All Marketers Are Liars

Summary Written by Chris Taylor

The Big Idea

Who’s Listening?

"Worldview is the term I use to refer to the rules, values, beliefs and biases that an individual consumer brings to a situation."- All Marketers Are Liars, page 32

Have you ever re-read a book, or seen again a familiar piece of art and, suddenly, it means far more to you than it ever did before? Is it not a little odd that something unchanging could have such a different impact on you than it did before?

The phenomena taking place is a shift in our worldview. Through experience and story, our perceptions on the world alter over time. In The Opposable Mind, Roger Martin called them “Lenses”. Whatever name you give them, that fact is that we’re all walking around with our own personal – and truly unique – skewed view of the world. In regards to any specific topic, issue or product however, many of those “skews” will run very similar, creating a shared worldview. That worldview is a market for whatever it is you’re looking to sell (incl. yourself for a job position, your cause while you collect donations, etc.). It’s a market of people that may have nothing in common other than that shared worldview.

The secret to utilizing this “market” is to break through their unconscious filters (where they’re ignoring everything that doesn’t matter to them) by telling a story that appeals specifically to them. Stories – specifically stories that connect on a personal level – are the fastest way to reach a new potential customer.

Insight #1

Frame it

"Frames are the words and images and interactions that reinforce a bias someone is already feeling."- All Marketers Are Liars, page 41

Worldview thinking is a radical shift from traditional marketing theory. Instead of thinking in terms of demographic details (age, income, geography, education, etc.) we’re now grouping of people by mindset on a particular topic or aspect of life. That said, we still need to be conscious of how we’re positioning our message to this group. As Godin points out, there are three factors that we need to address: Attention, Bias and Vernacular (page 37). Here’s a snapshot look at each:

Attention: Think about your ideal customer. What’s her worldview? What’s important to her? What would make her sit up and take notice? Realizing we need to do something remarkable to capture her attention, let’s focus on the story that appeals specifically perfect for her.

Bias: Biases exist long before we get there. Past experience – both joy and disappointments – will color her view of new messages. Remember, you don’t get final cut on your story; the audience will always put their own spin on your message, regardless of how cleverly you craft it. Be aware of that and see if you can incorporate those biases in your story.

Vernacular: What language makes sense for this worldview? What words, style, font, medium, music, etc. is best suited? One point of mention is the importance of consistency. Authentic story telling is the only kind that lasts long term. Part of being authentic is to be consistent.

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Insight #2

Be sneeze-worthy

"Successful stories never offer the things marketers are most likely to feature: very good quality. A slightly better price. The best you can get under the circumstances. A decent commodity at a decent price. Convenience. Nice people. A quality brochure. Few defects. Industry standard warranty."- All Marketers Are Liars, page 122

In Unleashing the Idea Virus, Godin created the term “sneezer”; an individual who latches onto a new, compelling idea and shares it with all around him. If you produce a quality product, people will want to talk about it, but you need to make it easy for them. Remarkable products and services are easier to sneeze because their story is that much more delicious to share. “A little bit better” is only noteworthy to people extremely interested in that field, and even then it can slip off the radar fairly quickly.

Here’s an example. Imagine you’re really into model trains. You hang out with some other model train enthusiasts and “talk shop” with them, but generally keep your substantial volume of train knowledge out of conversation with the general public. A new type of switch that allows you to go from 3 parallel tracks to 4, while nice to have, is barely worth mention at your Train Model Monthly meeting. Until you learn that the construction of the part is actually part of an economic development project, where microloans have allowed a community in Haiti to produce the part using entirely eco-friendly material. In fact, they’ve developed whole train sets out of the material. To top it off, 20% of the company’s profits are going back to the community where the factory is located to finance the construction and staffing of an engineering school. The “4 parallel-track switch” is now sneeze-worthy. The train enthusiasts start telling people at work, and a few of them decide to buy full sets for their kids. The kids love building the cities around the tracks and tell their friends. And so on.

What makes you (and/or your company) sneeze worthy?

Perhaps what makes Seth Godin’s books so addictive is their simplicity. Typically no longer than 200 pages and focused on one idea with two or three supporting concepts, Godin’s books are as enjoyable to read as they are impactful. He’s got a new one launching next week. Stay tuned for the Goose thoughts on Linchpin, as well as our exclusive interview with Seth – all coming next Tuesday.

Read the book

Get All Marketers Are Liars on Amazon.

Seth Godin

SETH GODIN is the author of 17 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow.

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