Archive | October 2012

All Marketers Tell Stories – Only Losers Lie


Marketing is a game where the liars lose and storytellers succeed. In All Marketers Tell Stories, Seth Godin uses his distinct voice and clever wit to tell a story about stories. Godin takes readers on a journey into the mindset of the consumer, and reveal how stories inspire action – but not just any story, their story.

It starts with a lie. The lie consumers sell to themselves, and the lies they share with others. “We believe what we want to believe, and once we believe something, it becomes a self-fulfilling truth.” This insight allows us to understand the psychology of want. Consumers are irrational, and driven by what they want more often than what they need; facts become irrelevant in the face of belief.

Consumers may be great liars, but marketers don’t win by lying, they win by simply telling a story that the consumer chooses to believe. “The only way your story will be believed, the only way people will tell themselves the lie you are depending on, and the only way your idea will spread is if you tell the truth.”

Stories are the essence of connection, and a great story stems from the truth. The truth isn’t necessarily factual, but rather something that remains 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.” The price of a lie is simply too high to not tell the truth. “Once fooled, a person will never repeat your story to someone else.”

The art of storytelling began when humans needed a way to communicate with each other and understand the world they live in. “The best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of the audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.”  Godin calls this concept a worldview – the lenses people use to determine whether or not they’re going to believe a story. Worldviews consist of rules, values, beliefs, and biases, which lead people who see the same data, to make different decisions.

Every consumer has a different worldview. However, the great thing about worldviews, is that it’s never constant. “A worldview is not forever. It’s what the consumer believes right now.” That’s where authenticity comes in to play. Though the consumers’ believes may change over time, BJ’s must remain consistent, and authentic in order to build trust over time. To break through the clutter and connect with consumers, the key is to “frame your story in terms of that worldview, and you will be heard.”

People build relationships with brands the same way they build relationships with other people. When a consumer finds someone who shares his or her worldviews, a connection is made. “Marketing succeeds when enough people with similar worldviews come together in a way that allows marketers to reach them cost-effectively.”

You don’t get second chances at making a first impression. “In order to survive the onslaught of choices, consumers make snap judgments.” Godin ultimately takes us on a journey designed to give marketers a better chance at making a great first impression.

Once people make up their mind about something, once they believe things a certain way, they lock themselves into that story. “The pieces of the story come together in an instant and the story is told.” Anything contradictory will be ignored, resisted, or even attacked. That’s what a first impression is. A first impression is the first story about the brand that the customer believes is true, and once it happens, it’s almost impossible to change, because it’s beyond the marketer’s control. “You’re not in charge, you can’t control the conversation.”  However, marketers can control how they portray themselves to spark the conversation.

In a modern society where most needs are met, all that’s left are wants. What humans want more than anything else, is to live their story. To experience our life as a story, to have a story, and to share that story with the world.