Man is eminently a storyteller. His search for a purpose, a cause, an ideal, a mission and the like is largely a search for a plot and a pattern in the development of his life story — a story that is basically without meaning or pattern.” Hoffer, Eric

A few years ago before “Content Marketing” became the new black, I talked about a concept, “tell before you sell”.  At its core, the concept is about establising a trusted relationship with customers with compelling content (text, video, pictures) and stories.

Research from Adobe and Edelman Berland clearly proves my thesis of “tell before you sell.” Consumers prefer to experience a brand through stories told by that brand (a.k.a. Content Marketing).

Consumer want to experience a brand before buying The love of stories starts when we are young. My children’s favorite activity before bed is telling or reading stories. Sometimes we make them up. Other times we read from a book.  They pick a character from the story and say they are that character. They want to be part of the adventure and experience.

Marketing pundits from around the world are talking about content marketing or inbound marketing. even created a conference on content marketing. Why are we all talking about content? We still have that little kid inside all of us. We want to be part of the experience. We want to feel something.

One of the greatest ‘sales people’ I know is my wife. What makes her a great ‘sales person’?  She tells stories.  Why do I use ‘sales person’ in quotes? She doesn’t sell. She is a story teller.  Unfortunately though, corporate America hasn’t yet embraced that title. Anyone who knows her will tell you how detailed her stories are – it’s like you were there experiencing it with her. She becomes instantly likeable from the first time you meet her. She is the same person at work as well as at home. Many of her longtime friends started out as clients. She doesn’t sell. She makes you feel comfortable through her stories and conversation.

The BIG take away: Stop selling. Tell a story. Tailor it to your audience.

What’s your opinion on the Adobe research? Did they get it right?