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Book Summary: All Marketers are Liars/Tell Stories* – By Seth Godin


The power of telling authentic stories in a low trust worldAll Marketers

* Godin changed the title from “All Marketers are Liars” to “All Marketers Tell Stories” a few years after it was published.  He said it was a bad idea to call your target customer a “liar”, even if the title is memorable.

“Successful Marketers don’t talk about features, ambulance or even benefits.  Instead they tell a story.  A story we want to believe.”


This book lays out the strategy behind storytelling –  Godin argues that when you look at any company, product, church, or job seeker, what you believe is much different from what is actually there.  Once you know this, everything looks different.

Focus on what people believe, and tell them a story that adds to their worldview.  Starting with the story of a guy who sells wine glasses at $20.00 each because they “make the wine taste better”, Godin outlines the essentials of telling authentic stories and gives numerous examples.  Telling stories is essential if you are going to sell people something they want, instead of a commodity they need.

Of great value in this book is that Godin moves well beyond product marketing and covers politics, charities, and issues.

Tips on creating great stories:

Great Stories make a promise – usually bold – it can be fun, or money, or safety, or a shortcut.  People buy things because of the way it makes them feel.

Don’t tell the whole story – the less you spell out, the more powerful the story can become.

Great stories do not appeal to logic, but they will appeal to our senses.  They do not contradict themselves.

Do not try and change someone’s worldview. Do not use facts to prove your case and insist that people change their biases.

To succeed, stories much fit the target’s worldview.  A frame is how you hang your story on a consumer’s existing worldview.

First impressions are essential – they start the story.

Tell stories that spread, or you will become irrelevant

Voting, or buying a product is a statement about the voter, not the candidate or product.

Underlying the importance of telling authentic stories are permission marketing, so you can tell your story, and Viral Marketing – so other people tell your story for you.

Human’s make decisions on almost no data, and then stick with those decisions regardless of information that might prove them wrong.

The first to tell the story has an advantage. Those who follow will not overcome that story.

Google Adwords is an excellent way to find specific people whose worldview, you know.

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