Book Review: All Marketers are Liars Tell Stories

‘All Marketers are Liars Tell Stories’ is authored by the best-selling author Seth Godin, who is also a marketer and a public speaker. In his book, Godin attempts to reiterate the point that authenticity is the best marketing of all. In fact, he stresses that no marketer is a liar but a mere storyteller. He also breaks successful marketing into five steps and explain why those steps work. The steps elaborated by him are as follows:

Step 1: Their worldview and frames got there before you did:

Seth Godin defines ‘worldview’ as follows- ‘Worldview is the term I use to refer to the rules, values, beliefs and biases that an individual consumer brings to a situation’. Hence (he explains), that every person has a different worldview and they see the same data and come to a different decision. So advertisers cannot guess if their work will be successful or will be a failure before it is actually launched. If a story is framed as per people’s worldview, it is more likely to be believed.

Step 2: People only notice the new and then make a guess:

A consumer will not notice something old. They will only notice something if it is new, hence ‘change is necessary’. He gives a fab example to prove this point – “Have you ever caught your car odometer flipping from 999 to 1000? You may not remember ever having looked at your odometer before, but somehow, by strange coincidence, you catch it during the big change. Obviously it’s not a coincidence at all”.

Step 3: First impressions start the story:

This one is my favourite. He explains that every buying decision that a consumer makes is made in an instant. Quoting the author ‘These snap decisions affect everything we do, and we’ll bend over backward to defend them later’

Step 4: Great marketers tell stories we believe:

According to Godin, a successful marketer narrates a story that consumers already believes in. And the story takes shape as per a consumers experience with the product/ service. 

Step 5: Marketers with authenticity thrive:

He explains how genuine interactions have an impact. Godin stresses that to change a story that a customer is narrating, you have to indulge in a personal interaction! Hence he explains that your retailers must not be ‘script readers’ but humans who engage in direct instant-messaging conversations with the customers. Lines like ‘That’s all I can do, that’s our policy’ is a negative and automated interaction.

Further in the book, Seth Godin talks about how one can compete with stories narrated by their competitors? How to make your customers narrate your story? How to change a worldview? And other elements that can help you become a master storyteller.

I would recommend this book to marketers who are struggling to weave a good story and are stuck somewhere in completing their narrative. I personally like the book because it logically gets into the psychology of a customer who is none other than us ourselves.

– Radhika Nandwani

after being a student of mass communications, radhika took a plunge into the public relations profession and media relations, working with a leading PR firm. she was a founding team member of india's top best media pr school - SCoReRadhika is the Corporate Communications Advisor at Dell’s Performance Analytics Group. She started her career in 2011, with one of the leading public relations firms of India – MSLGROUP, specialising in technology brands. The campaigns executed by her while at MSL, have won several public relations industry awards including SABRE and PR Week Asia. In her last role, she was the founding team member and the marketing communications manager at SCoRe. Radhika is an English graduate and holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. She loves reading and is passionate about gender equality, food and Bollywood. She can be reached at @RadhikaNandwani on Twitter and here on LinkedIn.

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