So Where Have All the Storytellers Gone?

James Miller, SVP, Business Development

So Where Have All the Storytellers Gone?


To answer that question I do what most people do and just asked Google and, of course, did not look past the third option, Where Have All the Storytellers Gone?


And my answer came in the form of Russ Goerend, a Designing Communication Solutions Instructor at Waukee Community Schools, in Iowa...who knew? He talks about the roles — writer and storyteller — not being mutually exclusive. There is much overlap.


At DWA, we spend our time with marketers and specifically, smart and engaging tech marketers. However when I’m exposed to media campaigns from technology brands these days, there is very little visible storytelling. This is a missed opportunity as we know that stories are a powerful vehicle which can drive engagement across prospects, customers, partners and employees.


Fortunately last week in Boston, at an innovative conference called NewCo, my faith was renewed as I discovered some great storytellers. Here are my highlights.


Norman Guadagno, SVP of Marketing and Chief Evangelist at Carbonite, captivated the audience with his tales of “Cloud Promiscuity - The New Age of Hooking Up” without a single slide. His message was compelling, entertaining and gave me at least 11 reasons why I should back-up my business and personal content based on my survey results from a half page questionnaire left on my seat. After his session, he told me the secret of infusing Carbonite’s marketing with his message. It’s simple: “Inform and educate by articulating the problem; then provide a solution.” Today too many marketers are driving the “solution” down our throat without articulating the problem.


Earlier in the day, I sat in another NewCo session with Mary Modahl, Chief Marketing Officer, and Katie Ruigh, SVP Product Management at American Well. Together they shared the market opportunities, the value of their solution to providers and patients as well as giving us an engaging product demo (yes, engaging!). This was a well-orchestrated and delivered story.


At Rapid7, we had the express tour around a visibly buzzing office which taught me about their growing product line, what the plural of Moose is (it’s Moose!) and that they value Rockstars. Christina Luconi, Chief People Officer, ended the tour with a corporate recruitment video that told an amazing story about their people continuously striving for excellence as individuals and as a team, One Moose. Being able to tell stories through your people sends a strong message to customers and partners.


Debra Zalvan, EVP, from UbiCare talked about using their technology and content to “make meaningful connections where patients spend most of their time—beyond the four walls of the hospital.” UbiCare is empowering their customers to easily tell stories when patients are not with their healthcare professionals. This is dramatically reducing provider costs and improving the outcomes for their patients.


My last session was at CloudHealth Technologies. It was clear after speaking with Melodye Mueller, VP of Marketing and Strategic Alliances, that the team has embraced agile marketing to tell stories that are customer focused even to a highly technical audience.


I’m inspired by these marketing leaders to do better myself and ask more of our industry.

My advice: Go forward, tell stories….all of us will be better off.