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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
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
The books starts out with a few main points: different people share a "worldview"- find a common worldview and figure out how to reach that group (and sell to them) by telling them a "story". The "story" consists of lies that people who share that worldview tell themselves to feel comfortable in the world. For instance - "food products labeled as organic help me live longer"... Its not necessarily a lie but its a view shared by many people who value their longevity (a shared worldview)... And that group of people will believe it whether or not organic-labelled food will actually help them live longer.
I've simplified his main idea, I think, and I didn't do it very well... that IS his main idea though. Its simple... pretty brilliant. However, the first 30 pages in the book tells it all, I believe. I don't think its necessary to read the rest... about halfway through the book, I'm finding some repetition of the main ideas...
Additionally, I'm having trouble getting through the rest of his book b/c of his writing style... its somewhat "conversational". He writes as if he is talking to a live audience. Which is fine... if you hear a speech, it is easy to follow the speakers line of though because lack of phrases and complete sentences are compensated by tone of voice and voice pitch. Its okay to be grammatically informal if you're talking aloud to someone else - rises and falls in the voice, emotion, even facial expression, help you follow the ideas. But on paper, I'm finding this way of writing hard to follow. His ideas are already somewhat complex and need a lot of explanation... so the writing style makes it harder to understand...
Reading this book is exhausting. I don't look forward to reading the rest.
If you have a background in business, it likely that you will find this less than exemplary in relevant information. If you are new to business and marketing, this is a great way to introduce and start thinking around the topics in creative ways.