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All Marketers are Liars (with a New Preface): The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works--and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover (November 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591843030
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591843030
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Advertising's fundamental theorem-that perception trumps reality-informs this dubious marketing primer. Journalist and marketing guru Godin, author of Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, contends that, in an age when consumers are motivated by irrational wants instead of objective needs and "there is almost no connection between what is actually there and what we believe," presenting stolid factual information about a product is a losing strategy. Instead, marketers should tell "great stories" about their products that pander to consumers' self-regard and worldview. Examples include expensive wine glasses that purport to improve the taste of wine, despite scientific proof to the contrary; Baby Einstein videotapes that are "useless for babies but...satisfy a real desire for their parents"; and organic marketing schemes, which amount to "telling ourselves a complex lie about food, the environment and the safety of our families." Because consumers prefer fantasy to the truth, the marketer's duty is to be "authentic" rather than honest, to "live the lie, fully and completely" so that "all the details line up"-that is, to make their falsehoods convincing rather than transparent. Troubled by the cynicism of his own argument, Godin draws a line at deceptions that actually kill people, like marketing infant formula in the Third World, and elaborates a murky distinction between "fibs" that "make the thing itself more effective or enjoyable" and "frauds" that are "solely for the selfish benefit of the marketer." To illustrate his preferred approach to marketing, the author relates a grab bag of case studies, heavy on emotionally compelling pitches and seamless subliminal impressions. Readers will likely find the book's practical advice as rudderless as its ethical principles.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Seth Godin is the author of more than a dozen bestsellers that have changed the way people think about marketing, leadership, and change, including Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, All Marketers Are Liars, Small is the New Big, The Dip, Tribes, Linchpin, and Poke the Box. He is also the founder and CEO of Squidoo.com and a very popular lecturer. He writes one of the most influential business blogs in the world at SethGodin.com.

More About the Author

Seth Godin is the author of fifteen international bestsellers that have been translated into over 35 languages, and have changed the way people think about marketing and work. For a long time, Unleashing the Ideavirus was the most popular ebook ever published, and Purple Cow is the bestselling marketing book of the decade.

His book, Tribes, was a nationwide bestseller, appearing on the Amazon, New York Times, BusinessWeek and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. It's about the most powerful form of marketing--leadership--and how anyone can now become a leader, creating movements that matter.

His book Linchpin came out in 2008 and was the fastest selling book of his career. Linchpin challenges you to stand up, do work that matters and race to the top instead of the bottom. More than that, though, the book outlines a massive change in our economy, a fundamental shift in what it means to have a job.

Since Linchpin, Godin has published two more books, Poke the Box and We Are All Weird, through his Domino Project.

Recently, he launched The Icarus Deception via Kickstarter, which reached its goal in less than three hours. It will be available to the public in January of 2013.

In addition to his writing and speaking, Seth is founder and CEO of Squidoo.com, a fast growing recommendation website. His blog (find it by typing "seth" into Google) is the most popular marketing blog in the world. Before his work as a writer and blogger, Godin was Vice President of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, a job he got after selling them his pioneering 1990s online startup, Yoyodyne.

You can find every single possible detail that anyone could ever want to know at squidoo.com/seth.

Customer Reviews

Book is easy to read.
Martin Hassman
This book tells a story of how we as consumers want to believe the "lie" we are told regarding certain products.
D. Ciulla
I read this book in one day over a Christmas vacation.
E. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Kim Moeller on June 1, 2005
Format: Hardcover
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, Christopher Locke, Dave Snowden), who managed to go deeper and further. Mind you though that their individual approaches are very different.

Much of what Godin calls storytelling are simply elements of marketing strategy (already well know to marketers) presented here in a new wrapping called "storytelling". But just because you say so, that doesn't make it so!

Where he writes "You can't out-Amazon Amazon" and "Make your story stand out from the competition", he is simply describing the importance of positioning, and similarly it isn't 'Rocket Science' when he says "Cheap is not marketing". Rather it is leaning up against men like Michael Porter who have been discussing the inherent dangers of price competition for decades.

He does however practice what he preaches. He tells a story that his customers want to believe. It is a pleasant though that success can be achieved simply by telling cute little stories. It is however not as simple as this, which is why I suggest you explore other authors too (See above).

A point I fully agree on is that: "You must aggressively go to the edges and tell a story that only you could tell." However, I don't feel that Godin has followed his own gospel in this case. The story he tells in "All Marketers are Liars" has to a wide extent already been told by a number of other skilful authors.

He still gets 3 stars from me, because I welcome any additions to the body of knowledge available about storytelling in marketing. I believe it is a powerful tool, and it deserves wider recognition.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Larry Underwood on November 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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 delivering is really quite simple. Marketers should have a good story to tell; if it's a good enough story, consumers will repeat it, and that story has now become entrenched in our minds as "reality". Mission accomplished.

Successful marketers understand the importance of creating demand from telling a good story. However, as Godin warns, the stories had better be authentic; consumers in this day and age of social media are quick to spot the phonies. That's good news for the consumers; and should be good news for the creative marketers, who have good stories to tell. That probably explains why Twitter is becoming so popular; people like stories, especially short ones that are confined to 140 characters or less. Cutting to the chase has never been more important than it is today.

It should also be good news for Seth Godin, because his story is authentic, very witty, and most compelling. I highly recommend reading it for yourself; I honestly believe you won't be disappointed.
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59 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Book Lover on July 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I find Seth Godin's books incredibly lightweight. There is really nothing of any substance here. The usual series of marketing anecdotes, normally about quite niche products. I think the whole thing can be summed up in the old advertising cliche: sell the sizzle, not the steak. He's just given it a new word - essentially he's dressing up well-worn concepts in new clothes. The book is poorly organised and repetitive, and I think he succeeds simply because his books are so lightweight - they're easily digestible on a bus ride or plane trip, don't rely on any support for his theories so they're not easily challenged, and essentially say very little. The marketing equivalent of the airport novel.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Von Sydow Gustav on February 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
For some unknown reason my copy of Liars had been gathering dust on the shelf for quite some time and I decided to read it on a train ride to Stockholm yesterday. The book is about how (and why) to use stories to further your company's/organization's/your own objectives. The main thesis' of the books are:

1. Competitive advantages are becoming too complex too formulate in a one sentence positioning statement and people need stories to make sense of what a company is all about.

2. Stories are what makes people (irrationally) believe that some products are superior to other products. This is why people sincerely believe that a 80 000 dollar Porsche Cayenne is superior to the 36 000 dollar Volkswagen Touareg, despite the fact that they are basically the same part. We buy stories, not products.

3. Stories are what we tell other people and stories are thus what a savvy WOM enlighted marketer should aim for to maximize marketing (mainly WOM) efficiency.

4. To be effective, stories must fit the existing worldview of the target group. If it doesn't, don't try to change their worldview (because people can't be changed), change target group.

5. To break through the info clutter, one must "frame" the story in a way that makes sense to people.

The first point I buy completely. It is obviously very inspired by Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, but still worth pointing out in a marketing context (to be fair, Godin does give Gladwell some credit). The second point is nothing new at all. The use of stories is just basic branding, slightly adjusted. Regarding stories increasing the efficiency of WOM I think it's absolutely true. However, it's not like it hasn't been said before, only using different terminology (even Godin himself in "Ideavirus").
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