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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Marketing Story
Some marketers may be liars; some may be honest; those who are the most successful, combine honesty with a compelling message. That's the secret to a great marketing campaign, and that's why Seth Godin's book is so interesting. He knows how to tell relevent stories which engage the reader; before you know it, you've read this entire book.

The message Godin is...
Published on November 18, 2009 by Larry Underwood

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64 of 72 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Bad - but Not Original
Godin writes: "This is a whole new way of doing business."

Well, if it is such Seth, then surely You aren't the first marketer to spot this. Therefore, Seth Godin shouldn't take credit for revealing some of the powers of storytelling in marketing.

Other authors were there long before him (e.g. Laurence Vincent, John Simmons, Steve Denning,...
Published on June 1, 2005 by Kim Moeller


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do Yourself A Favor - Read This Book, November 18, 2010
By 
Elden "avid reader" (Chicago, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
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Today's world is different from yesteryear's world. Seth Godin is right on the mark with this book. He tells you the real psychology behind the technique of an old word "Marketing." Everyone thinks they know what marketing is, they don't. Do yourself a favor and read this book first, before you do anything else. If you understand the psychology in this book you will understand how to Market your brilliant idea. There is no Top Ten, Best Tips or How To Do This, or That. Those are gimmicks, you are just paying someone to tell you what you already know. And you will find the so-called tips are just borrowed ideas not original content. Actually, your story costs nothing to tell, just tell it properly, once you have read the book you will understand. This is one of the best books about Marketing, written by someone who has 'been there done that', gone through the ups and downs of life, and tells it like it is.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money, April 6, 2006
A series of ex post rationalizations and ham handed observations on the difference between a honest marketing fib and a deceiving lie, do not make a book.

Godin uses a series of "success stories" to support the contention that marketing which deceives, but matches unmet emotional needs of a consumer, is the key to success. Thankfully holes in this dangerous logic are well exposed by his case studies - products which currently enjoy success as a result of a "good story", and products which deceived consumers and hence failed. Their selection is as arbitrary as ephemeral. Wonderbread is cast as a failure as the general public saw through its lie that bread, for centuries a staple source of carbohydrates, has carbohydrates. Fiji water, on the other hand, is a success since it taps into the mystique of Fiji. One wonders what a reader in 2016 will say about this selection of case studies! For over 80 years, Wonderbread was one of the most profitable and powerful brands in America. Sure - it's failure to innovate into other categories in the last 5 years, along with the Atkins fat diet fad, sent it to brand heaven. But that is after 80 years of success!

Thus, what should have been an exercise in explaining that finding, developing and then marketing products to meet unmet needs of a section of consumers, is made into apocryphal tale of the story teller marketer and his genius in captivating a rapt audience.

Before buying this book, carefully parse through the review by the Publishers Weekly. The phrase "dubious marketing primer" strikes me as the most succinct, accurate summary of this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising insights, but repetitive, November 23, 2005
Marketers are always on a quest to discover the new best way to sell products. Author and marketing guru Seth Godin takes a slightly skewed look at the marketing principle of positioning and renames it "storytelling." In doing so, he redefines a market segment as a community with a shared worldview, and a marketing campaign as a story framed to fit that worldview. The idea is provocative. By tweaking the conventional approach to advertising, Godin gives marketers a new angle, backed up by enlightening case studies. At times the book is simplistic and repetitive, and it never fully gets into the meat of how to create and disseminate a marketing story. Still, Godin will intrigue you as he explains that purchases are driven by desire, not need, and that clever storytelling is better at whetting a purchaser's desires than an old-fashioned ad campaign. We recommend his practical marketing advice with its unorthodox approach to charming the cash right out of the customer's wallet.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good story, May 21, 2005
By 
"tragiclad" (Mississauga, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(...)
All marketers tell stories, and if they do it right, we believe them. But the interesting part is that by believing the story the story becomes true. That is the premise of Seth Godin's latest book All Marketers Are Liars.
Nike tells a story of athleticism, of competition and excelling - and with that story they are able to sell a $150 shoe that is not far different than the $20 no-name running shoe you can buy at Wal-Mart. Apple tells a story of being creative and edgey and hip and are able to dominate the digital music market, despite other companies offering players that are not only technically better but are cheaper to purchase.
Seth argues that it's not the Nike shoe or ipod that satisfies our desires - but rather it's the story. Tell a good enough story and you can claim a premium on what you offer. Tell a good enough story to the right people and you will see the sales come through. The story doesn't have to necessarily be true but it must be authentic and consistent. The emperor can very happily walk stark naked through the streets and the people will for years talk about how spectacularly he was garbed.
I would have prefered if Seth offered up a few hard numbers, perhaps a case study of a company that did well by telling their story well versus one that bombed due to a lack of a consistant or inauthentic story. But then, Seth isn't here to present cold hard facts, but rather to tell a story of his own. If you've been following the story about marketing that Seth began laying out in Permission Marketing and has continued to develop through The Ideavirus, Purple Cow and Free Prize Inside, then you will definitely want this latest chapter. Seth's story is one that all marketers should know.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's all in how you tell the story, August 28, 2005
If the book were titled, All Marketers Are Storytellers, would you consider looking at it? Godin brought up this point in the book and it clearly explained what he means by "liars." Of course, he didn't insult marketers as he belongs in that category. But "storytellers" would be nothing new.

Though he didn't use "storytellers," the book addresses how to use stories to help the business succeed. The book grabbed me at the start, but then it got slow in different parts. What I appreciated most were the examples of storytelling or "fibbing." Godin did point out that fibbing doesn't mean the same thing as fraud. He provided two examples. Can you tell which Godin identifies as a fib and which is fraud?

*A wine glass maker claims wine tastes better in his glasses.

*A company says you can call anytime to hear the president of the company's voice and the voice introduces himself as such. It turns out the voice is an actor as the president died over 50 years ago.

The second would be the fraud. It's a story that turns out not to be true and customers feel tricked when they find out. No one can prove the glasses don't make the wine taste better; therefore it's good storytelling because it leads people to believe the claim might be true and the product is worth trying.

John Stossel of ABC News did a report on bottled water and discovered people are convinced that tap water is bad while bottled water is cleaner, safer, and tastier. The news report conducted a taste test of four brands and tap water. Tap came in third while the most expensive, Evian, came in last. And in first place? The cheapest bottled water, K-mart's brand.

Telling a story doesn't guarantee everyone will be fooled into believing what you hope they'll believe, but the bottled water example proves many bought into that story.

Godin goes deeper because telling any ol' story doesn't equal great results. Other factors come into play even before your product or service comes to life. Have you noticed cereals have new labels such as "100% whole grain" or "15% less sugar than the original"? What do you think drove the cereal manufacturers to change the labeling in some cases and to create a new formula in others? The low-carb craze. It was their way of staying in the game when much of the world changed its view on what foods to eat and what to avoid.

Godin quotes Malcolm Gladwell whose best seller, The Tipping Point, no doubt led the way for his second book, Blink, and even recommends the latter work. Everyone I've talked to who has read both books has little good to say about Blink and some didn't think much of The Tipping Point. This praise is the only quarrel I have with this fine and thought-provoking book, but it makes me leery of the rest of the book recommendations (only 13 in all) because of this point. Technically his praise of the book could be called "fibbing."

The book provides examples of how small businesses, large businesses, and service-oriented businesses succeed with the storytelling approach. Any business can learn from the book's concept. It took little time to read and gave a good overview about how businesses create and sell their stories.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Stories and Experiences Help Attract and Retain Customers, December 6, 2008
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
All Marketers Are Liars is one of Seth Godin's better marketing books. If you have a choice between reading Purple Cow and All Marketers Are Liars, opt for this one.

The book is based on the observation that customers want to align with offerings and services that reinforce their positive self-images. I'm sure that idea isn't new to you. Otherwise, why would someone pay ten times as much for an item of frequently poor quality that has five cents worth of a brand image stitched into its front?

The book builds from these premises:

1. Don't waste your time trying to educate people about what their worldview should be or what your offerings are. Instead just slip into their preconceptions in a comfortable, authentic way.

2. You won't be noticed unless you fit into their worldview and seem to offer something new that they value.

3. An effective, authentic story can help you make a better and more lasting first impression.

4. Most of the future "experience" of your story will be assumed by customers who want to believe that you are what you say you are.

The book takes a little long to make those points. I found myself wishing this were a tightly edited article rather than a meandering book.

Part of Godin's "promise" to his fans is that he will "shake things up." As a result, the title is deliberately misleading to make people pick the book up . . . because ever customer has been lied to my a marketer or sales person. There's nothing new there. His "new" point for those who haven't studied marketing is that customers like a little sizzle with their steak.

If you know about the emotional value of a brand, this book is a waste of your time. If you think that people only care about product and service features, you need this book.

If you really want to learn about storytelling, I suggest you become acquainted with Stephen Denning's fine books on the subject. If you want to develop a sound foundation in marketing, see Phil Kotler's books.

If you want to be entertained without learning too much, stick with Mr. Godin.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Art of Marketing, May 23, 2005
By 
Alex Krooglik (Cleveland, OH USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I believe that there are really only two types of marketing book - those that focus on the art and those that focus on the science of marketing. Seth's latest work is definitely in the "art" camp and continues a long line of thought that he has carved out a niche for that I think helps you understand the "why" behind marketing as opposed to the "how". If you've read "Purple Cow," "Free Prize Inside," or "Permission Marketing" you'll know that Seth predicted the death of mass marketing some years ago. He has now turned his talents to unearthing the next wave of marketing: storytelling.

All Marketers Are Liars is a small, digestible book that helps you understand how to understand the customer, got it? In other words, if you've got a terrific product ("Purple Cow") that surprises and delights ("Free Prize Inside") then you can intiate a dialog ("Permission Marketing") with the customer and tell her a story about what's special and unique about your company and its products or services - after all, All Marketers Are Liars as far as Seth is concerned but what he really means is that you've got to sell the story behind the product as much as the product itself. They're intertwined and they strengthen each other.

I think you'll get a lot out of Seth's book and the companion blog at sethgodin.silkblogs.com no matter what your job is.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tell stories....thats the entire book, March 21, 2011
By 
Kapitalist (Claremont, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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Seth gives some good examples of story telling in his book but this should be an essay, not a book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as good as his newer stuff, October 28, 2012
By 
Elliot (ARLINGTON, VA, United States) - See all my reviews
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I love Seth Godin's work, read his blog daily, etc. I thought that I would spend some time reading his older books, since everything he does is gold, but I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much as his newer works.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good overall message, weak concept and light on real content, October 7, 2008
By 
The Marketing Guy Who Drives Sales -r (Charlottesville, VA United States) - See all my reviews
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Let's start with the title of the book, "All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World". Hmmm. Something is already wrong here.

When I look up the word "authentic", I get the definition, "conforming to fact and therefore worthy of belief". Doesn't it follow that if we tell "authentic" stories in our marketing we are by definition telling the truth and not lying?

Alas, Godin admits he was lying to us from the start because right on the back dust jacket of the book he states, "I was lying to you when I named this book. Marketers aren't liars. They are just storytellers. It's the consumers who are liars." He then goes on to state that marketers tell stories and because consumers choose to believe those stories that best fit into their own world view that they are, in essence, lying to themselves.

OK, I still have a problem with the whole premise of the book.

Not to be redundant, but if marketers are out there telling authentic stories, why would somebody who believes those stories that "conform to the facts" be lying to themselves? I'll forgive the inconsistency because Mr. Godin is trying to make a larger point, but I won't forgive the use of a bold, deceptive title in an attempt to sell books.

I'll grant that we humans all gravitate to brands that tell stories that are consistent with our own world views, but to take self-selective brand filtering and twist it to give the impression that something is wrong in the marketing profession is just plain usurious.

Godin uses some great supporting case studies in this book about how some very good marketers tell vivid stories about their brands and how those stories self-select their audiences. In my opinion, this is exactly what any good marketer and any powerful brand is supposed to do.

Godin goes one step further, however, and implies that often the story that gets told is the only differentiator between brands and that the story alone can be used to build a great brand.

He misses the point.

If the stories are authentic, then it is the whole brand behind the story that is different. The stories are not lies. The stories are describing why one brand is different and unique from others. The marketing "stories" are indeed brand promises or brand stories and it is our duty to tell our brands' unique stories as compellingly and as convincingly as we can.

Even if we accept for the moment that consumers turn off all logic and purely make emotional decisions based upon which story they choose to believe in the absence of real data (more on this in a few moments), we cannot believe that people will turn off their logic indefinitely so that any significant brand preference built in this way is sustainable over the long-term. Sooner or later the brand is going to have to live up to the story.

While Godin's theories are well presented with good examples, I couldn't help but read the book and feel that it was a good short article or opinion piece that got compromised when it was stretched into a book and given a provocative title.

His assertion that marketers should tell vivid stories that consumers want to believe is indeed solid advice. His underlying, unstated implication that marketers should tell the "right lies", however, does a disservice to the entire marketing profession.

Sure, he purposefully named the book in a misdirecting manner to get a reaction that would spur debate, generate buzz, and sell more books...and here I am responding. OK Seth, one for you.

However, not all buzz is good buzz and not all discussion will help build a strong brand. Not all stories are worth repeating.

In the case of "All Marketers Are Liars", I'd have to say the book did not live up to my expectations of the Seth Godin brand.

I've read Godin's previous works and expected more from this effort. Godin's previous works were much stronger and did not have to resort to tricks or gimmicks to sell the books. Nor did they contain as much filler material as this one seems to have. The problem is, he does not give a single example in the entire book where a marketer is shown to be genuinely lying and consumers are rewarding that brand. Now I find that I must approach any of his future works with some skepticism and ask myself, "Is he just trying to be provocative to sell books or is there real--and enough--meat here?"

Back to suspended logic.

One passage in the book (pages 93-94) reveals that Mr. Godin shops for certain products, in this case organic foods, not because he believes the marketing claims but because he lies to himself about the brands because he believes they make him feel better. This is a fair enough claim and a valid point for marketers and branders to remember. As I stated in my e-book, "How to Build and Maintain A Powerhouse Brand", an important part of building a strong brand is tapping emotion and building more than just product features and benefits into the brand's story. Brands must make logical and emotional appeals.

In this particular passage of the book, Godin explains that he shops for organic foods not because they taste or perform any better (he claims that he believes the data is not clear), not because they are less expensive (he claims that he believes the prices are inflated), not because they are any better for him (he claims that many items found at organic grocery stores are loaded with saturated fats and sugar-loaded juices) and not because they are a good way to support family farmers (he claims that most of the money goes to marketers and processors), but because it is a way for many (we can only assume he includes himself in this category) to assuage guilt about being Americans because Americans are the "world's least efficient consumers of just about everything". (Got that? Because he does not believe certain marketing claims that must mean the the marketer is lying to him. He also seems to be stating that he feels guilty about being American. Could it be that he simply is projecting his self-lies onto marketers? Naw, Seth wouldn't do that...or would he?)

That's when my brain started to twitch.

Mr. Godin puts all logic aside and admits that he makes purchases emotionally and, at least at times, suspends all logic. He is willing to accept the fact that he believes self-lies just to feel less guilty.

That's where the party ended for me.

That is where I gleaned an indication of what the real title of this book should be: "Consumers Are Not Always Rational" or maybe, "I Lie to Myself" or perhaps, "I feel guilty therefore somebody must be lying to me."

Those would be great potential book titles. The book could be geared toward all the bottom line, ROI, analytical types out there who want all branding decisions to be based on numbers and hard facts. The book could then go on to describe why building emotion into brands is so important and that it cannot be underestimated because humans do not respond to logic alone. Often they make decisions based on emotion and rationalize those decisions later using logic. Sometimes they are just going for a certain feeling--even if their actions are self-proclaimed to be irrational. It could also indicate that consumers do not want to accept the fact that sometimes they act irrationally. Sometimes they just want to blame somebody for their guilt.

You genuinely lying marketers out there, take note. Seth Godin has told us that he believes what he thinks are lies as long as they conform to his world view. Read this book to learn more about his purchasing habits and then set him up in your databases accordingly so you can sell him your wares.

For the rest of you marketers, this book is interesting and useful but not worth the purchase price unless you want more books with titles such as, "All Marketers Are Thieves", "All Marketers Are Sleazy", and "All Marketers Are Pond Scum". If Seth makes a lot of money at it this time I'm sure he'll keep going back to the same well. (If you recall, I covered his comments at the DMA conference back in October when he declared all marketers are spammers. Perhaps he was giving us a preview of his new writing strategy.)

I'll tell you what. Save your money and borrow my copy of the book.

~~ Review by the author of the e-book, "How To Build and Manage Your Brand (in sickness and in health".)
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