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All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works--and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All Paperback – April 24, 2012
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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 the Hardcover edition.
Praise for Seth Godin:
"Godin...is uniquely respected for his understanding of the Internet, and his essays and opinions are widely read and quoted on and off."
"It's easy to see why people pay to hear what he has to say."
"If Seth Godin didn't exist we'd need to invent him."
—Alan Webber, founder, Fast Company
"If your idea, or issue, or candidate, or product isn't catching on, you haven't been reading Seth Godin."
—Micah Sifry, cofounder, Personal Democracy Forum
"Godin is endlessly curious, opinionated, and knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. He is a relentless marketer…and also a clear-eyed visionary."
From the Hardcover edition.
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What's written in the book will help your marketing mindset tremendously.
Pros: Well-written with level-headed, actionable insight; a fun, entertaining read. Profound implications for branding professionals: the brand essentially is the story.
Cons: May be a little simplistic at times; a lot of the examples are anecdotal; if you're looking for hard, quantifiable data to support the author's thesis, you won't find it here.
The breakthrough insight for branding professionals in All Marketers Are Liars comes when Godin couples marketing with framing, a theory about cognition popularized during the 2004 US Presidential election race by UC Berkeley linguistics professor George Lakoff. A "frame" is a thought construct, or more simply, a metaphor, a way of thinking about the world. Where Lakoff applies frames to choices in the political arena, Godin connects them to consumer behavior. Essentially, frames are mental shortcuts that help us make sense of a highly complex world. We all carry around dozens and dozens of frames in our mind at any time: Republican, father, mother, opera lover, Manchester United fan, designer, gamer, CEO, doctor, policeman, Californian, consultant, Dead Head, athlete, student, dieter, coffee drinker, Buddhist, film buff and so on. Many of these frames are just sweet little lies that we tell to ourselves in order to imbue life with some sense of meaning.
When we consider a frame like soccer mom, we may conjure thoughts of married women who are busy raising families full of young children, perhaps shuttling their kids to and fro in SUVs. Godin suggests that in order for a brand to hit the mark with its target consumers, the story enveloping the brand must fit the frame. Messages intended for soccer moms are likely to be ignored by hardcore NASCAR fans, unless of course the mom also likes swilling beers down at The Brickyard. Messages that don't fit a particular frame simply will be ignored. Godin's argument is that only authentic stories -- that is, stories that are true to the frame they're targeting -- will ever have a chance of making it into a consumer's consciousness. In other words, only certain stories will ever spark a consumer's attention.
Once the consumer notices the brand, then the story must ring true; true to the frame though not necessarily to reality. Whether or not the story is actually true, in a raw, forensic sense, is irrelevant. If the story doesn't fit the frame, it will not pass into the consumer's mind. If it doesn't penetrate his mind, forget about the branding. Think about a keyhole: only a key of the proper size and shape will fit and open the lock. A frame is like a keyhole. Since the essense of branding, as Walter Landor once suggested, is to create a preference in the customer's mind, the study of the mechanics of framing may be useful knowledge for branding pros to acquire. Find the story that fits the frame. After all, marketers don't choose the frames, consumers do.
In a sense, Godin's book slyly suggests that in the marketplace it's the consumers who are the liars, and successful marketers are just the ones who help them believe their own fibs. Now, isn't that the truth.
This book is a great read and I would highly recommend to everyone. With compelling collection of cases studies and stories, it relates to each one of us whether you are a marketing professional or not. It doesn't matter if you are selling soap, car or your services at a job interview; Marketing is key to success.
This book will make your think and help you tell your story in a way that fits other people's worldview.
Most recent customer reviews
If you can tell a story that people will believe than it makes it true.Read more