Storytelling and Entrepreneurship

Why marketing is an unacknowledged art form

Marketing is often simplified by saying that it’s only done without integrity. This week I read an article about Louis Theroux in which he claims that marketing is an “unacknowledged art form”. Louis mentioned that he sees much in marketing “to enjoy” and is intrigued by the balance of “seduction and sales”. I couldn’t agree more on that I think. Let me explain you why.


The misconception

In the world of bringing ideas into life, there’s one conception that’s reducing marketing as an unacknowledged art form. It’s the conception that it would only be something that’s striving for sales, leads and money.


Because of that, marketing is often considered as unauthentic, shady and dishonest. Look for example at the campaign that promoted the Duracell Ultra Advanced and the Duracell Ultra Power. To promote these batteries Duracell came up with the slogan: “Lasts Even Longer”. Unfortunately in 2012 Duracell, Inc & Gamble Company got sued by customers claiming that the companies were delivering deceptive marketing and misleading facts. Although the batteries were more expensive than regular ones, they did not provide longer life.
All in all it’s a good example of a brand (un)intentionally lying about his own motives. I think if you’re seducing people with a false promise or you’re seducing people to buy something by popping up all the time or using agressive methods to grab attention, then you place the importance of earning money over the importance of creating value.

Duracell Ultra Advanced and Duracell Ultra Power
Yet there’s also another side to marketing. As Theroux put it: “There’s an aspect of marketing that I do find interesting that hinges on that combination of seduction and sales, which I don’t think is antagonistic in itself. There’s much about marketing to enjoy.” This other side of marketing is what Seth Godin calls Marketing The Right Way. It’s marketing based on understanding human behaviour and putting relationship-building first. This kind of marketing is about meaningfully connect with people who want it. It’s the kind of marketing where seduction and sales partner each other equally.

Compelling narratives

Although Louis Theroux has never made marketing a priority to his career as a documentary maker, Louis admits that there are similarities between what broadcasters do and what advertisers do.


Their focus may not be as different as it seems. Because if marketing is done the right way, both try to build close relationships with their audience, whether they are viewers or consumers.



Look for example what advertisers seek for. If you’re an advertiser longing to promote an artist in music business, you seek for people who listen to a certain type of music and like to experience that with their like-minded friends.


If you’re an advertiser longing to promote a coffee brand through banners online, you seek for people who like to drink coffee and are present in certain areas of the web.


The famous words of Seth Godin about Marketing the Right Way are more than true: “people like this, do things like this.” To get people excited about the stuff that you are making, you have to reach out for people who act in accordance to a certain internal narrative.


Understanding those narratives is needed to make a meaningful connection.



At the Festival of Marketing last October, Louis talked about what he thinks is required for great marketing. Louis mentions that creating compelling narratives is in the heart of great marketing. Those narratives are needed to build a close connection with the audience, he says. Stories are about finding something in common. He says: “It’s the case of finding something [in common] and a lot of that resides in getting in touch with your own desire. We are, as banal as it may sound, not so very different from each other. And the more we get separated from one another in society, the more refreshing and redemptive it is when we find small connections. […] “I like to try and do that with my programmes. I like to try and find stories that are full of angst and darkness but at the same time find light and connection, and it’s that tension and release.”




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For me, blogging is all about that too.


I publish my own articles because I would like to get in touch with likeminded people. That’s the reason why I write.


To me there is no bigger joy than writing about ideas that are worth spreading, sharing personal lessons that may be useful for you or sharing quotes that may broaden your perspective on things.


All of this I do because I’ve the idea that it is gonna bring more joy, meaning and wisdom to your life. My intention with writing those articles is to make it easier for you to live a life that’s full from the inside out.


As a result, this information may give you the same aha moments and realisations that it has given me.


… And so?!
And so what does it take to make marketing an acknowledged art form?
If marketing is done the right way, there is no big difference between the focus of an advertiser, an artist, a copywriter or whatever kind of job you’re in.
Your focus lies on serving your audience in the first place. By understanding them, by knowing what’s in their minds and by fully getting what they wish for.
What would be a step forward is if more brands and people would show by example that marketing is more than just selling stuff. In fact, if marketing becomes synonymous with creating value. If marketing becomes synonymous for creating things and services that enrich one’s life.
And that is quite an art in itself.
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