For as long as I can remember, I have loved to read. Reading has educated me, broadened my horizons and exercised my imagination. Even now, with precious little time to indulge in my favorite activity, I rely on audiobooks to “get my fix” while commuting or shopping. Reading has impacted my life in many ways, from career aspirations to passionate causes.
What does reading have to do with marketing? Quite a lot, if you think about it. Both writers and marketers need you to be interested enough in their product to want to learn more. However, a clever book or blog title, or social media blurb, needs to have the substance behind it to keep you engaged. Publishing houses and marketing agencies must stay on top of trends and technologies in order to provide timely content in relevant mediums.
This year, AMA Knoxville is focusing on one of the most challenging trends in recent years – storytelling as a marketing tool. Storytelling takes the best parts of both worlds, literature and marketing, and combines them to excite, inspire and motivate people to act (or buy or sell). It’s no longer enough to say, “Here’s our product, isn’t it great? Go buy it!” Now, people want to know the story behind the product and how it will help them. All of our programming this year will be related to storytelling, whether it’s how to tell your brand’s story, how others have incorporated stories into their marketing campaigns or new technology that helps you do it better.
AMA Knoxville is adding another facet to our storytelling theme. We are partnering with Leaders for Readers, part of Great Schools Partnership. Leaders for Readers is a program that helps children in first, second and third grades learn to read and improve their skills by providing free books and matching volunteers with children for weekly lessons. AMA Knoxville will not only be donating books in honor of our speakers but will include the creation of a volunteer recruitment marketing plan at our conference this November. (The conference’s theme is “Wonder,” inspired by Alice in Wonderland!)
Reading is the first step to experiencing all the world offers. Without reading—or wonder—we marketers would not be in the careers we are. Without literacy, we wouldn’t have college students to award scholarships to each year. I am excited that AMA Knoxville is combining the worlds of reading and marketing into one amazing focus this year. I am confident that with our dedicated Board of Directors, volunteers and members, AMA Knoxville’s story will be one of success, community involvement, engagement and education.