Storytelling Marketing with Mary Marantz


Helloooo J* readers!! First of all, thank you SO much for having us here today, and a huge thanks to Jasmine & JD for asking us to do a guest post for them. I *could* start off by telling you how when I first got that email from them, I may or may not have (but definitely did!) a little happy dance involving the running man and the Roger Rabbit in the middle of our kitchen floor. But since I don’t want to start off right off the bat losing cool points with you :), instead I’m going to jump right in by telling you about….

This one time, at Starbucks.

Every single day of our lives, Justin & I get in the car and drive fifteen minutes each way past at least three Dunkin Donuts to pay probably double the price, just so I can hold that cardboard cup (with the weird, green, semi-inappropriate mermaid on it) in my hands. Because I like the way it makes me feel. From my very first day of law school- when I’ll be honest with you I didn’t even really like the taste of coffee, but everything else in my world seemed to be spinning out of control- it was that cardboard cup that made me feel like in that moment, I was living the collegiate dream. Like I was Elle Woods, Perry Mason and Judge Wapner all rolled into one. And that maybe, just maybe, somewhere deep down… I could do this.

And ever since Starbucks and that cardboard cup made me feel something, not about them mind you-but about myself, I have been what Kevin Roberts calls in his book Lovemarks “loyal beyond reason” to them. When you think about it, it is not reasonable for us to get in the car every day and drive past three other coffee shops in the pursuit of just one. It is not rational for me to pay double the price, when I could get a very comparable product elsewhere for half that amount.

Because what my experience will tell us, what the concept of “loyalty beyond reason” will tell us, is that buying is not a cold, calculated, rational, reasonable or logical endeavor. Buying is emotional.

Justin & I have been giving talks for a while now on this idea of emotional marketing: that the more they feel… the more they talk, the more they buy, and the more they go out and convince others to do the same. That when we can get our clients to feel something, we are basically raising up an army of evangelists hundreds strong that are going out into the world and saying our names. It’s pretty powerful stuff. What we believe is that “emotional marketing” is actually made up of at least five smaller types of marketing that feed into making our clients feel something.

Today, I want to focus in on: Storytelling Marketing. So how do you go about telling a story that will actually make your clients feel something and want to go talk about you? There are 3 steps.

1. Figure out exactly what it is that you want them to feel. Be specific.
Please don’t say to me that you want your clients to feel “romantic” or “beautiful” or “in love.” It’s too general. It just blends you in with everyone else. And it’s not a real story. On the other hand, tell me that you want your clients to feel romantic in that John Cusack holding up a boom box sort of way, and now we have something we can work with. Make it as specific, and as one of a kind as possible.

2. Facts that connect, Descriptions that compel, Plots that Inspire.
Once you know what it is that you want your clients to feel, now you have to go about giving them the stories that actually make them feel that way. So what are the components of a story that make people feel something? They are: a) facts that connect people, b) descriptions that compel people and c) plots that inspire people.

If I told you right now that I grew up poor in a trailer in West Virginia, are those some facts that just connected me to a few more of you out there? Probably. If I took the time to describe to you the dirt floor, the caved in roof, the old wood stove, that musty smell that hung in the air and clung to your clothing….and your dignity like a badge of dishonor, are those descriptions that would make my story more compelling to some of you? I would hope so.

3. It has to be honest.
If you put on your marketing hat right now, and say well, this is what I want my clients to feel, so what’s a story I can make up that will make them feel that way? trust me, you are going to lose. People will see right through that, and they’ll see you coming a mile away. Never underestimate people’s ability to cut through the BS. So instead of making up a story that you think sounds pretty or will attract the kinds of weddings & couples you want to be getting, why don’t you just try telling a story that’s real?

For Justin & I, that real story we wanted to tell is simply that the way that we see love in this world comes first from how we see love together. And all the specifics that go into it and make it what it is. The quiet love. The day in-day out love. The working side by side to build a life together sort of love. So on our blog, in our about page, and in our promo video, we talked about our love. Together. And…we were real about it.

And about how we do the dishes together. Side by side. And how that You wash, I’ll dry mentality has become not just a division of labor, but a mantra for how we take on this life. Together. That was the story we wanted people connecting with.

Because what we wanted, more than anything, was for the people who were hiring us to feel like we could tell their story like no one else could. That we alone could take what to the rest of the world might look ordinary, and tell it for the epic love story that it really is. And, that we could do it in a way that the rest of the world might finally and for the first time understand. Because the people who feel something from that story, those are the people I want out there saying our names.

At the end of the day, we could all go out and try the same poses, shoot with the same gear, buy the same lighting set ups, and apply the same Photoshop actions. But the one thing we will never be able to do, is to tell the same story. Because the way that I see the world is different from the way you see the world. And thank goodness it is. Because that is what makes us all irreplaceable. Make no mistake about it: buying is very emotional.

So whatever you do, make sure you’re telling a story that makes people feel something.

To connect with Justin and Mary Marantz, you can find their website HERE and to get to know them better you can check out their promo video HERE.

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  1. Lexi

    March 21st, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    LOVE this post. love love love. Mary – I always come away from your blog feeling that emotional pull you intertwined with the story you told. Simply awesome – so thank you for sharing!

  2. sharon elizabeth

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!!!! Thanks J* for having Mary!!!! And thank you Mary for sharing so much of yourself with us… especially your story!

  3. Stephanie Moore

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    This is awesome- Great guest post you guys! It’s like the unstoppable combination- Star-Marantz! If photography was a fantasy football league… this would be my pick. 🙂

  4. Katelyn James

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    YAY!!! LOVE this!!! And LOVE me some Justin and Mary! xoxo

  5. Petsy Fink

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks for sharing, great advise!

  6. The New Diplomat's Wife

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    As a corporate person, I got to work with Kevin Saatchi a couple of times. He’s just as inspiring in person as he is in the book – I NEVER hear other people reference love marks, but when I think about the way that I choose what I buy, and how others choose around me, that book is completely spot on. Thanks for a great post!

  7. Ashley Hawkes

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    Spot on, Mary!! I seriously love your words.

  8. Deney

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Great job Mary! Now I gotta grab me a skinny mocha. Thanks for the reminder lol

  9. Jillian Tree

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    LOVE this Mary. You can so see that love you guys have, share honestly, and its inspiring <3

  10. Jenae

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I loved this! I love the focus on be intentional and proactive with every detail. I currently work with a large video production department at my church and feel like we can take a lot of these points into connecting with our talent and our audience. I also think that some of these points can go into an actual shoot and how you want them to feel in a shoot-give them more descriptions of what your going for to help spark and ignite the emotions your wanting to capture….good stuff! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Karin

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    What an absolute fabulous approach to capturing a couple’s love story and wedding! Love it!

  12. Julia

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    love! love! love! thank you for sharing!

  13. Shannon Rosan

    March 21st, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    LOVE, love LOVE! Thanks J* for having the amazing Justin&Mary on your blog!

  14. Kari Jeanne

    March 21st, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    Love this 🙂 Like, super a lot.

  15. paris

    March 21st, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I LOVE THIS…getting an emotion with honesty…who knew??? 🙂 Sometimes the answer is right in front of us…thank you for sharing.

  16. Maria

    March 21st, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks for telling such a memorable story! This has been just what I needed to hear as I continue my rebranding. I’m headed in the right direction. Thank you for that!

  17. Deborah Zoe

    March 21st, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I love everything about this:)! fab as always!

  18. mike

    March 21st, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    This is true. When my wife and I shoot an engagement session or a wedding, we focus on the couple and their love. It might sound cheesy, but it’s what’s most meaningful to us.

  19. Sandra Fazzino Photography

    March 21st, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    LOVELY job, Mary! And when I say your name, sometimes I use the accent from the show "227", Maarrraaaayy. Thanks for being such a smarty pants, and sharing all of your wisdom out loud. All of you! You verbalize what we know deep in our hearts and you put your finger on the pulse of what it takes to be successful. Muchas. Muchas. Gracias!

  20. Hannah McKay

    March 21st, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Love this! What a great perspective to have – marketing sounds so much more doable with "storytelling" in front of it 😉

  21. Tami Inoue

    March 21st, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    This was great! Thanks for the very tangible hands-on advice, Mary! Loved it.

  22. Andrea P.

    March 21st, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    This is a great post and really applicable to any business…even law. But you and J* make me want to quit law.

  23. Shaun Ploeger

    March 21st, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Thanks for this very helpful idea. Sales are emotional and that’s a very real part of what we do!

  24. ashley barnett

    March 21st, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Wahoo! So awesome. Lovemarks ranks up there as one of my favorite business books for sure! And J&M are two of my favorite people! 🙂

  25. Rachael May

    March 21st, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    My opening slide show has words on photos that try to get clients to see the value in family portraits! Great article! Thank you 🙂

  26. Aimee

    March 21st, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Another of my favorite blogs to read 🙂

  27. wedding photograper melboure

    March 21st, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    keep coming back to this… love love love your posts and articles

  28. Bethany Ann

    March 22nd, 2012 at 12:56 am

    I love this! Thanks for having Mary guest blog. I read your blog and Mary & Justin’s blogs daily. Love you all! 🙂

  29. jutta

    March 22nd, 2012 at 3:16 am

    So great job Mary! And thanks for telling such a beautiful and memorable story!

  30. Shauna

    March 22nd, 2012 at 3:21 am

    What an awesome post! I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the inspiration to continue to tell my story 🙂

  31. Giovanna

    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Quick "have to" comment…WOOWWWWW.
    Just that, loved it.

  32. Misty Minna Photography

    March 22nd, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    This is beautifully written and honest. Absolutely inspiring me to be honest and connect with my clients!

  33. kathleen frank

    March 22nd, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    loved this post! so helpful, and so applicable to where i am right now. i have to remember to keep coming back to the story!

  34. Christa

    March 22nd, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    My two fave photogs Mary & J* on one blog 🙂

  35. Vasia

    March 22nd, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Beautifully written! And your promo video gave me goosebumps, so sweet 🙂

  36. Heidi

    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  37. Jeremy Jeziorski

    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Great post, great advice!

  38. Jessie Emeric

    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    and Mary Marantz, yes, I am even stalking you on Jasmin Star’s blog! Thanks for the inspiration to keep working on our own emotional marketing & hopes to make our own clients feel something too! xoxo

  39. Chris parker

    March 22nd, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Thank you for the great information. Learned a few new things today!

  40. Sandra Hargreaves

    March 23rd, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Great post, great picture.

  41. Wendy K Yalom

    March 23rd, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    This is awesome!! Thank you!

  42. Dade Freeman

    March 27th, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Great succinct info, thanks 🙂

  43. Jennifer Medeiros

    March 28th, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Fantastic! Have been following J&M for a while now… so nice to see Mary on here and with some powerful insight! Thank you!!! 🙂

    P.S. Say Anything is my favorite movie of all time!!!

  44. Alexandra {Heart Love Weddings}

    March 29th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    LOVE this! Took a lot away from this post and I love me some Justin and Mary fabulousness! xo

  45. kat rocknrollbride

    April 6th, 2012 at 8:18 am

    great post Mary!! im off to make my blog readers FEEL GOOD now 🙂