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All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works--and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All [Paperback]

Seth Godin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 24 2012
Seth Godin’s three essential questions for every marketer:
“What’s your story?”
“Will the people who need to hear this story believe it?”
“Is it true?”
All marketers tell stories. And if they do it right, we believe them. We believe that wine tastes better in a $20 glass than a $1 glass. We believe that an $80,000 Porsche is vastly superior to a $36,000 Volkswagen that’s virtually the same car. We believe that $125 sneakers make our feet feel better—and look cooler—than a $25 brand. And believing it makes it true.
As Seth Godin showed in this controversial book, great marketers don’t talk about features or even benefits. Instead, they tell a story—a story we want to believe, whether it’s factual or not. In a world where most people have an infinite number of choices and no time to make them, every organization is a marketer, and all marketing is about telling stories.
Marketers succeed when they tell us a story that fits our worldview, a story that we intuitively embrace and then share with our friends. Think of the Dyson vacuum cleaner, or Fiji water, or the iPod.
But beware: If your stories are inauthentic, you cross the line from fib to fraud. Marketers fail when they are selfish and scurrilous, when they abuse the tools of their trade and make the world worse. That’s a lesson learned the hard way by telemarketers, cigarette companies, and sleazy politicians.
But for the rest of us, it’s time to embrace the power of the story. As Godin writes, “Stories make it easier to understand the world. Stories are the only way we know to spread an idea. Marketers didn’t invent storytelling. They just perfected it.”

Frequently Bought Together

All Marketers Are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works--and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All + Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable--Includes new bonus chapter + Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends And Friends Into Customers
Price For All Three: CDN$ 46.97

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Advertising's fundamental theorem-that perception trumps reality-informs this dubious marketing primer. Journalist and marketing guru Godin, author of Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, contends that, in an age when consumers are motivated by irrational wants instead of objective needs and "there is almost no connection between what is actually there and what we believe," presenting stolid factual information about a product is a losing strategy. Instead, marketers should tell "great stories" about their products that pander to consumers' self-regard and worldview. Examples include expensive wine glasses that purport to improve the taste of wine, despite scientific proof to the contrary; Baby Einstein videotapes that are "useless for babies but...satisfy a real desire for their parents"; and organic marketing schemes, which amount to "telling ourselves a complex lie about food, the environment and the safety of our families." Because consumers prefer fantasy to the truth, the marketer's duty is to be "authentic" rather than honest, to "live the lie, fully and completely" so that "all the details line up"-that is, to make their falsehoods convincing rather than transparent. Troubled by the cynicism of his own argument, Godin draws a line at deceptions that actually kill people, like marketing infant formula in the Third World, and elaborates a murky distinction between "fibs" that "make the thing itself more effective or enjoyable" and "frauds" that are "solely for the selfish benefit of the marketer." To illustrate his preferred approach to marketing, the author relates a grab bag of case studies, heavy on emotionally compelling pitches and seamless subliminal impressions. Readers will likely find the book's practical advice as rudderless as its ethical principles.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Seth Godin is the author of more than a dozen bestsellers that have changed the way people think about marketing, leadership, and change, including Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, All Marketers Are Liars, Small is the New Big, The Dip, Tribes, Linchpin, and Poke the Box. He is also the founder and CEO of and a very popular lecturer. He writes one of the most influential business blogs in the world at

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Laura De Giorgio TOP 100 REVIEWER
The ideas in this book are not new - they revolve around the core of successful marketing, around positioning and creating a story about your business that revolves what is at other times called a unique selling proposition, how is what you are selling different than the similar products by other sellers.

The book is ultimately about creating your story, not just verbally but through the whole experience a potential buyer has with you, your company and your products. In other for the story to work it has to be authentic.

We create stories all the time, both as buyers and as sellers and in every area of our lives - they are part of selling, advertising, seduction, court-room, healing, and any form of inter-personal relationships. In the TV series "Shark", the lawyers begins instruction of his assistants with the words "Truth is relative. Choose one that works." This is true in any area of our lives, including in marketing.

We meet someone and we begin to weave stories in our minds out of the information we have and the information we don't have we fill in with whatever seems appropriate to us. When we buy products we may buy stories offered by the company manufacturing the product or we may create our own, according to our own beliefs and experiences (or lack of experience with anything similar).

The seller may weave the story around selling a kefir that says Hunza people live healthy and long lives - over 100 years old - from eating kefir and the buyer may translate the story that if he were to eat kefit, he will also have a long life - never mind all the other differences in lifestyle of people who have long and healthy lives.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very good story May 21 2005
All marketers tell stories, and if they do it right, we believe them. But the interesting part is that by believing the story the story becomes true. That is the premise of Seth Godin's latest book All Marketers Are Liars.
Nike tells a story of athleticism, of competition and excelling - and with that story they are able to sell a $150 shoe that is not far different than the $20 no-name running shoe you can buy at Wal-Mart. Apple tells a story of being creative and edgey and hip and are able to dominate the digital music market, despite other companies offering players that are not only technically better but are cheaper to purchase.
Seth argues that it's not the Nike shoe or ipod that satisfies our desires - but rather it's the story. Tell a good enough story and you can claim a premium on what you offer. Tell a good enough story to the right people and you will see the sales come through. The story doesn't have to necessarily be true but it must be authentic and consistent. The emperor can very happily walk stark naked through the streets and the people will for years talk about how spectacularly he was garbed.
I would have prefered if Seth offered up a few hard numbers, perhaps a case study of a company that did well by telling their story well versus one that bombed due to a lack of a consistant or inauthentic story. But then, Seth isn't here to present cold hard facts, but rather to tell a story of his own. If you've been following the story about marketing that Seth began laying out in Permission Marketing and has continued to develop through The Ideavirus, Purple Cow and Free Prize Inside, then you will definitely want this latest chapter. Seth's story is one that all marketers should know.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Marc May 5 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wonderful, insightful with unique perspectives. Thank you Mo for these ideas. Many aha moments and realizations that are definitely worth spreading. As I proceed through my project, I've already started applying these concepts. The book is a masterful recount of the delusional brilliance and disruption that is Seth Godin.
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5.0 out of 5 stars seth godin does it again Nov. 23 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this is a great book , seth writes in a plain spoken style that is not dry or boring , a ctually it is the opposite , everything is layed out in a clear manner but enough about that .. this book is amazing . end of story .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect buy Nov. 4 2012
By Jem D.
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I bought this book as used, and it came to me in mint condition, more than what I expected for it to be. I pretty much paid less for more with the quality that it was in.

This is a must buy. Also a good read as it entails details within the marketing world, and the rather sly and ingenious ways that the marketing world utilizes in order to tell a "story".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Marketing is Storytelling May 29 2011
By SBuckle
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you're a marketer worth you share, you should already know that storytelling is central to your job; that good marketing means crafting a good story in all facets of the business. Whether you're developing an approval deck or a quarterly campaign, stories allow people to latch onto something, because utility rarely sells. Godin writes about the obvious stories about products and services marketers tell. The consistent and authentic ones are picked up, embraced - whether totally true or not - and spread.

Initially, I had a difficult time juggling the term "liar". Godin tries to explain and reclaim the word, but I wasn't buying in. Later in the book, he admits that he chose the word to sound extreme; that he wanted to tell a story about the book to the fringe and hope they re-tell the story enough that it makes it's way into mass. In other words, when telling a story you need to start where the worldview will easily embrace it. From there, if the story is authentic and consistent it will make it into the middle to become digestible by others (because others already live it). I particularly like this notion of segmentation rather than aiming for mass right away (Alex Wipperfurth talks about this too in his book, "Brand Hijack: Marketing without Marketing").

The book itself is an easy read - two to three sittings is all you need. The book does a good job of reinforcing rather than teaching the need of telling a story about a product or service. Like most of Godin's books, it's solid read for any marketer about a practice we should already be practicing.
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