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Story Centered Marketing – A New Approach to Marketing Strategy?

by Hank Barnes  |  July 31, 2018  |  1 Comment

It’s not hard to recognize that I’m a big fan of storytelling.  It’s the focus of many of my posts and it dominates my client interactions.  But, a recent conversation gave me a fresh perspective and idea that I think it worthy of some consideration–particularly for tech vendors with a decent size marketing budget.

A colleague connected me with Tom Gerace and Bob McKee, the authors of Storynomics, due to our mutual love for stories.   Their core premise is that stories are the best way to connect with prospects and customers as we move into a world of ad blockers, streaming, and more.  They also outline a structure for stories that Bob has taught to award winning writers for years (which is similar to the S-I-R approach we recommend, albeit with more rich details and an expanded look at each component.  Some of the premise is seemingly stronger for B2C companies, but the play for B2B brands is also recognized.

Source: Negative Space on

Source: Negative Space on

And that is what got me thinking.

Today, storytelling is effectively a tactic.   Most examples are about how to tell stories in particular pieces of content, but it is all about supporting a strategy.

What if the story was the strategy.   Tom and Bob talk about the idea of taking money from traditional media buys and creating your own “show.”  Build interest in the show, like production houses and networks do.  Use that to gain the interest you used to look for from advertising.

Apply this in a tech world.  Imagine the development of a story as your core marketing strategy.  You create a fictional company that reflects your ideal customer profile.  You have episodes that look at the lives of key personas–what they are struggling with; where they are succeeding.  As part of the story, your product becomes a bit of a plot device, weaved into and around it–inobstrusively.

Create a great story and you’ll building a following–a following that you can then turn into leads and opportunities.    What if your entire marketing strategy was built around the story—starting with your fictional company, then creating custom stories that bring in your prospects (as prospects) and then customers.  Every campaign, every tactic, links to the story.

It would be different.  It would be ambitious.  It would earn attention.

And it just might work.

Category: go-to-market  

Tags: marketing  storytelling  strategy  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes provides research and advisory services on go-to-market strategies for technology providers. His research efforts focus on understanding the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. He then applies that research to explore the implications on vendor strategies, supporting the efforts of product marketing, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and CEOs. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Story Centered Marketing – A New Approach to Marketing Strategy?

  1. Ken R says:

    One of my clients, after going through our story workshop said to me, “Ken, I realized we’ve been doing it wrong, we wanted the strategy to drive the story, what I now realize is that the story needs to drive the strategy!” Here here!!!!

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