- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Portfolio; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1591845335
- ISBN-13: 978-1591845331
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (261 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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Top Customer Reviews
My only difficulty with this book is Godin use of the terms lie and liar. I understand their use and they do bring a punch to the writing, but I always have to reinterpret or redefine them to mean something less sinister. Maybe he means "Alternative Facts".
Godin’s first point that a consumer’s worldview was there before you proves to be very important in proving his argument. He describes a worldview as “the rules, values, beliefs and biases that an individual consumer brings to a situation.”(p.39) Worldviews, along with frames (“elements of a story painted to leverage the worldview a consumer already has”) govern what stories consumers will believe. To support this, Godin uses the example of the General Mills team adapting to changes in a worldview when Atkins was implemented. General Mills quickly changed their popular Lucky Charms cereal recipe to a whole grain based product and leveraged this with the same old slogan “magically delicious!” Godin exemplifies that a company, to be successful, must tell an authentic story that adheres to the worldview of an audience and if that worldview changes adaptations must be made. This, along with multiple others of Godin’s examples, successfully explains that worldviews are there before you and a story must be framed in terms of this worldview to be successful. Godin sets up the rest of his book with this idea.
Next, Godin explains that people on notice what is new, and then they’ll guess about what to expect next. His most important example in explaining this is at the very end of this chapter. He talks about how diners at the Union Square Café rave about the service. However, these customers only do this because that is what they have persuaded themselves is true. Therefore the customers get the good service they expect because that’s the story that plays in their head and their brain makes their expectations come true. (p. 84) This human tendency, as Godin successfully describes, makes it easier to trick people into believing something is new and different. Godin’s clever use of describing how the brain works makes it clear that marketers can easily tell a story that isn’t all accurate and succeed in doing so. It’s interesting to see that this behavior is so common yet overlooked in being such a huge part of what succeeds and what doesn’t.
Godin goes on to explain another human behavior, snap judgments, which affect what a consumer thinks. He realizes that people will make snap judgments when buying something and will refuse to change his mind after that initial decision. This makes first impressions, not overly important, but pretty crucial in that it is the beginning of the story, even though the time of this first impression is ambiguous. Therefore, authenticity matters in generating a story that is going to be heard and repeated. He speaks about how people get upset when they find out recycling isn’t as effective as they thought and how New Yorkers were outraged when recycling was cancelled. Godin says, “The recycling lie was subtle, multifaceted and deeply seated.” (p. 94) Which he affirms is exactly the story you want to create for a brand to last. His explanation of this further proves that people will make loaded judgments in a fraction of a second, and refuse to change it once the decision has been made and marketers must realize this to be successful. Again, it is very interesting that such a behavior of stubbornness can have such a great affect on what stories will be believed. If someone makes this judgment and believes the story they will spread it, which rises the realization that marketing is almost entirely reliant on behaviors on the consumer.
Great marketers tell stories we believe. Godin starts this chapter by engaging the audience by making us the marketer. He then offers the idea of how to get elected as president. John Kerry failed at doing this because he didn’t tell a coherent story or a lie we wanted to believe because he didn’t live his story in everything he did. This non- cohesive story was unattractive and not believable so he wasn’t elected. This example shows that telling a story that consumers will believe is very important and if you don’t do this, as Godin explains, you’ll fail. Stories allow us to lie to ourselves and satisfy our desires. Therefore, it’s the story that please us, not the actually good or service. Basically, we want a good story, and then we’ll trust the product. If marketers can’t do that, they’ll lose.
In his final chapters, Godin offers some pretty great advice to becoming a successful brand: being authentic will allow you to thrive.
Authentic marketing, from one human to another, is extremely powerful. Telling a story authentically, creating a product or service that actually does what you say it will leads to a different sort of endgame. The marketer wins and so does her customers. A story that works combined with authenticity and minimized side effects builds a brand (and a business) for the ages. (p. 129)
This passage from his book affirms everything Godin has connected to the authenticity of a story. This advice achieves tying all of his main points together and applying them to a company, brand or oneself and how any off the facets of business can be successful in adhering to authenticity. This insightful and intriguing part of his book really brings everything together.
Amongst many other things, Godin’s simple syntax and lack of hard to understand jargon, I believe, attributed to his intriguing story about story telling in the marketing world. It interesting to see that human behavior is such a huge factor in the success of storytelling and that it actually drives this phenomenon. All facets of his book combine to create an idea about authenticity and its importance to successful storytelling, concluding that the real liars are the ones who can’t achieve this authenticity. This book is interesting, exciting and, most importantly, relevant. Not to mention incredibly enjoyable!
Extremely significant is Godin's definition of the "great story."
"... A Great story is true."
"Great Stories make a promise."
Great stories are trusted."
"Great stories are subtle..."
These four sentences define the scope. It' s not easy to reach by any marketer. And, consumers need to understand their own behavior better to "... Know Your (their) power." If consumers "demand" that marketers align their products with worthy goals, the world can move toward a better direction very quickly.
I wished more marketers would read Godin's warning
"It seems like an easy out. Figure out some internally approved story that you can trot out to the sales force and use in a magazine ad, and you're set.
Actually, if you do that, you're dead..."
I am always baffled how many stories which are trying to sell an expensive program begin with the story of some character, who is completely broke and has also maxed out his credit cards, but THEN borrows money to buy this program and ends up being a millionaire twelve months later. Ha!
Godin offers hundreds of interesting example, each one with valuable information whether you work in the particular industry or buy these products, or not. Marketing today is an ever more rapidly evolving process, and good marketing people learn cross industries. Even Steve Jobs learned from Nike.
Finally, Godin hones down on what every consumer should think about before swiping the card: "The lie a consumer tells himself is the nucleus in the center of any successful marketing effort."
This book is highly recommended. In fact, it should be a must-read book for any HS-senior, to be read again five years later.
Gisela Hausmann, author of the "naked (meaning no-fluff) books