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164: Storytelling Deconstructed: The Hard Data Behind Emotive Creative

Incite Brand Marketing Summit Panel on Storytelling and the Data behind it

This week’s “Marketing Today” was recorded live at the 2019 Incite Group Brand Marketing Summit in San Francisco. The topic of this panel discussion was “Storytelling Deconstructed: The Hard Data Behind Emotive Creative.” Host Alan Hart moderates the discussion that includes Nathan Thornburgh, Co-Founder and CEO of Roads & Kingdoms, an independent media company, Noah Jacobson, SVP, Corporate Development & Strategy at TapClicks, a technology company that aggregates data sources, and Brian Border, Former Vice President of CRM at Shutterfly, an on-demand printing company.

The conversation covers the evolving relationship that data plays in brand storytelling. Highlights include the importance of engaging with customers and understanding their buying habits, the power of having a clear point of view with your content, what it is like when your story needs to pivot or change all together, and what is needed to connect with consumers in a manner that doesn’t feel forced.

Noah Jacobson describes the importance of data by saying, “It really starts with understanding your audience. Understanding what’s that story you want to tell. And then once you’ve got that, the ability to really know what data is required to tell that story.” As the former vice president of CRM at Shutterfly, Brian Border stated, “As a marketing organization, we had to push hard for engagement and storytelling metrics to have a seat at the table when business discussions were happening.” On the topic of having clear and consistent messaging, Nathan Thornburgh shares that “When you are creating something, it’s got to have your point of view. Otherwise, there is nothing to grab onto as a viewer or a listener.”

Highlights from this “Marketing Today” conversation include: 

  • All the panelists introduce themselves. (01:35)
  • What advice would Noah give to marketers about data? (03:36)
  • How did Brian balance showing conversion and non-conversion-focused content at Shutterfly? (05:20)
  • Brian discusses working on making better use of customer data to see who is most likely to make purchases. (10:24)
  • Nathan talks about working with Anthony Bourdain. (11:32)
  • Just how important is content with a point of view? (13:12)
  • How does the data come back into the equation on the distribution side? (15:17)
  • Brian discusses a Shutterfly holiday campaign and using data. (16:29)
  • What are the watch outs for piecing together the right stories? (19:19)
  • Nathan discusses first-ever branded content piece winning an Emmy Award. (22:05)
  • How can brands be responsive but not too reactive with storytelling and engagement? (25:46)
  • What roles are needed for effective data storytelling? (27:33)
  • Brian shares an example of a mistake with display marketing. (30:00)
  • How do you avoid confusing customers as your story evolves and changes? (32:00)
  • How to change the mindset of an executive on short-term conversion to longer-term focus in a VC-owned situation? (34:02)
  • How can you shift towards a brand-relationship focus to short-term revenue sales?
  • If they could have one data source and data point, what would it be? (38:07)

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