The Story That Sells Itself


When your message is memorable, it's worth speaking about to others. So let others help you sell it for you. The idea that marketing your company might be, at root, no different than marketing pasta or detergent or auto insurance might strike you as heresy. Yet the questions a marketer needs to ask in each case are the same: In an increasingly fragmented information landscape, how can you cut through the ceaseless clutter and get a potential customer to pay attention? A crucial corollary, though, often gets neglected: Once you've got consumers' attention, how do you get them to act? Here are some things to keep in mind:

1. PROLIX, JARGON-LADEN VERBOSITY ONLY EXACERBATES INCOMPREHENSION. Your customers might not always understand the intricacies of everything your company offers. But neither do hundreds of millions of people worldwide intuitively understand the mobile-computing technology they line up in droves to buy. Persuading fickle (and information-bombarded) people of the merits of your product is a difficult task; familiarizing them with it in the first place might be even more so. How to do it?

2. MAKE 'EM RECEIVE IT, RETAIN IT AND REPEAT IT. Want to capture potential customers' attention? That's (relatively) easily done. Want them to retain what they've heard? A taller order, but one businesses of all kinds must master. Yet the most substantial challenge when marketing your company is to enable your audience to repeat your message. (Also, to enable your audience to repeat your message.) That's the biggest trick of all -- but once you've pulled it off, you'll have a bevy of customers who are unwittingly your own most dedicated, ground-level marketers. Typically, a great deal of time, money and effort go into making that happen. Once it does, it's a priceless commodity.

3. FROM TELLING TALES TO BOOKING BUSINESS. That's why it's vital, as noted above, that you "tell it" in order to "sell it." All such aspects of your marketing -- detailed information, certainly, but also informational graphics, beautiful images (used both literally and metaphorically) and clean, elegant design will help you relay the tale in a way both visually alluring and much more captivating for your audience. "Tell it to sell it" in this diverse manner, and your story will stick -- and your target market will receive it, retain it and be able to repeat it. Then they'll take that next critical step: from prospect to valued customer.

Janet Odgis is the President and Creative Director of Odgis + Co, an award-winning certified woman-owned design firm based in New York City. For 30 years she has worked with some of the world's most prestigious corporations reinventing ways to define and express their brands.