AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerDoes Storytelling Make a Difference?

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Does Storytelling Make a Difference?

You are hearing a lot of tall tales about storytelling. It is easy to say, but very hard to do. However, in the age of disruption, you always have to ask the question, “Does that new idea really make a difference?”  In the case of storytelling, it makes products even more valuable. Campfire of friends in circle on the fire

For those who believe copy is dead and all you need is a little headline and white space, you may want to stop reading now. Origin (Hill Holliday’s research arm) conducted experiments in which consumers where shown standard short descriptions or more detailed stories.

According to AdWeek (January 2016) every time the product description included a story it pulled more money than the same product without a story.

  • A story made hotel rooms 5% more valuable
  • Knowing the artist behind the painting resulted in a 11% lift
  • A winemaker’s story lifted a bottle of wine by 6%
  • Ebay listing of fished-shaped spoons attracted 64% higher bids with a short story paired with the spoons

It’s true that today’s storytellers have new technologies that are providing a new set of tools and outlets. That means that people may be drowning in an ocean of content. So storytelling must transcend and capture the imagination of viewers and readers. It must be real (some call that authentic) which is a simple given today and backed by research. The story must emotionally move people. Yet research indicates that a story of any kind can provide lift to products–now that is a story worth telling again and again.


Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.