What Stood Out To Me From All Marketers Are Liars By Seth Godin
Hi readers! I finally finishing reading All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin. It is the first book I read from this author, and I am glad to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the arguments that were presented all throughout. There is no doubt that I will soon start reading his earlier book called Purple Cow, as I am curious to hear more about what he has to say.
After letting the text sit, the idea that stuck with me the most was that of marketers performing a storytelling task more often that we like to admit. In fact, the action of “telling the correct story” can indeed summarize the purpose behind the many steps that are undertaken in the development of an integrated marketing communications campaign. What do we mean by “telling the correct story”? I will refer you to my favorite Doctor Who quote in order to illustrates the idea better: “We are all stories at the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”
We all have a story that we tell ourselves, and it includes everything that has ever been recording in our heads: All of our past experiences, perceptions of different concepts, perceptions of how these concepts relate or interact with each other, our criteria of what is good, bad, or evil; and more. This concept is called a worldview, and we utilize it when shaping ourselves in order to create our own stories, and become the people we aspire to be. At the end, we all indeed want to “make it a good one, eh?”
Consumers are often trying to be the best version of themselves to their own level of consciousness. However, since they can have very different levels of consciousness and worldviews, they are often attracted to different ideas, and perceive concepts in a different manner. It is the marketer’s job to tap correctly into worldviews that a certain amount of consumers share in order to effectively influence the way that these consumers perceive the product, service or brand that is being marketed. This is why companies’ narrow down to target audiences — it helps them define the shared worldviews that they will later attempt to tap into. The alternative would imply trying to change the already existing worldviews that consumers have — which more often than not proves to be incredibly expensive, if not next to impossible.
Coinsidently, consumers behave irrationally because they often care more about the story they are creating for themselves than about their own commodity. This is, they put more attention into how their perception of the product or service makes them fit into their own versions of reality, than about the actual benefits, and sometimes even the quality, that the product or service offers. An example that Godin points out in the book is that of women avoiding minivans because of its soccer-mom connotation; in spite of its cost effectiveness and practicality. If consumers don’t think the product fist right with their particular story or identity, there is a chance they’ll prefer a less cost effective alternative that does. This is why blind taste tests undertaken in order to improve the flavor of processed food formulas don’t necessarily achieve a higher number of product sales every time they are implemented. In this increasingly irrational society, the effect that marketing activities have on the sales of a product are almost as large as those of its actual attributes. However, there is a little detail in this “story telling” process that makes or breaks the entire campaign, and this is genuinity.
If the story a brand tells is truthful, or the company does not follow its promises all throughout, the brand becomes fraudalent, and its entire reputation falls appart for good reason. Consumers will rely on the details in order to judge the genuinity of a brand’s story, and it is then that the brand will have the chance to prove the value of tis word. This quality of implementation is what often separates succesful brands from the rest, and also what the majority them fail at. Creating the story is easier than following its words all throughout. Nevertheless, we can all agree than the later makes all the difference.