In my conversations with most people, a big majority seems to have the perception that to do marketing one needs to lie. Many people think marketing is to lie to customers and to trick them to buy products or services. I strongly differ on this since Marketing is basically satisfying humans needs and wants.
I have decided to post a simple summary on this matter which is based on a book written by Seth Godin entitled “All Marketers Are Liars”
These summary are adaptations from various sources commenting on the book.
Three main ideas have to be understood
Source: All Marketers Are Liars Summary
- Marketing is about telling stories that people want to believe in.
- It’s important that we want to believe in a story, because of the way our brains work.
- While fibs (untruths) can make a story better, you should never cross the line to fraud
- Successful marketers tell stories people want to believe in.
We live in a world where people buy what they want, not what they necessarily need. Most of us have bought a designer piece of clothing, sportswear, device or even food from a certain brand, not because of the quality (which is something we keep telling ourselves), but because of the way it reflects our beliefs and view of the world.
- You have to want to believe in a story, because that’s how your brain works.
Our brains don’t like chaos and randomness.
Stories help us make sense of the world, so whatever we want to believe in, we end up doing so, because our brains start to support our beliefs, and not the other way around.
- Fibs can improve the customer experience, while fraud always hurts your authenticity.
A fib is when you tell your spouse you had a late meeting, when really you were out shopping for their birthday present. It’s an “honest lie”, because you tell it to improve their birthday experience, not with mean intent.
If you believe those Nike’s to be the most comfortable shoes you’ve ever worn, well guess what, they become just that. Fibs are okay to use on occasion, as long as they genuinely improve the experience.
Frauds however, are a whole other topic.
For example, when VW lied about the amounts of CO2 their cars emitted, key people, including CEO Martin Winterkorn, lost their positions, their stock went down the tubes and they had to recall 500,000 cars. Consumers always catch fraud, it’s just a matter of time.
Lessons from the book.
Source: 10 Truths from all marketers are liars, by Seth Godin.
CUSTOMERS DON’T BUY A PRODUCT, THEY BUY A STORY
“Stories make it easier to understand the world. Stories are the only way we know to spread an idea. Marketers didn’t invent storytelling. They just perfected it.”
ALL MARKETERS TELL STORIES
And if they do it right, we believe them. We believe that wine tastes better in a $20 glass than a $1 glass. We believe that an $80,000 Porsche is vastly superior to a $36,000 Volkswagen that’s virtually the same car. We believe that $225 sneakers make our feet feel better—and look cooler—than a $25 brand. And believing it makes it true.
A GREAT STORY IS TRUE
“Not true because it’s factual, but true because it’s consistent and authentic. Consumers are too good at sniffing out inconsistencies for a marketer to get away with a story that’s just slapped on.”
GREAT STORIES DON’T APPEAL TO LOGIC, THEY OFTEN APPEAL TO OUR SENSES
Pheromones aren’t a myth. People decide is they like someone after just a sniff. And the design of an Alessi teapot talks to consumers in a way that a fact sheet about boiling water never could.
GREAT STORIES MAKE A PROMISE
“They promise fun or money, safety or a shortcut. The promise is bold and audacious and not just very good – it’s exceptional or it’s not worth listening to.”
EVERYONE IS A LIAR
“You are a liar, and so am I. We all lie to ourselves because we are superstitious. We use stories to fill the gaps in information that comes to us throughout the day. The stories are lies to make it easier to live in a complicated world. We tell ourselves stories that couldn’t possibly be true, but believing them is what allows us to function. Marketers are Liars because the people demand them to be.
Marketers tell stories and consumers believe them. Some do it well, others not so much. But the truth is the consumer needs a good story in order to feel good about making a decision. It’s just natural to buy something from someone telling a story, it’s become part of the norm. People can’t handle the truth, so marketers lie.”
MARKETING IS ABOUT SPREADING IDEAS
Marketing is about spreading ideas, and spreading ideas is the single most important output of our civilization. Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese have died because of bad marketing. Religions thrive or fade away because of the marketing choices they make. Children are educated, companies are built, jobs are gained or lost — all because of what we know (and don’t know) about spreading ideas. If you care about the future of your company, your non-profit, your church or your planet, marketing matters. Marketing matters because whether or not you’re in a position to buy a commercial, if you’ve got an idea to spread, you’re now a marketer.
CONSUMERS WANT TO CREATE AND BELIEVE THEIR OWN STORIES
“This is a hard less for a lot of marketers to learn. It’s easy to tout your features, focus on the benefits, give proof that you are, in fact, the best solution to the problem. But proof doesn’t make the sale. Of course, you believe the proof, but your audience doesn’t. The very fact that you presented the proof makes it suspect. If a consumer figures something out or discovers it on her own, she’s a thousand times more likely to believe it than if it’s just something you claim. ”The facts are irrelevant. In the short run, it doesn’t matter one bit whether something is actually better or faster or more efficient. What matter is what the consumer believes, the story they tell themselves.”
MARKETING IS STORYTELLING
“The story of your product, built into your product. The ad might be part of it, the copy might be part of it, but mostly, your product and your service and your people are all part of the story. Tell it on purpose.”
STORIES HAPPEN FAST
“They engage the consumer the moment the story clicks into place. First impressions are far more powerful than we give them credit for. Great stories match the voice the consumer’s world-view was seeking, and they sync right up with her expectations.”
Marketers are not liars, we are just great storytellers
We tell you what you want to hear