Former Director at Facebook Says Storytelling is the Best Marketing

What do you predict will be the biggest change in marketing in the next 3 years? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Jonathan Ehrlich, Partner at Foundation Capital, former Director of Marketing at Facebook, on Quora.

I see two continued massive changes in marketing. These aren't new but their impact will be felt much more dramatically over the next few years.

1. The continued transition from "Mad Men" to"Math Men." (It should be "Math People" - I know, I know - but alliteration is catchy!)

Marketers are increasingly called on to think like engineers ("Math Men") and less like artists ("Mad Men"). Data-driven marketers are taking control. They now have rich data sets, the tools to extract insights, and the platforms and channels to act on that information.This is about much more than insights from qualitative or quantitative research, it's about a rigorous discipline around data science, performance marketing, and driving all of the marketing activities.

2. It's obvious to anyone who's been paying attention that influencer marketing is quickly becoming the most important marketing channel.

At its foundation, marketing is about storytelling. The best marketers are the best storytellers. For 75 years, the "playbook" for marketers trying to tell their stories was all about mass media. Get your story told on "60Minutes," or in the NY Times, or Wall Street Journal. Then sit back and watch the effect. These mainstream media outlets were the authoritative voices that gave stories their reach and credibility.

Fast forward to today, we all know that social channels are the most vital medium through which stories are being told. Corporations and celebrities, lobbyists and activists, even the White House are strategically coopting key authentic voices to get their message out, to shape the narrative in their favor, to win hearts and minds.

And the challenge for marketers is to break through the noise - to systemize and manage these channels to have maximum impact. Whom should I build a relationship with? Who can best represent my narrative with reach and influence? I think brands and marketers are still in the first inning in answering these questions, but over the next few years they'll become master practitioners and the impact will be enormous.

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