Want better marketing results in 2019? Focus on better storytelling

Jamus Driscoll profile picture
Last updated: 21 Dec 2018

What’s your story?

When I meet a client, that’s the first thing I want to know. Obviously, the client’s objective is to sell a product or service. But in order to do that effectively, they need to tell a story that will resonate with the consumer.

That’s why I’ve never been more excited about an opportunity than I was when I joined Moltin as CEO last February. We provide API solutions that enable brands to tell their stories in innovative ways that are also flexible. That aligns perfectly with a real shift in the way the eCommerce market is thinking. 

The story so far

eCommerce is at about the same point in its evolution that the entertainment industry was 100 years ago. The big breakthrough in entertainment was “moving pictures.” Movies literally changed the dimensions of storytelling. Performances were no longer confined to live action on a static stage.

At first, the very existence of this new technology was enough to dazzle audiences. (An urban legend endures that a short, silent film of a train moving toward the camera in 1896 caused audiences to run for their lives.)

eCommerce made a similar splash when it debuted. The technological breakthrough that wowed consumers was convenience. Imagine! You could actually buy books without going to a bookstore!

But once the initial novelty of shopping online wore off, consumers demanded more from the eCommerce experience. They wanted to be surprised. They wanted to be delighted. To this point developers have struggled to deliver surprise and delight — but, like early filmmakers, they’re starting to figure it out. They’re using technology to tell stories in new ways. In movies, that meant adding sound and using multiple camera angles — not as distracting gimmicks, but as an organic part of the storytelling that keeps the audience in the moment.

The Wizard of Oz, with its musical score and revolutionary special effects —including a transition to Technicolor when Dorothy passed through the portal from Kansas to a magical land of Munchkins and wizards and witches — was a landmark achievement in using technology to enhance the possibilities of storytelling.

In hindsight, it also provided a perfect metaphor for the early days of eCommerce.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

Really, could there be a more appropriate summary of the frustrations that consumers feel when their eCommerce journey abruptly comes to a halt due to the limitations of the underlying technology?

No one wants to see how the virtual sausage is made. But that’s what you’re inflicting on your customers every time you make them download an app or redirect someplace in order to complete the transaction. You’ve gone to all that trouble to create a moment of inspiration for the consumer — but then you do something thoroughly uninspiring that prevents them from transacting in that moment.

At Moltin, we enable innovators to provide the kind of seamless, frictionless customer experience that they envision in their dreams. Consider what we’ve done with Stance socks. Stance’s story is a simple and inspiring one: They reimagined socks as a canvas for self-expression, available by mail through a monthly subscription. Stance also sells socks in stores — so our mobile self-checkout solution, which turns a smartphone into a POS, is perfect for them. Because if you’re selling innovation, the last thing you want to do is make people wait in line at a legacy retail outlet to pay for it.

And they all lived happily ever after

So count me excited about 2019. We doubled our staff in the past year and quadrupled our customer count. More and more innovators who have radical commerce models are turning to us for solutions.

Many of those innovators assumed they would have to build expensive solutions from scratch. They’re delighted to find that Moltin can deliver what they need much quicker and more scalable than they anticipated.

We’ve done this, in part, by shortening the innovation cycle. Companies no longer have to gamble their entire existence testing an idea that might not work. We’ve compressed the development timeframe from months to weeks. So you can test an idea without having to build an ROI business case that justifies a million-dollar budget and a year of development.

To put it another way: We’ve freed innovators to pursue their dreams again.

At Moltin, that’s our story. And we’re sticking to it.

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