Madmen lessons

Five Examples Of How To Influence & Tell A Story

Alexander Novicov
3 min readAug 10, 2023


Most of us are familiar with the incredible TV show called Madmen. There are some very important lessons that I learned from that show. It’s important if we want to learn how we can influence and tell a story that makes an impact.

  1. It’s never about you

Nobody cares about how many awards we won, nobody cares about how successful a brand is and no one cares how great someone is.

People care about the following:

  • How you can solve their problem
  • How you can take away their pain
  • How you can make their life better

This is what marketing and sales should be about. Sell them that and you will win.

2. Don’t sell the product, sell the transformation / the output

The best sales strategy is to sell the unspoken benefit. True transformation isn’t always seen at face value.

We should always go deeper and ask why people buy my product.

In the fitness industry it’s never about a membership, a health bar, or even a race. It’s about how the person becomes on the journey.

Nobody wants a PT or a running coach or to torture themselves running an ultra race, what everyone wants is WHO they become once they’ve accomplished something great.

Go deep and ask yourself the following, what do they truly want:

  • Meaning
  • Fulfillment
  • Desire

3. Sell the story not the product

Do you know why we buy certain things even when we don’t need them? Because of the story we tell ourselves.

I’m against creating a story to influence just so people buy more stuff. I think we should be ethical and sell to people that truly need our services and products.

Stories make people feel they need that. It makes them desire the outcome.

Stories do the following:

  • The elicit an emotional response
  • They spark a physical sensation
  • They evoke warm memories

What is the story behind what you are selling?

4. Don’t worry about competition

A lot of businesses look at what their competition is doing, and what they are saying. But they are not focused on what they are doing and what they are saying themselves.

It’s good to look at what other businesses are doing, but the best thing we can do is focus on what we can do and how we can position ourselves.

In the clip below I don’t agree on the tactics used but it’s a great example / lesson on how you can position yourself in a way that positions others in a different way.

Brand positioning is a very powerful thing.

How do you position yourself in a unique way?

5. Share a story that your customers believe in

I made this mistake for years. I tried to convince people that didn’t have the same belief. You can imagine how hard it is to convince people to change their story.

The best strategy we can use is to sell a story that our customers already believes.

I think the biggest shift I made is that I understood that I don’t need to change people’s minds, and introduce a new world view. I just need to find the right people that believe in the same thing as I do.

We need to confirm people’s beliefs, agree on their world view and share how we can elevate that.

What is your favorite moment or lesson from Madmen? Comment below



Alexander Novicov

I wake up every day striving to become the best version of myself. I’m a human, an author, ultra runner, skydiver, speaker and CEO at Way Boutique Agency.