What Does it Take to Write a Billion-Dollar Marketing Story?

What Does it Take to Write a Billion-Dollar Marketing Story?

Reader Comments (28)

  1. I have been in my industry for over 18 years, and have seen the professionals morph from the Sales engines of the 80’s and early 90’s into the struggling “artists” of the early 2000. What seems to be happening for them is they are starting to find their “voice” and market their personalities to their clients in the hope that they will connect. The one common disconnect I often help them with is being OK with marketing their personalities.

    Thank you for the step by step!

    • Hey Blossom – there’s definitely a rising trend of personality based businesses especially when you’re teaching, training or offering a service where you’re working 1:1 with your clients. People judge you based on whether they like you as well as believing you can do what you say.

  2. Amy, this is an awesome post and brings some really great clarity to creating a different story even in a crowded market place.

    I’m in the middle of revising our content strategy and this post hit just in time.

    Thank you.

    • Hey Donovan, thanks so much. It took a while to break down the process even though it seems pretty simple, good luck with getting that fresh angle for your content strategy! πŸ™‚

  3. Thanks Amy. Great story about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Actually its even better.

    Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird – they didn’t sit down to figure out what teenagers liked. They went in deeper. They actually researched into which comics were currently doing well. They zeroed in on 4 comics that were doing pretty good at that time.

    1. Cerebus the Aardvark. Its about a pig superhero who drinks and cusses. But is very smart. Misfit animal superhero.

    2. Ronin by Frank Miller. Ninjas.

    3. Daredevil. It’s about a blind mutant whose other senses are heightened beyond normal human ability because of radio active exposure. Mutants.

    4. The New Mutants. It’s about teenage mutant superheroes undergoing training. Teenage mutants.

    Eastman and Laird mix all of these 4 already successful comics together. And come up with teenage mutant ninja misfit animals undergoing training. They come up with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

    • Was it really that much research? TMNT is pretty much a slant on Daredevil down to his origin (the radioactive container that struck the boy who becomes DD then rolls into the sewer to create TMNT – there’s more).
      Seems they just struck gold taking a popular comic and re-writing the concepts in a different perspective.
      Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the original TMNT comics, just don’t think it’s such an easy thing to do to remake a story and be successful with it.

    • Hey Ankesh!
      Thanks for filling in those pieces – as you say, while the process was pretty simple, it was also deliberate. Those boys knew what they were doing! πŸ™‚

  4. I can understand ninjas and mutants being a popular subject with teenagers, but turtles? Really?

    I guess nowadays It would be honey badgers. Teenage Mutant Ninja Honey Badgers.

  5. Hi Amy — let’s all sing that theme song together now! Teenage-mutant-nin-ja-tur-tles…dadum…

    I’ve heard the TMNT success used as an example of how there are no bad products, only poor marketing. What’s more unlikely than turtles able to execute ninja moves? It all falls apart if you really think on it. And yet the marketing push behind them made them everpresent in our lives for a time.

    • I was singing that theme song pretty much non stop as I wrote – it just gets into your system! πŸ™‚
      It does seem like a flimsy concept, but Ankesh gives us another brilliant layer of explanation to show the concept of why combining those things could just be a hit! (And I’m thankful it was a hit).

  6. A bit off topic: I was in Seoul, Korea and there are “dragon’s beard candy” makers. They are street vendors who all use the exact same script. It is awesome and really draws people in.
    They have little inserts for customizing it to the customer too. “Where are you from? Toronto? CN Tower. Niagara Falls. Shania Twain. I want to marry her.” If some one is from Germany then they say one or two words in German then switch back to the English script. But it is just enough to feel like there is a connection.
    On youTube you can see how tightly they stick to the script. I was wondering who wrote the script and would love to read an anlysis of it.

    • I’ve just seen a great video of one of the guys doing it, explaining it in the different languages as well. He’s got a great patter!

  7. Thanks for breaking this down into steps and making them manageable. BTW: I watched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles too. I’ve watched the movie about a dozen times. πŸ™‚

    I think Point #4 is important because some people don’t want to add a ‘dose’ of themselves for fear of rejection or fear of something else. But as Pace and Sonia pointed out in “How to be a World-Changing Writer,” being authentic is important if you want to reach your target audience. Believing in your words and business is a must if you want customers to believe in you and your message, products, and services.

    Business I admire

    I like Sir Richard Branson’s story. He started a magazine, “Student” when he was 16, dropped out of school (it happens), and ventured into the music industry with Virgin Records. He took a risk by signing the Sex Pistols in the 1970s. It paid off.

    Sir Richard dreamed bigger when he started Virgin Atlantic Airways in the 1980s. Let’s face it; his airline is cool and hip. I’d love to book a flight! Plus, the airline’s still going strong, even though it’s had ups and downs along the way. This shows Sir Richard’s tenacity.

    He’s stated numerous times in interviews how he’s influenced by non-fiction books such as Nelson Mandela’s autobiography. There’s more to Sir Richard than just business. He balances it with his humanitarian efforts, which shows his ‘human’ side to those who may be skeptical about him.

    • Branson has a great story. I don’t know all the details, but one thing I admire is his ability to just keep going. He’s tried his hand to so many things, some have worked, some haven’t but he doesn’t give up.

      I think the variety of his interests, businessines, gambles and even failures are a big part of what makes his such an interesting business story.

  8. Absolutely! He’s been in films and TV shows and isn’t afraid to take a risk. He seems to love what he does; he seems to love life. That’s important too. It can’t be all work and no play. That would be boring and mind numbing.

  9. Amy, this is one of the clearest, most concise looks at story-telling I’ve seen, and much needed. So great to see you here , and thanks for sharing this πŸ™‚

    As an extra — I study screen-writing + fiction-writing often in order to beef up my story-telling abilities.

    • Hey Jason, Thanks! There’s so much overlap between strong fiction and screenwriting and copy, get their attention, keep them interested, rousing the emotions etc. Stories are a huge part of how we even connect with one another as humans.

  10. My whole business is telling stories… so I better be good at it.

    I’m always looking to improve my skill set and learn new ways to enhance the connections I make with my audience. I have to agree with Amandah about step #4; the right dose of “you” can make all of the difference. Many of my earlier stories were anecdotes where I would unintentionally switch between first and second person. I finally worked with a writing coach and she pointed out the missed opportunities to truly connect with my readers by being vulnerable. It’s not always easy, but well worth it if you can muster up the courage to genuinely express yourself.

    Thank you for helping me reevaluate my own marketing story!

  11. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was my favorite cartoon back in the day. Amy great article. I find it very difficult to create a billion dollar marketing story. Jared Fogle “The Subway Guy”, I think was a billion dollar marketing story. I think it follows your 4 steps.

  12. Hey Amy,

    Great article. For someone who is new to the whole blogging, internet thing this was so valuable. You really have to change your mindset when wanting to move from the corporate stable world to going it alone. There is so much to learn … nothing rocket science but doing the right thing at the right time in the right way with a bit of panache.
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Interesting! I always missed out the fact that readers love “to read”. It’s like “enough” when we just stated the obvious points and not giving them pleasure to read and enjoy what we deliver for them. Thanks for the inspiration!

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