Leonid_Pasternak_001

“What’s a synonym for ‘prithee’?”

Last week, I wrote a bit about storytelling in advertising, and there’s a loop I feel as if I left open that I’d like to close.

We’re lousy with writers at Well Done Marketing. We’re the most writer-centric ad agency I know. You can’t swing a dead mouse in our office without hitting a writer.

There are at least three reasons for this.

The first is that I’m a writer, and I see the world through a writer’s eyes. I’m biased. All things being equal, It’s how you might expect us to build our company.

The second is that there is a legitimate and ever-growing need in the world for good business writing. It’s always been evident that writing is important to TV and radio and print advertising. Today, more and more marketers are waking up to the fact that, when it comes to customers finding you on the Internet, good writing–not stupid SEO tricks–wins the day. More smart marketers are understanding the value of incorporating copywriting into the list of services they can and should hire professionals to handle for them.

Because the third reason is even more important: Marketing really does involve storytelling. And writers, in my experience, are the people who know how to get to the heart of a story.

Marketing is fundamentally about change. You have a product or service you want your prospects to buy, or a mind you want to change, or an idea you want to foster. You want your viewer or your listener or your reader–your experiencer–to change something or remember something when it’s time for action: buy your deodorant, vote for your candidate, give money to your organization, think of you when it’s time to buy a car/add a CNC lathe to your shop/get your wife a birthday present.

Now, remember that “story” is also about change. If nothing changes, it’s not a story.

The changes marketers want to effect can all be understood in terms of story. For example: I sweat under my arms, and it creates an odor that others apparently find offensive. It sure would be great if I had something to take away that odor. Hey! There’s this stuff called Brand X deodorant available at retailers everywhere! Now, thanks to Brand X, I don’t stink! (And, by extension, you won’t stink if you use Brand X–so buy some next time you’re at Walgreen’s.) 

That’s a story, with a beginning, a middle, and a happy ending.

Go ahead. Swing a dead mouse.

Go ahead. Swing a dead mouse.

You know who’s good at stories? Writers.

If you’re still with me, it comes down to as simple a syllogism as you ever learned in Introduction to Logic:

  • Effective marketing involves good storytelling;
  • Good storytelling is fundamental to most writers’ craft; ergo
  • Most writers are potentially effective marketers.

Among these effective marketers are the writers we’ve hired at Well Done Marketing. Not that they were all effective marketers when we hired them. At least, they didn’t know they were. Some were outstanding writers we could teach to be smart marketers by applying the discipline of storytelling to business, etc.

Actually, that syllogism isn’t so simple. It’s a little tortured. Maybe more than a little.

But, you know what? That’s not the point. The point is, there’s at least a possibility that this blog post changed the way you think about the relationship between writers and marketing–and why it makes sense for writers to be involved deeply in your marketing efforts. Or maybe you always believed this, and this post just confirmed how smart you are.

Either way, that’s a good story.