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Marketing Today: Storytelling Deconstructed -- Hard Data Behind Emotive Creative


clockwise from top, Thornburgh, Jacobson, Border.

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.” I hosted the discussion that included Nathan Thornburgh, co-founder and CEO of Roads & Kingdoms, an independent media company; Noah Jacobson, senior vice


president/ 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 covered the evolving relationship that data plays in brand storytelling. Highlights included discussion of the power of having a clear point of view with


your content, what it’s like when your story needs to pivot or change altogether, and how to connect with consumers in a way that doesn’t feel forced.

Noah Jacobson described the

importance of data by saying, “It really starts with understanding your audience, and 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.”

Discussing 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 shared 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 weeks

“Marketing Today”:

— All the panelists introduce themselves. (01:35)

— What advice would Jacobson give to marketers about data? (03:36)

— How

did Border balance showing conversion and non-conversion-focused content at Shutterfly? (05:20)


— Border discusses working on

making better use of customer data to see who is most likely to make purchases. (10:24)


— Jacobson talks about working with the late

Anthony Bourdain, noted chef and food TV personality. (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)


— Border discusses a Shutterfly holiday campaign and using data. (16:29)

What should marketers watch out for to piece together the right stories? (19:19)

— Jacobson discusses the first-ever branded

content piece to win an Emmy Award. (22:05)

— How can brands be responsive but not too reactive with storytelling and engagement?



— What roles are needed for effective data storytelling? (27:33)

Border 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 toward a brand-relationship focus for short-term revenue sales?


— If they could have one data source and data point, what would it be? (38:07)—




Illustration for article titled Marketing Today: Storytelling Deconstructed -- Hard Data Behind Emotive Creative

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