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All Marketers Are Liars
– Seth Godin

“All marketers are storytellers.
Only the losers are liars.”

Seth Godin’s three essential questions for every marketer:
“What’s your story?”
“Will the people who need to hear this story believe it?”
“Is it true?”

All marketers tell stories. And if they do it right, we believe them. We believe that wine tastes better in a $20 glass than a $1 glass. We believe that an $80,000 Porsche is vastly superior to a $36,000 Volkswagen that’s virtually the same car. We believe that $125 sneakers make our feet feel better—and look cooler—than a $25 brand. And believing it makes it true.

As Seth Godin showed in this controversial book, great marketers don’t talk about features or even benefits. Instead, they tell a story—a story we want to believe, whether it’s factual or not. In a world where most people have an infinite number of choices and no time to make them, every organization is a marketer, and all marketing is about telling stories.

Marketers succeed when they tell us a story that fits our worldview, a story that we intuitively embrace and then share with our friends. Think of the Dyson vacuum cleaner, or Fiji water, or the iPod.

But beware: If your stories are inauthentic, you cross the line from fib to fraud. Marketers fail when they are selfish and scurrilous, when they abuse the tools of their trade and make the world worse. That’s a lesson learned the hard way by telemarketers, cigarette companies, and sleazy politicians.

But for the rest of us, it’s time to embrace the power of the story. As Godin writes, “Stories make it easier to understand the world. Stories are the only way we know to spread an idea. Marketers didn’t invent storytelling. They just perfected it.” [From: Amazon.com]

All Marketers Are Liars uses examples from areas such as organic products, the Good Year Blimp, and Cold Stone to illustrate the power of marketing an authentic story. From the book jacket:

“All marketers tell stories. And if they do it right, we believe them. We believe that wine tastes better in a $20 glass than a $1 glass. We believe that an $80,000 Porsche Cayenne is vastly superior to a $36,000 VW Touareg, even if it is virtually the same car. We believe that $225 Pumas will make our feet feel better–and look cooler–than $20 no names. . . and believing it makes it true.”

Following his own lead, Godin’s title for the book is a lie. He wrote in the introduction:

“I wasn’t being completely truthful with you when I named this book. Marketers aren’t liars. They are just storytellers… I was trying to go to the edges. No one would hate a book called All Marketers Are Storytellers. No one would disagree with it. No one would challenge me on it. No one would talk about it.” [From: Wikipedia.com]

Seth Godin explains the fundamentals of modern marketing: if you want your target market to discover and purchase your product, you must tell a consistent, authentic, believable story that fits the way they view the world.

As it turns out, good marketers aren’t liars… they’re excellent storytellers. People constantly tell themselves stories about what they need and why they buy. If you’re able to understand your target market’s worldview, tell your story in a distinctive and memorable way that fits that worldview, and fulfill their needs, you win.

Once you go beyond functional characteristics, you’ll be amazed how much perception influences reality when it comes to products and services – there’s value in the story that isn’t present in the actual product. Is popping the cork on a 1957 bottle of Dom Perignon a delightful experience or a disgusting waste of money? Are SUVs safer than compact cars, or gas-guzzling environmental nightmares? Will a bespoke suit that’s hand-cut by a tailor who serves British royalty make you look more handsome? Is a moissanite gemstone better than a diamond? Depending on the prospect’s worldview, either viewpoint is valid.

In addition to foundational marketing concepts, you’ll pick up useful ideas like adoption curves, framing, cognitive dissonance, the attention economy, and the all-pervading power of expectations. All Marketers Are Liars will permanently change the way you think about marketing. [From: Personalmba.com]

Seth Godin advises marketers that what matters is not the quality of their goods but the good feelings generated by their “storytelling.” In our complicated, cynical world, we all want to hear a story that we can believe; a story that fits our worldview; a story that we intuitive embrace and then share with our friends. If the story grabs us on a deep gut level, Godin insists, it doesn’t matter that it contains a little white lie. In All Marketers Are Liars, the author of Purple Cow describes the difference between marketing campaigns that work and those that fail. [From: Barnesandnoble.com]

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