Aaron Wolfson's Reviews > All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works - and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All

All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin
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it was amazing
bookshelves: business, favorites, marketing, non-fiction, own, psychology, storytelling

This book builds on Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by showing that every remarkable product needs a story worth talking about. In many cases, we don't even buy the products themselves -- we buy them because of how they make us feel, because of the story it lets us tell ourselves.

Every story needs to be framed for a specific worldview. The story of Fox News is framed for conservatives who feel betrayed by mainstream media. The story of fancy watch or car is framed for people who feel important, powerful, and accomplished -- they're willing to spend more than they "need" to on these items.

Most importantly, the story has to be authentic. It can be a lie, but 1) it has a to be a lie that benefits you and your customers, and 2) you have to live the lie in everything you do. Otherwise, if the lie is harmful, or you aren't living up to it, your customers will know. If you tell a story that your restaurant is a hidden gem with amazing food, but then you start slacking on quality when you get popular, you're now a fraud. And frauds get found out.

This is a great way to think about marketing, and you can practice it on any product or service you run across. Why did you buy that? How does it make you feel? What worldview of yours is its story addressing? Does it make you want to tell your friends? Why or why not?
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Reading Progress

March 30, 2014 – Shelved
March 30, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
September 16, 2014 – Finished Reading
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: business
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: favorites
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: marketing
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: non-fiction
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: own
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: psychology
September 17, 2014 – Shelved as: storytelling

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Steve (new)

Steve This strikes me as both clever and cynical at the same time. Interesting stuff, Aaron, and a great review.

Aaron Wolfson Thanks Steve! It does seem cynical, but I'd say it's actually realistic. There's a lot of research to back up the idea that we aren't nearly as rational as we like to think, and that our purchasing decisions follow that same pattern. Godin is a genius at understanding how this works.

One of his interesting points that I didn't mention is that some people will buy a $30 bottle of soap that isn't any better in reality than a $1 bar soap. It doesn't smell better, or make you cleaner. Godin's claim is that the product is only a *souvenir* of the experience you had buying it -- how buying it made you feel. That's why you're willing to pay more for a luxury good that seemingly has no purpose.

message 3: by Steve (new)

Steve Thanks for the reply, Aaron. I can see why Godin is viewed as an expert.

Your soap example reminds me of a similar story I heard in an econ class, explaining something they referred to as price illusion. The example was a bottle of perfume with an asking price of $3.29. Nobody bought it. When they raised the price of that same bottle to $49, it sold out. Nobody thought an inexpensive bottle would be any good.

Aaron Wolfson Totally, Steve, there is a lot of psychological goings-on with purchasing behavior.

I have heard similar things about doing freelance work and buying software. In addition to changing your belief about product quality, paying a higher price actually makes you value the purchase more.

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