10 Inspirational Quotes from Seth Godin in “All marketers tell stories”

It’s such the most impressive book I’ve ever bought. The reason I choose this book is to get some relevant ideas for my undergraduate dissertation about content and creative marketing. Then it honestly surprises me by explaining the essential role and impacts of telling-story technique in gaining potential audiences’ awareness about brand and products that we want to sell. Moreover, Seth Godin has been known as a master in the marketing field, who wrote the book with quirky humour, straight-forward and logical writing style, as well as lots of helpful, practical marketing advice for generating a success story for the brand/ product. He placed a short introduction in the cover aiming to define his book as – “The underground classic that explains How marketing really works – and Why authenticity is the best marketing of all”. This blog purposes of showing my most favourite quotes taking from my bedside book (or a guideline to become a story-teller), namely “All marketers tell stories” written by Seth Godin.You’re a liar. So am I. Everyone is a liar. We tell ourselves stories because we’re superstitious. Stories are shortcuts we use because we’re too overwhelmed by data to discover all the details. The stories we tell ourselves are lies that make it far easier to live in a very complicated world… We tell ourselves stories that can’t possibly be true, but believing those stories allow us to function. We know we’re not telling ourselves the whole truth, but it works, so we embrace it.

Marketers profit because consumers buy what they want, not what they need. Needs are practical and objective, wants are irrational and subjective. And no matter what you sell- and whether you sell it to business or consumers- the path to profitable growth is in satisfying wants, not needs. (Of course, your product must really satisfy those wants, not just pretend to!)

People believe stories because they are compelling. We lie to ourselves about what we’re about to buy. Consumers covet things that they believe will save them time or make them prettier or richer… So the consumer tells herself a story, and involved tale that explains how this new purchase will surely answer her deepest needs… She was imagining how she’d look when she put a pair of $125-Puma-sneakers on. She was visualising her dramatically improved life once other people saw how cool she was. She was embracing the idea that she was a grow-up, a professional who could buy a ridiculously priced pair of sneakers if she wanted to. In other words, she was busy lying to herself, telling herself a story.

A great story is true. Great stories make a promise. Great stories are trusted. Great stories are subtle. Great stories happen fast. Great stories don’t appeal to logic, but they often appeal to our senses. Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone. Great stories don’t contradict themselves. And most of all, great stories agree with our world-view. The best stories don’t teach people anything new. Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the members of audience feel smart and secure when reminded how right they were in the first place.

Marketers aren’t really liars. They are just storytellers. It’s the consumers who are liars. As consumers, we lie to ourselves every day. We lie to ourselves about what we wear, where we live, how we vote and what we do at work. Successful marketers are just the providers of stories that consumers choose 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. And you are telling the truth when you live the story you are telling- when it’s authentic.

Marketing is about spreading ideas, and spreading ideas is the single most important output of our civilisation.

When you know the secret, things look different. I want to show you what marketing is like when it works. Here are the steps that people go through when they encounter successful marketing. Step 1: “Their world view and frames got there before you did”. Step 2: “People only notice the new and then make a guess”. Step 3: “First impressions start the story”. Step 4: “Great marketers tell stories we believe”. Step 5: “Marketers with authenticity thrive”

Sometimes marketing is so powerful it can actually change the worldview of someone who experiences it, but no marketing succeeds if it can’t find an audience that already wants to believe the story being told.

It won’t stay stable. Every message changes the marketplace. Just as in evolutionary biology, the game is always changing. The evolutionary paradox called the curse of the Red Queen states that what worked yesterday is unlikely to work today. When Alice was busy playing chess in Wonderland, the Red Queen kept changing the game whenever she moved. The same thing occurs in our marketing wonderland. One competitor makes a change and suddenly the entire competitive landscape is different. The reason marketing seems irrational and inconsistent and faddy is that it is. It is because unlike most business functions, the actions of our competitors (and our actions as well) change what’s going to work in the future. That doesn’t make it safe, but it seems to keep it interesting.

There are four reasons why your new release failed: 1. No one noticed it; 2. People noticed it but decided they didn’t want to try it; 3. People tried it but decided not to keep using it; 4. People liked it but didn’t tell their friends… Understanding why your product failed can give you an insight for next time… I believe that most of the seeds of failure are planted long before your product is even manufactured. Marketing starts before the factory is involved. If you choose the wrong story or frame it the wrong way, you lose.

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