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Authentic Stories and Experiences Help Attract and Retain Customers
on 6 December 2008
All Marketers Are Liars is one of Seth Godin's better marketing books. If you have a choice between reading Purple Cow and All Marketers Are Liars, opt for this one.
The book is based on the observation that customers want to align with offerings and services that reinforce their positive self-images. I'm sure that idea isn't new to you. Otherwise, why would someone pay ten times as much for an item of frequently poor quality that has five cents worth of a brand image stitched into its front?
The book builds from these premises:
1. Don't waste your time trying to educate people about what their worldview should be or what your offerings are. Instead just slip into their preconceptions in a comfortable, authentic way.
2. You won't be noticed unless you fit into their worldview and seem to offer something new that they value.
3. An effective, authentic story can help you make a better and more lasting first impression.
4. Most of the future "experience" of your story will be assumed by customers who want to believe that you are what you say you are.
The book takes a little long to make those points. I found myself wishing this were a tightly edited article rather than a meandering book.
Part of Godin's "promise" to his fans is that he will "shake things up." As a result, the title is deliberately misleading to make people pick the book up . . . because ever customer has been lied to my a marketer or sales person. There's nothing new there. His "new" point for those who haven't studied marketing is that customers like a little sizzle with their steak.
If you know about the emotional value of a brand, this book is a waste of your time. If you think that people only care about product and service features, you need this book.
If you really want to learn about storytelling, I suggest you become acquainted with Stephen Denning's fine books on the subject. If you want to develop a sound foundation in marketing, see Phil Kotler's books.
If you want to be entertained without learning too much, stick with Mr. Godin.