Marketing Is Changing: Why We’re Ditching the Hero’s Journey with Carol Cox: Podcast Ep. 323


Subscribe to the podcast!

We’re kicking off a new podcast series on how marketing is changing and what to do now.

The rise of AI tools means that endless quantities of decent content can be generated at virtually no cost.

This is going to impact social media marketing, SEO, and online advertising.

As speakers, content creators, marketers, and entrepreneurs, doing the same things we’ve always been doing isn’t going to work for much longer.

Along with content saturation making it harder for our content to be discovered and seen, pretty soon we’re not going to be able to tell who online is real and who is not.

This is why I believe that as a public speaker, you have a unique opportunity to cut through the noise, authentically garner people’s attention, build relationships, and attract leads and clients.

In this episode, I talk about:

  • The big shifts in online marketing that are only going to accelerate
  • Why we’re ditching the hero’s journey as a marketing framework
  • The problems with the hero’s journey that is making it less compelling
  • What we’re focusing on instead in our marketing and sales
  • Questions for you to consider for your own marketing strategy

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals clarify their brand message and story, create their signature talks, and develop their thought leadership platforms. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power because it’s through women’s stories, voices, and visibility that we challenge the status quo and change existing systems. Check out our coaching programs at


Show notes at 

Discover your Speaker Archetype by taking our free quiz at

Join our Thought Leader Academy: 

Connect on LinkedIn:

Related Podcast Episodes:

323-SYB-Marketing-Ditching_The_Heros_Journey.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

323-SYB-Marketing-Ditching_The_Heros_Journey.mp3: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
Marketing is changing here. Why? We’re ditching the hero’s journey. Yes. Can you believe it? On this episode of the Speaking Your Brand podcast. More and more women are making an impact by starting businesses, running for office and speaking up for what matters. With my background as a political analyst, entrepreneur and speaker, I interview and coach purpose driven women to shape their brands, grow their companies and become recognized as influencers in their field. This is speaking your brand, your place to learn how to persuasively communicate your message to your audience.

Carol Cox:
Hi and welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. I’m your host, Carol Cox. We are kicking off a new series on marketing, specifically how marketing is changing and how you can rethink how you’re approaching your marketing as well as your public speaking. Today’s episode is about why we’re ditching the hero’s journey as our framework for marketing. You may be surprised about this because I’ve talked about the Hero’s Journey a lot on this podcast, so that’s what we’re going to dive into today. Next week we’re going to be talking about relationship building and strategic partnerships, specifically how you can go about doing this and why it’s so important nowadays. And then the week after that, I have a guest on to talk about her regenerative marketing framework. This is fascinating. If you’ve ever been hesitant to lead in your marketing with fears and pain points, this is the framework for you. And then finally, we’re going to wrap up this four part marketing series on how to use PR in media effectively.

Carol Cox:
I know that as a speaker, as a entrepreneur, as a content creator, you want to reach your audience with your message. You want to have a positive impact. You want to grow your business, you want to get speaking opportunities. And you also probably know that doing the same things that you’ve always been doing isn’t going to work for much longer. And you may have already seen that it’s not working as well as it did a year ago, much less a few years ago. Back at the beginning of this year, I did the Trends episode, Episode 310 on what trends to look out for for this year, and I talked about the rise of AI, artificial intelligence tools and engines. And even since then it’s been three months, you have probably have seen how much ChatGPT has taken off and the advancements there. I can generate endless quantities of decent content and really is getting the content is getting better or better at virtually no cost. It just takes a lot more time and money for us as humans to create great content. What we as humans can do is determine what problems need to be solved and how we can make things better in helping your audiences and your clients think differently and imagine what’s possible. I did a whole episode about how to thrive in the age of AI and Episode 316, along with the rise of these AI tools and the endless quantity of content that they can create at virtually no cost, we’re also seeing a shift away from mass audiences and the attention economy.

Carol Cox:
Specifically on social media. I really see this as the end of the era of social media as we’ve known it for the past 10 or 12 years. I don’t know about you, but I definitely have seen that the LinkedIn posts that I do, that’s the primary social media platform that I’m on, LinkedIn posts that I do don’t get nearly the same eyeballs or engagement as they did a couple of years ago, which just because there’s so much more content that’s online, not even from I just from from humans and that’s only going to grow. And also at some point, we’re really not going to know what’s real and what’s not online. We’re not going to be able to tell who is a real person because these AI tools are getting so good. And so this is why I want to do this series about how marketing is changing and how we can rethink our approach to marketing. And specifically, we’re going to talk today about the problems with the hero’s journey and what we’re replacing it with. If you’re new to the podcast, welcome as speaking your brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals clarify their brand message and story, create their signature talks and develop their thought leadership platforms.

Carol Cox:
We know how important women’s stories, experiences and voices are, and that’s why we are here, to champion and advocate for that so that we can challenge the status quo and change existing systems for the better. Now let’s get on with the show. Let’s talk first about what exactly the Hero’s Journey framework is, how it’s been used in marketing, and then I’ll talk about what I see the shift to and what we’re going to be focusing on here as speaking your brand. So I’ve talked on this podcast about the hero’s journey and there are definitely useful elements in it. The Hero’s Journey is a storytelling structure that’s been used in various forms of media, from literature to movies and more recently, marketing campaigns. It was popularized in the 1950s and 1960s by an academic named Joseph Campbell. In his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces. So he had examined and looked at stories and myths across time and across different areas of the world and different cultures. And he found what he called a mono myth. And these all these myths and stories that these different cultures would share kind of had a similar structure. And that’s where this. The hero’s journey came from. And so it has been used in a lot of movies and literature for, well, really for millennia, but more self-consciously since Joseph Campbell’s book had come out. If you think about the original Star Wars movie that came out in the 1970s, George Lucas explicitly used the hero’s journey in the narrative arc in the story arc for Star Wars.

Carol Cox:
Think of Luke Skywalker. He’s that hero who was on his ordinary world wanting adventure. He wants to go out and experience more of life, so he gets a call to adventure. But initially he’s kind of reluctant. He’s not sure about it. And then something forces him to go off on the journey anyways. So he goes off, he faces trials and tribulations. He has challenges and obstacles. He meets guides or mentors along the way like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. And then he has his dark night of the soul kind of that abyss where he’s not sure if he can go on, but then he ends up persevering and he brings back this gift to back to the ordinary world. So that is kind of the traditional hero’s journey. And what has happened in the past, I would say 10 to 15 years is that businesses have started using this in their marketing. It was for a good thing because for so long companies were censoring themselves in their messaging and their advertising. It was all about the company, the products, the features, and really no one cared. That is not the way to do great. Marketing and messaging is to center the company in the products and the features. And so ultimately, marketers kind of learned about storytelling and learned about the hero’s journey and realized that they could center the customer instead and they could show how their product or service could help their customer achieve their goals, overcome their obstacles, and ultimately transform their lives.

Carol Cox:
Again, that is a great thing and the Hero’s Journey framework has been useful and valuable for that. But here’s what I’m seeing now, especially nowadays. Where we are currently in 2023, is being the hero is exhausting and isolating. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a hero every day solving all of my problems and needs by myself. So if we think about kind of what are some of the challenges with the hero’s journey from a marketing perspective is that when consumers are continuously portrayed as heroes, they may feel burdened by the expectations to always be the problem solvers or to overcome obstacles single handedly. And this can feel really draining. As consumers, we’re constantly making decisions and having to figure things out and having to fix things for ourselves. The hero’s journey and this and this, I believe, really is the the central challenge with it is that the hero’s journey often emphasizes individual achievement and individual work. And so as consumers, well, really as people, we may feel this sense of isolation because we’re kind of disconnected from a broader community. The other thing is that the hero’s journey does have some limitation when it comes to portraying women and their experiences. Joseph Campbell, explicitly, when he was writing his book, talked about the hero’s journey from the perspective of male heroes.

Carol Cox:
That was really what it was about. He did read another book about women and goddesses, but he said that they that women have a different type of hero’s journey than men do. And whether that’s true or not, that is in our culture, in our society. And so this idea of of the hero’s journey of what it means to be heroic is really based on very male centric themes physical strength, conquest, competition. Now, of course, I’m not saying that women can’t be ambitious and can’t be competitive and can’t seek things and want to accomplish things and win at things. Of course we absolutely do. But the hero’s journey as a framework has traditionally been very male centric and has reinforced traditional gender roles. We think about the hero, the hero. He goes out and accomplishes things while the women stay at home tending to the domestic sphere. So even though as marketers, we may not have been thinking of these things, thinking of traditional gender roles or male centric themes, when we’re using the Hero’s Journey framework in our marketing, it is kind of baked into the Hero’s Journey framework. And I feel like that is why this idea of the hero’s journey kind of has run its course in marketing, because it does feel really isolating because it’s so focused on the individual. Now to address some of these limitations, specifically regarding women and gender, many writers and storytellers have adapted the traditional hero’s journey to make it more inclusive, diverse and empowering.

Carol Cox:
There is a woman named Maureen Murdoch who wrote a book around the heroine’s journey, and she uses a narrative structure that specifically explores the female. Variants and highlights the transformations that women undergo in our own quest for self discovery and growth. And this is why I talk so much about the power of women telling our stories and sharing our experiences, because this is how we see what our journeys look like. So what’s an alternative then, to the Hero’s Journey approach in marketing? So if the hero’s Journey approach is just not quite the right framework to use anymore, then what? It would be a better version of it. And I really kind of frame this as the shift from the individual to the collective. Again, the hero’s journey traditionally has really focused on individual achievement, individual work kind of going out and conquering things on your own. Whereas I really feel like especially nowadays, we have big problems to address climate change, gender equality, racial equality, economic inequality is is the one to address so that we have more economic equality and these big problems have to be addressed collectively. So how can we do this if we really think about partnership and collaboration, partnership and collaboration with the people who we work with and with our clients and with our potential clients? And so there are several things that we can do around this.

Carol Cox:
The first is around communication. So making it so that the marketing and the messaging that you’re doing this also goes for public speaking, is not just a one way, that it’s a two way dialogue between you and the other, the person on the other end or between you and your audience, that there’s a role for you as listening in addition to sharing your message. The second thing is co-creation. So collaborating on solutions, working together in order to create that outcome that your client is looking for. And then the third thing is community providing a space for your clients to get to know each other and to help each other out. And this is what we do in our Thought Leader Academy. If I think back to when I first started speaking to your brand, I focused almost exclusively on one on one work with our clients. I figured this was the best way to get them the deliverable that they needed, which is a compelling and effective signature talk. And it definitely did that using our signature talk canvas framework in a VIP day is extraordinarily effective to get the signature talk done, at least like the first really good draft iteration of it. But what I’ve recognized over the past few years is how much doing this work in a group of supported and like minded women is just as important as completing the actual deliverable as completing the signature talk. Because there is so much more into you feeling clear and confident to share your message, to share your story, to go out there and deliver your talk.

Carol Cox:
Then just having the outline done or just having the slide deck done instead. It’s that sense that you are worthy enough to have a voice, that you’re worthy enough to put your message and story out there, that there are people who are waiting to hear your message. And so this is why when I see the women go through our Thought Leader Academy and we have our weekly group Zoom calls where we come together, I’ll do a mini training on whatever that topic is that week, whether it’s on storytelling or it’s on your thought leadership message or it’s on adding what we call layers to your signature talk to make them even more compelling is that we have the women share what they’re working on as they go along. So we definitely encourage, you know, share your wins with us, you know, what has been going well. But then we also share those self-doubts. What’s coming up for you? What’s coming up for them around feeling like using your voice, around putting yourself out there in a more visible way. So we have these really deep, heartfelt, vulnerable conversations because we know that that’s where so much of the confidence to put yourself out there is going to come from. And so what I really have seen and I have experienced myself is that there’s no need to go it alone, that you don’t actually have to be the hero.

Carol Cox:
Maybe we don’t need heroes in the traditional sense, like we used to. Something that just came to mind is, you know, we have the Marvel Cinematic Universe, all the superhero Marvel movies that have come out, especially what, in the past 15 years or so. And I just feel like we’ve like it’s been saturated, oversaturated to the point where people are just kind of tired of them. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me talking because they’ve just been done and overdone and overdone and we really don’t. I think also we become a little bit wiser in the sense that we know that no hero, no one person is going to come along and save us. No one’s going to come along and and fix everything for us. It’s really up to us at a collective level to work together and to to do it together, whether it’s using our voice and creating our signature talk and sharing our message with more people, or it’s solving some of these big issues that we have in our world. I would love to have you join us in the Thought Leader Academy. If you want to work on your thought leadership and your signature talk and do it in a group of. Incredibly supportive and like minded women as you are guided and coached by me and Diane Diaz, our lead speaking coach, you get a virtual VIP day, so we work together to create your signature talk using our signature talk canvas framework. And then you also have those eight weeks of the group Zoom calls, which are incredibly transformative and inspiring. You can get the details on the Thought Leader Academy as speaking your Again, that’s speaking your You can enroll there or you can schedule a call if you want to talk first and you have some questions about the academy, you want to make sure it’s the right fit. I highly welcome you to schedule a call with me so that we can chat.

Carol Cox:
This episode, as I mentioned in the beginning, is kicking off the series that we’re doing all around how marketing is changing. Next week we’re going to talk about how to create strategic collaborations. So relationship marketing, what does that look like specifically to do that? And then the week after that, we’re going to be talking about regenerative marketing. This is a fascinating conversation. I’m not going to give too much of it away because you really going to want to listen to that. And then to conclude this series on marketing, the fourth episode in this series will be all around PR and media. You won’t want to miss any of these episodes coming up, so make sure to hit, follow or subscribe in your podcast app. And if you enjoyed this episode, I encourage you to share it with a friend or a colleague. Until next time, thanks for listening.

Sonix is the world’s most advanced automated transcription, translation, and subtitling platform. Fast, accurate, and affordable.

Automatically convert your mp3 files to text (txt file), Microsoft Word (docx file), and SubRip Subtitle (srt file) in minutes.

Sonix has many features that you’d love including enterprise-grade admin tools, automatic transcription software, upload many different filetypes, automated translation, and easily transcribe your Zoom meetings. Try Sonix for free today.

Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast!

Get the #1 Proven Lead Generation Tool for Speakers

Leave a Comment

Other podcast episodes you may like...


Having Thought Partners in the Same Industry to Achieve Bigger Things with Tenice Wehmeyer and Cherie Mylordis: Podcast Ep. 360

Getting More Women into A.I., Reducing Bias, and How to Use A.I. Responsibly with Juliette Powell

Getting More Women into A.I., Reducing Bias, and How to Use A.I. Responsibly with Juliette Powell: Podcast Ep. 359

Leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) as Your Strategic Partner and Coach with Alysia Silberg

Leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) as Your Strategic Partner and Coach with Alysia Silberg: Podcast Ep. 358

Create Real Change by Shifting Your Identity to Who You Want to Be with Dr. Kim Foster [Thought Leadership Series]

Create Real Change by Shifting Your Identity to Who You Want to Be with Kim Foster, M.D.: Podcast Ep. 357