway, here

Might this be one of the reasons why CMO tenure is at the lowest in more than a decade?

And when is the last time you have had a digital ad ignite your buying process?

Crisis #2

There are moments of crisis in every group, in every team, in every company.

And if you lead, you ought to try and turn the crisis into an opportunity to strengthen the bonds.

Confirm with your people what the purpose is. The vision, the long-term game, the utopia you are heading towards despite the temporary setback.

And then agree on what the tactics are, what you are going to do today that’s going to take you all closer to the purpose.

The two parts go hand in hand, and that’s where most leaders fail. They either move from one tactic to the next, in the hope to find a purpose. Or they use tactics that are taking them away from the purpose, with the excuse of trying to address the crisis (“we will do what is right once the crisis is over” is not a very effective narrative).

When purpose and tactics are aligned, here are three important questions to answer to keep everyone informed and cared for as you get to it.

No customer

Beyond the headline below, there is a committee.

There is marketing with an idea. There is sales with a preferred way to tell about the product. There is the executive team with their years of tenure and the history of the organisation. There is product with a use case, and product marketing with the results of market research.

And of course, there is no customer.