Waste not, want not, with your story marketing to create epic customer experiences

Stephen Streich of Oracle

I had the honor of being invited as an influencer to Oracle’s Modern Customer Experience event this past week in Las Vegas.  There were three days of workshops and speakers, several thousand attendees, and umpteen roundtable discussions.

Despite the abundance of brilliance, three important trends stood out for me: Big waste, little victories and showing up

#1. 80% of B2B content generated goes unused

I was surprised to learn that 80 percent of content created within your typical professional services firm is wasted. This is like panning for gold then using the nuggets as skipping stones. That means the majority of your biggest marketing investment is a sunk cost that never generates a single lead or dollar for your organization.

#2. Heroic Marketing is about the little victories

Oracle’s customer experience conference theme was Heroic Marketing. I’m not sure marketing in and of itself is particularly heroic. Come on, we’re selling stuff. How valiant can that act be? However, what I believe Oracle was doing, and rightly so, was placing their customers at the center of the Oracle brand story as the heroes in their individual journeys as marketers. Again, heroism here is a euphemism, underscoring the mighty struggle all us marketers face in today’s vasty complicated and competitive tech-driven world.

The epic wins in today’s marketing come from sweating the small stuff and celebrating each little victory along the way. An email campaign that goes particularly well. And infographic that blows up, in a good way. A surprisingly viral video.

The Heroic Marketing algorithm goes something like: Plan + Produce + Publish + Pray + Party + Repeat

#3. Half of life is showing up, the other half is following up

One of my favorite presentations was from actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Under the cloak of a darkened Mandalay Bay ballroom, I slipped into a front row, center stage seat for his conference closing keynote.

As you might imagine, Joe commands a stage. His presentation visuals were some of the best I’ve ever seen. But it was his message that was the show stopper for me.

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt at Oracle’s Modern Customer Experience Summit

Despite his celebrity, wealth and talent, it took Joe and his brother Dan 12 years to build their HitRecord.org community to where it is today. There is no such thing as an overnight success. “You have to show up every single day and get to work,” he said.

I get this. Because every shortcut I have ever taken in my career just lead me to failure faster.

HitRecord.org is a new kind of online community that is an open, collaborative production company. The creative collective, which anyone can be part of, produces everything from stories, books and animations, to short films, music scores and a TV series.

Joe shared three important things he learned along the way which are at the heart of HitRecord.org:

  1. The power of evolving a crowd into a community
  2. Moving from open source to fairly compensated contributors
  3. Transforming socializing online to true collaboration

What if you took a HitRecord.org approach to curating stories in your organization?

What impressed me most about Joe’s creative collective is that it encourages and captures the voices and talents of “regular” folk.

What if you found the stories in your company, from your people, from their point-of-view, and shared them with the world?

Imagine the impact of your brand’s true stories, well told, that connect the beliefs and values you share with your employees and customers. Think of the tales that recall those heroic customer service moments. The time when everyone pulled together to hit a deadline. When Sally caught a flaw on the assembly line and saved the company millions.

What do those little stories say about you, your leadership and your company? Everything!

Storytelling for Leaders Deliberate Training Program


Now, can you image 80% of these wonderful tales languishing in legal, H.R. or worse: on someone’s hard drive?

Today’s world is about participant media. Brands no longer own the influence of mass media, because, as Joe has demonstrated with HitRecord.org, the masses are the media. They are your storytellers. You, as the business leader or communicator, are the story maker.

Now you can ignite the stories in your company in our Storytelling for Leaders deliberate training program. Our first public course begins with an in-person workshop at Park&Co on Friday, May 26, from 9 am to 5 pm.

If you want to empower the storytellers within your organization, capture and share their stories about your brand with the world, and build an unbeatable culture, please reserve your seat today.

Help your best content creators show up every day. Learn how to spot, capture and share the stories that will shape the behaviors that create the culture that drives epic performance in your organization, and revenue for your brand.

After attending Oracle’s Modern Customer Experience, I believe now more than ever, heroic marketing success comes from sharing and celebrating our small stories every single day.

Story on!