What Makes a Great Marketer? Great Storytelling.

By formal training, I am not a marketer.

However, I use marketing practically every day of my professional career: as an employee, as a manager, as a business owner, and even as a CIO.

  • As an employee (or potential employee, as the case may be lately), I constantly promote the brand of me. What is my value promise? What do I have to offer that is unique to me and to no one else?
  • As a manager, my direct reports need to understand the direction and leadership I supply. A strong, cogent, message is important in order to get everyone working – and continuing to work – in the same direction, with urgency, and with identical goals.
  • As a business owner, I tell – daily – the story of my business: what it is, what it does, how we are the best at what we do, and what value we provide to our customers.
  • And, as a CIO, it is vital that I communicate, internally and externally, ITs mission to the enterprise, and how we help the enterprise (corporately and on an individual basis) succeed, thrive, and plan for the future.

But how can all of this be marketing?

At its core, great marketing is simply great storytelling.

Each of the scenarios I described above involve telling a story, in the service of answering one or more questions; why should I be hired? why do I need to perform a task? why should I buy from you? why is what I do important to our enterprise?

And, to answer these questions successfully, we need to examine the following elements:

  • Product 
  • Voice
  • Process
  • Engagement
  • Measurement

Over the coming days, I’ll take a look at these story elements – and how they are used by great marketers, to tell great stories.

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Two Step Authentication

Using cloud based services (Dropbox, Evernote, GMail)? Then you should know about two step authentication.


Messin’ ’round – Ashokan Farewell

Just messin’ ’round on a Friday morning.

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Where Opportunity Lives

Apple Watch Hero Sport

This week, the inescapable technology tsunami that breached was the announcement of several new Apple products; most notably the Apple Watch.

And, just as predictably (and in synchronous temporal parallel), the inevitable backlash.

This brand holy war is not new, or even unique, to technology brands.

As someone who has developed products for many different technology platforms over the last thirty years, I am amazed – but never surprised – at the vitriol, and energy, wasted in promoting brand chauvinism.

But honestly, neither do I care.

For while others are arguing the merits of technology that they carry about their person – and what it says about themselves and their personal life choices – I’m thinking about one thing: Opportunity.

I’m not jazzed about learning that the Apple App Store now has 1.3 million apps.

What gets me excited is knowing that a new technology platform is opening up, that currently has zero applications in the space.

Because that’s where Opportunity lives.

And that’s where the future will be made – in those green field landscapes currently unlittered with watch-sized Flappy Birds, Virtual Farts, and Fat Booths.

Wayne Gretzky famously said, “…skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” The trick, of course, is to know where the puck is going to be.

This week, we all got a huge freakin’ clue.

And so, you won’t find me arguing the merits of who innovates better, who executes better, or who has “won” in any particular product category.

Instead, I will be seeking Opportunity.

And taking up residence there.

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Apple Announces Watch, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus

Apple just announced their much anticipated Watch, plus two new iPhone models (the 6 and the 6 Plus). What do you think about the new offerings?

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Flashback – Maker Spaces

Studio D

Last January, I had the chance to sit down with Mur Muchane (CIO of Davidson College) to discuss their new Maker Space, Studio M. A fun and engaging hour, and good insight on how Maker Spaces can fit into Liberal Arts campuses.

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Creative Blocks

We all get creatively blocked from time to time.

Sometimes, one must simply push through. Here are some things I do to jump start my creative juices, when my flow isn’t what it needs to be.

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