Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Personal MBA Update "All Marketers Are Liars" by Seth Godin - Alas, another update on my quest to complete the Personal MBA. If you are interested in learning what the Personal MBA is all about check it out here and begin your quest of self education. This is the second book I have read by Seth Godin in a matter of weeks and although it wasn't as enthralling as Tribes, it was a good book nonetheless and definitely a must read for marketers.
Seth Godin delivered yet another well thought out book that detailed the realities of the new world we live in. The book talks about how marketing has and continues to change the world. The main premise is that all marketers are liars. Well kind of. Actually the main premise is that marketers are storytellers that are most effective when they tell the stories that we want to believe. The book basically reveals that marketers aren't liars as the title would foreshadow, they are merely storytellers. It is the consumers that are liars, and they are merely lying to themselves. And those liars are willing to pay for a story or experience that enables them to believe the lie they are already telling themselves. It is pretty intriguing really.
Once again, Seth lays out the book in a myriad of chapters that somehow coherently intertwine and portray the main points and concepts he wishes to illustrate. I took a lot of notes and I think that, although it wasn't my favorite work of his, I got the overall point of the book; the story if you will. Here are the notes from the book.
- Either you will tell stories that spread or you will become irrelevant
- Marketers lie to the consumer because consumers demand it
- Marketers profit because consumers buy what they want not what they need
- Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose to believe
- People only believe the story and lie to themselves if you tell them the truth
- This is what makes it all work in complete dedication to and embrace of your story
- Marketing is about spreading ideas and spreading ideas is the single most important output of our society
- How marketing works (when it works)
1. Their worldview and frames got there before you did
2. People only notice the new and make a guess
3. First impressions start the story
4. Great marketers tell stories we believe
5. Marketers with authenticity thrive
- You the marketer are not in charge
- Marketing succeeds when enough people with similar worldviews come together in a way that allows marketers to reach them cost effectively
- Worldview affects:
1. Attention 2. Bias 3. Vernacular
- People clump together into common world views, and your job is to find previously clumped and frame a story for those people
- Speaking respectfully to a persons world view is the price of entry to get their attention. If your message is framed in a way that conflicts with their worldview you are invisible
- As a marketer you can no longer force people to pay attention
- People don't change their world view. They like it. They embrace it. They want and reinforce it.
- A worldview is the lens used to look at every decision a person is asked to make
- The desire to do what people we admire are doing is the glue that keeps our society together. Its secret ingredient in every successful marketing venture as well
- Every consumer has a world view that effects the product you want to sell. That world view alters the way to interpret everything you say and do. From your story in terms of what worldview and it will be heard.
- When we encounter something for the first time we compare it to the status quo. If its not different we ignore it
- Tree frog example
- In the face of random behavior people make their own lies
- People only notice stuff that's new and different and the moment they notice something new they start making guesses of what to expect next. Step 2
- You don't get much time to tell a story
- Most job interviews end in less that five minutes. That is why speed dating works.
- In order to survive the onslaught of choices consumers make snap judgements in a fraction of a second and once they've drawn that conclusion they resist changing it. Step 3
- Are you a marketer? I think you are. Every day all of us market. You re just not good at telling stories yet
- TV era marketing = advertising Today marketing = storytelling
- Stories only work because consumers buy what they don't need. When a person really needs something like food water shelter, they care about the essence of the purchase. When hungry the food is more important than package
- People buy stuff because the way it makes them feel
- But is utility of the product the main way people share their desires? No Way!
- Stories let us lie to ourselves and those lies satisfy our desires. Its the story not the good or the service that pleases the consumer. Step 4
- Banquet crock pot example pg 86. They tell the story that crock pot stuff is a family healthy meal not its a bunch of stuff preserved by chemicals, frozen, and reheated
- Growth starts with better questions, about storytelling not about commodities
- You don't just get to sit down and make up a story and expect people to believe it because you want them to
- In order to be believed you must present enough of a change that the consumer chooses to notice it. The process of discovery is more powerful than being told the right answer
- Expectations are the engines of our perceptions
- Stolen speakers lie at Harvard story on page 92. Company sold speakers out of the back of a van and sold a ton to students who believed they were getting stolen speakers at a discount. They were regular speakers that the store purchased.
- Speaker story unethical? People say we should buy products and services because of what it does instead of things we need to be told stories about. But we buy overpriced designer jeans, eat at trendy restaurants, etc.
- Storytelling works when it actually makes the product or service better
- A fib is based on facts, a fraud is based on little or nothing
- Just because people might believe your story doesn't give you the right to tell it
- Marketing isn't the problem, marketing is just a tool, people are the problem
- "The good new is clear: 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 do her customers. A story works combined with authenticity and minimized side effects builds a brand (and a business) for the ages."
- Belief in the lie must not harm the consumer because it if does you'll run out of consumers and credibility far too soon
- You don't get to make up the story. It happens with or without you
- The goal of every marketer is to create a purple cow, a product or experience so remarkable that people feel compelled to talk about it
- Once fooled a person will never repeat your story to someone else
- If you aren't authentic you get the benefit of 1 sale not 100
- People don't want to change their minds
- Some senses count more than others but all senses matter. Its the combination that convinces the skeptical consumer
- The problem is that once the consumer has bought someone elses story and believes the lie, persuading the consumer to switch is the same as persuading him to admit hes wrong and people hate to admit they are wrong
- Tell a different story!
- You cant just use any story. You cant just tell a selfish story from your point of view. You cant just invent an inauthentic story or tell an amazing story when the reality is banal
- The only stories that work, the only stories with impact, the only stories that spread are the "I cant believe that!" stories. These are the stories that aren't just repeatable: these are the stories that demand to be repeated
- You succeed by being an extremist in your storytelling, then gracefully moving your product or service to the middle so it becomes more palatable to audiences that are persuaded by their friends not you!
- That is why he chose the title of the book
- Your goal should not (must not) be to create a story that is quick, involves no risks and is without controversy. Boredom will not help you grow
- There are no small stories. Only small marketers. If your story is too small its not a story its an annoying interruption
- Little miss match socks example. Company sells only mismatch socks to young girls. Its a story worth taking about
- Sirius radio got Howard Stern and broke traditional radio for millions of listeners
- If cheap is what you want you can buy cheap cheaper somewhere else. Cheap is not marketing
- Blue Nile diamond example. They market to men and expose the lie of a Tiffany's
- Nothing is static. Nothing stays the same as it was and everything you build or design or market is going to change the marketplace
- Four reasons why your new release fails:
1. No one noticed it
2. People noticed it but they didn't want to try it
3. People tried it but they decided not to keep using it
4. People liked it but didn't tell their friends
- Most of us have a very simple default frame: if its not remarkable or exceptional, ignore it. If someone tries to sell you something decline
- I'm just looking
- The same bias that pushed them to try your product is pushing them to try someone else's tomorrow. Persuade that it is the answer to all their prayers
- Google AdWords finds and pairs the marketer with the right worldview
- Dancing on the bar example. The bar made the bar shorter and made discreet handles to grab on the ceiling. Simply putting a sign that said dance here would not work. People dance on the bar and tell all their friends what an awesome time they had at that resort
- Do you have a storytelling plan?
- Which worldview are you addressing?
- Which frame are you using?
- What is the story that is worth noticing?
- How will you live your story?
- What hard decisions are you willing to make in order to keep your story real pure and authentic? Compromise is the enemy of authenticity
- What are the shortcuts your fans can use to tell the story to their friends? How can you help them frame that story?
- How can you radically change your product or service so the story is natural and obvious and easy to tell?
- Whats the value of your permission asset?
- "I was lying to you when I named this book. Marketers aren't liars. They are just storytellers. Its the consumers who are liars. As consumers, we lie to ourselves every day. We lie to ourselves about what we wear, where we live, how we vote and what we do at work. Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose to believe. A good story is where genuine customer satisfaction comes from. Its the source of growth and profit and its the future of your organization. This is what makes it all work: A complete dedication to and embrace of your story."