Why Should Marketing be like Comedy?

The title above refers to two huge passions of mine, at first look, these two don’t appear to overlap that much, however and I am speaking openly about emotional triggers here, there are more similarities than there might be apparent at first glance.

One of my favourite comedians is: Michael McIntyre

And for those reading this who don’t know him, check him out and this should give you a better steer on where I am coming from. Michael is comedian who has exploded into the UK public domain in the last 5 years, sell out tours, #LOL is common at one of his performances and why is this? Well, Michael is an excellent story teller and his comedy is amplified – firstly, through relating his performance to every day life events and secondly, through leading the audience through a set of events that are linked which make up a story.  The stories that he uses can branch out into many different directions, all of which can have comical interludes, but it is with ease that he moves between stories.

The exceptional part of this journey, that he takes the audience on is that he sets the scene brilliantly and then moves the audience through the story and the further through the story he gets, the more the audience becomes engaged.  And, once they are engaged they become much more involved with the content and interested.  Coupled with how he refers to situations that are relevant to each and every audience member in some shape or form the outcome is funny everyday situations that link to each other, which the audience is completely engaged with.  If he didn’t have these stories and moved to the punchline too quickly the outcome would not be the same, as it is the time he takes leading the audience through the story, which makes them more engaged – almost to the point where the audience can recount the story back to him, without even realising that they have remembered it.  Which in-turn makes it easier for them to reiterate the stories to friends and people they want to relay the events to.

How does this relate to marketing?

Well unlike a sell out show for a comedian, where everyone there shouldn’t have any other distractions, firstly you have to get the attention of the consumer. This is where the media push comes into play.  This is like any advertisement for a ‘show’ the same way a comedian gets noticed a few strong ‘hooks’ to get the audience to notice you. The interesting part happens once you have got them to notice you.

So you have grabbed a consumers attention with a ‘hook’ that resonates with them! The key then becomes not what you say, but what you don’t say and the way you deliver it.  A marketing ‘campaign’ is just that, if it contains a single message, then it is very difficult for the audience to become engaged with it.  A ‘campaign’ is about leading a consumer through a story which makes sense and helps them to become engaged with what you are saying. There are shorter examples, an exception to this is where a story is told within a single Ad itself:

When marketeers are looking at content and activity calendars, the foundation of the campaign should be ‘the story’ that the brand/product is looking to tell to the consumer throughout the campaign. And, then linking each elements of the story together so that they make sense to the consumer.  The brand can go through ‘comical interludes’ for example Facebook Apps, Twitter Competitions a piece of Experiential Marketing, but it is the story, the foundation, which needs to be solid to ensure the consumer can become more engaged.

How can Digital help?

With the vast amount of press that privacy settings in the digital space is getting these days, consumers are instantly fearful that an irresponsible brand is going to use their data to capture them and bombard them with intrusive messages, this could happen. But, there is a much more effective way to use this data.

Data points on consumers, whether they be cookies, social CRM, CRM, profile level data, conversational and listening data, could be used to better understand where the consumer is currently in ‘the story’. Then they can be directed to the next chapter or event, that could be interesting to them.  If we are listening to a story and we miss part of the story, even with a TV series, it is very difficult to get back into that story.  Digital gives us that advantage to marketeers and used responsibly, it should work to develop the consumers understanding of a brand or a campaign and allow them to pick up the story where they left off. The data can also help the brand to understand what ‘to say’ and what ‘to hold back’ to build the excitement in the campaign.

Depth is extremely important to the relationship, between the brand and the consumer.  How can a marketeer make this about more than selling a product, any brand has the ability to get a consumers attention it is holding the attention, which is where the skill is.

Good marketing, like good comedy …. is about delivery.


About Paul David

When you look at what defines you, it brings a lot of questions of what strengths you have as an individual and what you can share with others. My interests are broad, which on the surface seems indulgent, however, it also give a certain vagueness in direction with no real niche. So, I am a man, who is not as young as he used to be and yet, not old. I like to enjoy what I do and having just got married, I am looking to make a few changes with my life. Maybe that is to share some of my thoughts with others. I am definitely interested in things, this latest blog is about communicating what I observe and reflecting on what I have done, what interests me and where I have been. To put a spin on it, I am going to attempt to build this into a verse or lyrical rhythm. I am not sure if it will work, but it will be an honest over view of how I think about things.
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