In 2005 I purchased and read Seth Godin’s latest contribution to new age business thinking and culture and immediately was struck by it’s logic, practicality and seemingly correct vision of how we must sell our products and services now and in the future.
Seth Godin’s book, called All Marketers Are Liars – The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World, is a fun read and certainly challenges traditional thinking about marketing products and services.
According to Godin, successful companies will be those that invent good products worth talking about and then come up with good, believable stories about what they’ve invented.
Godin writes, “Make your story bigger and bigger until it’s important enough to believe.”
But here’s the catch . . . marketers can’t use just any big story.
The only ones that work and spread these days are those that demand to be repeated.
By being authentic and remarkable, a story gains credibility and becomes believable.
Marketing strategies of the past just don’t work today.
Who cares what great features and specifications product X contains?
Consumers don’t care about the facts or the realities of a product.
If they want it, they buy it.
Marketers who understand that perception is reality will market by learning first what the consumer wants, craves, and must have.
I have spoken often about doing market research first (before creating any product or service) in order to see exactly what your audience wants or desires.
These marketers will say whatever it takes to make the consumer believe that he needs $200 running shoes instead of $20 no-name substitutes (even though there is little or no practical difference between the two.)
I loved Godin’s example of the expensive sports car.
According to the author, marketers are telling us a story (lie) about the $80,000 Porsche Cayenne being vastly superior to the $36,000 VW Touareg – yet they are virtually the same car.
Another example Godin uses to make his point is the marketing approach many of us have fallen for regarding the healthfulness of eating organic products, “telling ourselves a complex lie about food, the environment and the safety of our families.”
Marketers strive to paint every prospect a mental picture that fits his own view of the world in which he lives.
When we intuitively embrace that view we believe the marketing, buy the product, and even share that same view with our friends.
Consumers prefer a good believable lie to the truth, so the marketer’s job is not necessarily to be honest but to make his stories as convincing as possible.
According to Godin, the best stories “succeed because they are able to capture the imagination of large or important audiences.”
These are the stories that: 1) are true, 2) give us a promise, 3) can be trusted, 4) are subtle, 5) happen quickly, 6) appeal to our senses, 7) don’t contradict themselves, and 8) agree with our current thinking.
I found it interesting that Godin openly admits the title of his book is a lie.
He doesn’t really believe that all marketers are liars.
The real liars are the consumers who lie to themselves about what they want, what they wear, and what they really believe.
I also found myself questioning the morality and ethics of marketing that makes up stories and paints pictures that simply aren’t true.
Let’s face it . . . no amount of pricey shampoo is going to save some people’s hair! No diet plan is ever going to turn some bodies into a supermodel’s figure.
But the insight and wisdom of Seth Godin, I am convinced, will turn your marketing to a new quest to understand the real reason why consumers buy products and services and what that means for online marketers.
Yes, this book is now over ten years old . . . but the ideas and principles that Godin verbalizes are timeless. If you haven’t read All Marketers Are Liars . . . you should!
To your online business success,