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Storytelling that Sells
Part 3: Good Marketing Spoils the Plot

In our series, “Storytelling that Sells,” we analyze the components of a good story that grab people’s attention. Today, we focus on why you should spoil the plot for your customers. Catch up on: Part 1 and Part 2

In our last segment, we talked about the importance of “stakes” in your marketing. 

As a quick recap: We want to ask, what do people stand to gain or lose by using or not using our product or service?

Next, we explained the concept of building a “bridge,” and how it helps cement the story in a reader’s mind:

  • Point A: Show them where they are right now; their current state of fear, disappointment, or stress.

    BONUS: Show them how their problem will get worse if they do nothing to fix it.
  • Point B: Show them how their problem and life will improve after using your product or service.

  • Build a Before-and-After Bridge: Show them how your solution will take them from Point A to Point B.

The “before and after bridge” is a way of presenting your plan to the audience, allowing them to see exactly how your solution works. 

Essentially, you’re walking them through the journey they’re about to embark on.

  • KEY POINT: Even though in films we hate when someone spoils the plot, creatives and marketers should use it to hook the audience. 

Books and movies often telegraph where the story is going ahead of time. The purpose of a movie trailer, for instance, is to set expectations.

When you tell your audience where the story is headed, you create a frame in their mind against which they can evaluate what they see. 

This is known as the primacy effect, which refers to people’s tendency to retain the information they encounter early on. If a marketer doesn’t give readers an idea of where they’re headed, readers will lose their frame of reference — and tune out.

The Promise of the Premise

A successful story, as author Blake Snyder notes in his screenwriting book Save the Cat, should deliver on its “trailer moment.” This is known as the promise of the film, and it’s what audiences expect to see.

Why? Because as a creator, you have an implicit agreement with your audience. They have invested their time and attention, and they demand a product that lives up to their expectations.

As you read or watch, you are unconsciously judging whether or not the piece is living up to its promise, its “trailer moment.” 

  • WARNING: Once you’ve set their expectations, you MUST deliver on your promises if you want to build trust, credibility, and brand loyalty.

So, SPOIL THE PLOT. Show your audience how you’ll take them from Point A to Point B. Show them your plan. You’ll instantly start to build trust, credibility, and brand loyalty when you begin delivering on your promise and fulfilling their expectations. 

Struggling to find your story? You’re not alone. At fuoco, we’ve helped many B2B healthcare companies craft their message, differentiate themselves in the market, and use storytelling to grow their business.

Need help telling your story and growing your business? Send us a message or give us a call at (615) 866-9368.

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