All Marketers are Liars

The american poet Muriel Rukeyser once wrote “the universe is made of stories, not atoms.”  I think Seth Godin would agree.  I recently finished his book All Marketers are Liars Story-Tellers.  The quick read helped to firm up a few thoughts I already had about marketing in a noisy, complicated, always-on, always-connected world.  Here’s two simple points from the book that stood out to me.  I’m sure you can share many more.

#1: Successful marketers tell stories people want to believe in.

According to Godin, creating a product is only half the battle.  If we want to succeed, we have to capture people’s attention in a way that makes them want to buy the product.  We must tell a story that people want to believe in – a story that fits the way our target audience views the world.

We drink the can, not the beverage.
~Seth Godin, All Marketers are Liars

When it comes to marketing it’s not about the features as much as it is about the story.  That’s why successful marketers go beyond reciting the features.  They go beyone a comparison, a set of features, a new and improved list.  When marketing works, it inspires us.  It tells a story that we WANT to believe.

In my opinion Apple is a master at this.  Rarely do their ads describe features and improvements.  Instead their ads tell the story – a story of a life we want to live.  Apples balloon ad brilliantly carried out this tactic.  The feature was the new expressive features of Apple’s iMessage.  Essentially this was animated text messages – adding an effect to a text message.  So, how did Apple market this feature?  Did they showcase the feature?  Describe how it was better than competitor’s features?  Of course not, they told a story.

The story was simple.  A long distance relationship.  And the story was one we all want to believe in – Love.  No features, no explanations – just a story we want to believe in.

#2: Marketers with authenticity survive

Inventing stories doesn’t work.  The stories we chose to tell about our products must be real.  Godin writes, “The authenticity of the story determines whether it will survive scrutiny long enough for the consumer to tell the story to other people.”  There are only two things these days that separate success from failure in most organizations: inventing stuff worth talking about and telling stories about what you’ve invented. The difficult job of making up great stories is the imperative of today.  The only stories that work and spread are those that demand to be repeated. By being authentic and remarkable, the story will be believed.

So, the job of the marketer is to discover the story, not to invent it.  The real, authentic story that resonates with the consumers is the story that will be believed and repeated.  Authentic marketing, from one human to another, is extremely powerful.  It’s this authentic story that consumers believe that creates attention.

So, these are just two of my take aways for All Marketers are Liars  Tell Stories.  What about you?  Have you read the book?  What was remarkable to you?  What are your key take aways?