“All Marketers Are Liars”

28 Oct 2006 (Sat)

This is not new. Seth Godin, author of six marketing bestsellers (including “Permission Marketing” and “All Marketers are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World”), gave a great talk at Google in February this year. I watched the video only this month. Can’t help but be impressed by his astute analysis and concrete examples, and yet disturbed by our collective shallowness. So here it is (00:48:01):

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Posted by J.K. in Business, Emotive, Marketing, Media, Psychology, Social, Video | View Comments |

  • http://blogs.clappingtrees.com JK

    See also the discussion in the Elgg learningspace in Me2U@Athabasca.

  • http://blogs.clappingtrees.com JK

    Notes on Seth Godin’s talk:

    Sign: “Touching wires causes instant death. $200 fine” (Newcastle Tramway Authority)
    Message: “You guys have built something for the ages… But I can give you a warning… as the stakes keep getting higher and higher… so does the opportunity to pay a $200 fine.”

    Story: Woman in casino in Las Vegas
    Message: “Superstitution is ascribing certain outcomes to incorrect behavior.”

    Message: Technology doesn’t win. What technology does is it gives you a shot at marketing.
    Story: Yahoo! losing out to Google (similar search results)
    Message: Keep the interface simple!
    Story: Yahoo! Auctions losing out to eBay (better features, reliability, speed, user interface)
    Message: Marketing success has “nothing to do with technology.”

    Two giant marketing wins:

    1. Organic growth: Make something worth talking about. Tell a story.
    2. Revenue engine: (i) Permission marketing – Anticipated personal and relevant messages to people who want to be sold to (in the right place at the right time in the way people want to get it). (ii) Demand pricing – starting from just a nickel.

    Story: Hallmark cards, 2 years, no ads, just word of mouth: people told their friends.
    Story: Fancy Feast cat food, Cat food is not for cats, cat food is for the cat owners.
    Message: “Tell a story.”

    Question: What’s your story?

    Turn the traditional sales “funnel” into a social “megaphone”: Figure out a way for people to want to tell other people what you have. You have a blue box when you are talking to people about a product which they are not interested in. (Blue Box 1)

    “It’s at the edges that people wait in line; it’s at the edges that people will notice you.”

    Emotional marketing: People buy things to tell a story, to tell their friends, to talk to themselves. So, make something worth talking about.

    Stories: Purple cow; the Hummer and the mini; mismatched socks

    “Tiffany gives the jewelry for free. The box is what they charge for.”

    Question: Are we selling a blue box? (Blue Box 2)

    Meaning is the step before action.

    Traditional TV-Industrial cycle (Web 1.0):

    1. Buy ads, hire sales force, etc to interrupt people.
    2. Get more distribution.
    3. Sell more products.
    4. Make a profit.


    Fashion Permission (Web 2.0) cycle:

    1. Make something worth talking about. If you can’t, start it over.
    2. Tell it to people who want to hear from you.
    3. They do what other people used to think of as marketing. They are the ones who spread the word; they are the ones who interrupt and tell their friends.
    4. Get permission from these people to tell about your next fashion… You end up not trying to find customers for your products, but finding products for your customers.


    Story: Hallmark greeting cards, collectibles for Christmas (Me: Now the story is beginning to feel like an experience.)
    Message: Hallmark made something worth talking about.

    Recommendations: Build your permission assets into the interface: e.g. toolbar, gmail, etc.

    “…if we build stuff that people want to hear about in the way they want to hear about it, they will want to keep interacting with us… (be a closer partner and let you tell your story, teach them…)”

  • http://www.chef-secrets.com Billy Cooke

    Everywhere I look these days theres a blog comment about this Seth Goddin guy. There apears to be no escape.

  • http://www.markmedia.org.uk Mark


    Enjoyed your comment on collective shallowness. The world is a complex place, and the things that we do to simplify our lives can be truly embarrasing.

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