Takeaways from “All Marketers are Liars”

Last time I was in NYC, a good friend of mine insisted I borrow his copy of Seth Godin’s “All Marketers are Liars.” Knowing I am a marketing junkie and social media geek, he felt that this book would be right up my alley. He couldn’t have been more right!

A few points I took away from this insightful book…

“Stop trying to find the formula that will instantly make your idea in the winner. Instead of being scientists the best markers are artists They realize that whatever is being sold is being purchased because it creates an emotional want, not because it fills a simple need.”

From my own experience, this could not be more true. How many times have you bought a product because you want it, and justified it as a “need”, but it’s really a “want?” Example: I decided to buy an iPad. Did I need this when I already have a Macbook and numerous other Apple products? Probably not. However, I realized I would be attending SXSW and may not want to carry around my laptop. An iPad would be perfect for this, right? I can throw it in my purse, go to the sessions I choose to attend, and then out and about afterward with ease. This definitely was not a “need” but a “want” in order to be comfortable and feel that I could take part interactively via Twitter, blogging, Facebook, etc. In addition, it’s an Apple product, which is so much “cooler” right? Furthermore, I hate being left behind in technology, and when it comes to the newest and latest and greatest, I must be a part of this right? Emotional want. Not a simple need.

The marketing team for Apple are without a doubt exceptional. They make each product cool and sleek and an immediate “want.” But how did I connect myself to this enough to purchase it when I didn’t need it? In this case, Apple made me a loyal consumer. I am a complete Mac user (convert from Dell a few years ago) and love the simplicity and ease of use of their products. The innovation is always above and beyond and makes you feel like you are in the “in group.” Does this mean I have an inner need to feel included and part of the cool group? Was this the route of my emotional want of this product? Perhaps. My point? Marketers such as Apple are able to demonstrate and create a want emotional enough within us, that we buy their product. Is this a science? Some argue yes. Godin, says it’s an art. I say, a bit of both.

Do not spend all your time on just your website. “Every point of contact” is what matters. Be consistent. Be authentic. Cover all the possible impressions and allow the consumer to make them into a coherent story, you win.

In short your story is what the consumer believes it to be. It’s not your story, it’s theirs. You, the marketer, may try to “sell a story” but in the end its the consumer who convinces themselves why they “need” such and such product. For example, in Godin’s Puma example he notes, “The way Stephanie felt when she bought the Pumas was the product. Not the sneakers…” Again it was the emotional connection to why the consumer buys the product. Maybe it will make her feel prettier. Maybe it will make him feel richer. Maybe it will make her feel thinner. Whatever the reason, there is a deeper connection to why a person chooses to buy a product, and although the marketer can do a great job at “selling” it — it’s the consumer who really “sells it” to him or herself. Case in point: my iPad.

Godin did a great job in this book and really made me think of myself as a consumer when trying to think as a marketer. In the end, we’re all selling something whether to ourselves or to someone else. Maybe all marketers are liars after all…

2 thoughts on “Takeaways from “All Marketers are Liars”

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Takeaways from “All Marketers are Liars” : Pam Sahota -- Topsy.com

  2. Great post, Pam. I love the Riedel wine glass story. George Riedel told an “authentic” lie that good wine tastes better out of the right glass. He lived and breathed the story because he really believes it and now he’s sold billions of dollars of glassware because of it.

    Great post. Your second to last paragraph was my favorite. You nailed it.