Review of All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin

March 15, 2007

Superb book. Short but to the point. Simple but strong message

productAll Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin
14:13 on Mar 15 2007 by Mr C
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I read this book cover to cover in less than a week (a new record for me). It’s one of those books that just clicks with you instantly. You feel like a lot of what he is saying is obvious but taken as a whole, it tells a compelling story.

The timing of my reading was apt considering the sub-title is “The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World”. The recent attempt by some in the blogosphere to create a buzz around “Snakes on a Plane” (aka SOAP) was a perfect example of how to get it wrong. Many have commented that the viral marketing approach used to create a grassroots groundswell of good will about this movie was a failure considering the mediocre takings at the box-office on its opening weekend.

Those who were part of the alleged viral attempt still claim success, if by success you mean not generating much revenue. Seth himself made some good comments on the movie saying the best way to succeed is still to have a really great product.

But Seth’s book has got me in a different mind-set and the one thing I noted about the whole SOAP “campaign” was that I felt I was being played. At no point did this feel like genuine enthusiasm for a crappy B-movie. This was no bunch of teenagers hanging out in Bebo, it came across as a bunch of mature bloggers trying to prove a point. The louder they screeched, the more I avoided anything that even mentioned the movie. The failure was not just one of product quality, it was one of authenticity.

I’ve learned some simple powerful lessons from the book, particularly about framing stories to match world views and believing the story you are telling. This is a great book, worth reading even if you never intend to sell anything to anyone but want some good insights into the lies we all tell ourselves to make sense of our world.

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