5 iconic TED Talks all marketers must watch – just sit down and learn from the masters of the craft. Try to pay attention not only to WHAT they say but also to HOW they do it and what makes them great speakers. Is it the vocabulary? Or jokes? Or tone of their voices? We analyzed their style to find out why we can’t help but listen to them and trust them!

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1 Malcolm Gladwell, Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce

Duration: 17 min.

The problem: What can you learn from tomato sauce producer? That instead of looking for a perfect “one size fits all” flavor (product/ service /offer) you should recognize the diversity of the customers and try to deliver something for each one of them. The best idea is to ask them about their needs and preferences, not blind guessing and searching for the Holy Grail. It also shows how marketers’ work changed over time: now our a job is to listen: ask, research and analyze.
Style analysis: Gladwell’s narrative strikes us with its richness and sensuality. Have you noticed that Malcolm always uses the most specific term available, even when he is describing some tiny background detail?
Maybe you observed also omnipresence of food-related words. It’s not only because of the subject. Gladwell overuses them in a clever way to appeal to audience’s senses.
To illustrate his point, he reaches for unexpected example – did you assume that sauces have something in common with marketing?

– listen to your customers: do your research and utilize data
– don’t try to think up a perfect product, but ask customers about their needs
– use as many specific, senses-related words in your texts as possible
– explain your thesis with surprising examples.

2. Seth Godin, ‪How to get your ideas to spread‬ ‬

Duration: 18 min. 58 sec.

The problem: With traditional media, marketers used to buy ads and bombard audience with intrusive messages. But today, when media are much more dispersed, blasting readers with ads in no longer an option, as there are no massive media at all. Today every user creates his own information stream, what means that marketers must apply 2 rules to survive: create remarkable things, both products and messages, and recognize that you no longer speak to one big audience, but to many small groups.

Style analysis: Seth, like Gladwell, is determined to fill his story with as many details as possible and make it more compelling by unexpected comparisons and juxtapositions (did you see purple cow coming?).
Nonetheless, irony plays a crucial role here. He exaggerates absurd of ads he comments, so we feel he’s not a traditional old way marketer but fights against poor, bulk ads.
– you don’t have to be super serious and humorless to win listeners’ trust,
– “good” is not enough today. You must deliver “remarkable” – in terms both of the product and marketing concepts.

3. John Gerzema, The Post-Crisis Consumer

Duration: 16 min. 34 sec.

The problem: How the crisis transformed customers’ behavior? Mostly it increased their independence and self-reliance. They are much more skeptical towards the market and know that at the end of the day they have to make decisions on their own and take the consequences.
Style analysis: In contrast to the two above, Gerzema plays on the apocalyptical note. He sounds a bit like a priest: the tone of his voice is a bit prophet-like. When you compare his to Godin, you will see that John prefers shorter, strong sentences and uses different vocabulary (namely, Biblical one: crisis, need to change, catastrophe approaching). All these practices make listeners scared.
– The crisis change also your customers. Are you prepared to win their trust back?
– Get ready for empowered customers.
– You can prepare serious, apocalyptic presentation that will be extremely compelling – as long as you won’t overdo it.


4. Kevin Allocca, Why Videos Go Viral

Duration: 7 min. 20 sec.

The problem: Why everybody has seen Nyan cat while the video promoting your company has 167 views? Kevin identifies 3 reasons:
a) Tastemakers: if an influencer mentions your video, it gets popular immediately,
b) Participation: we like videos that tap into our creativeness and encourage us to make our version, or a parody. Users today aren’t passive recipients, they want to participate in creation.
c) Unexpectedness: we love to see when something unexpected happens.
Style analysis: Maybe you can’t see at a glance, but this there is a lot of work and analysis behind this funny and approachable video. Look how wonderful the combination of hard work and lightness of style look.
– Hard work and sense of humor aren’t mutually exclusive. Always do your homework: research, read, gather and analyze data, so you deliver real value to your audience.
– Charts always work.
– Even if slides and videos make a huge part of your presentation, your commentary still is vital. Don’t let your listeners just watch the movies!

5. Renny Gleeson, 404, the story of a page not found

Duration: 4 min. 7 sec.

The problem: The experience of 404 error can be frustrating, but many companies can use it in a creative way.
Style analysis: Gleeson from the very beginning represents ordinary users, not some IT experts, and refers to emotional experience. Note his natural, conversational tone.
– Crafting good subject is 60% of success. It helps your narrative develop and attract an audience.
– Look for rarely discussed phenomena in your business. Instead of writing another “How to” on the hot topic, try to describe something unknown.

Time for you! Share some TED Talk you love in Comments!