I really enjoyed Hugh MacLeod’s interview with Seth Godin (two great reads who read great together). And it was especially interesting to hear about the frustration Seth feels when people sometimes don’t get what he means.
This reminds me of some of the flack he caught when his book All Marketers Are Liars was released. Now, I’m quite sure Seth knew exactly what he was doing when he titled the book (students of headlines take note). But I think he might have been caught off guard when some people didn’t get the real points within the pages (like the reviewer from Publisher’s Weekly).
Good marketers aren’t liars, except to the extent all people are—because we all lie to ourselves constantly. We want to hear stories that fit our existing world views, whether those views are accurate or not. And we want to primarily satisfy emotional needs, because ultimately that’s where we all seek happiness and contentment.
And we also want stories that help us make decisions without an actual full analysis of all relevant data. It’s the only way we can function psychologically in the extraordinarily complex information environment we call everyday life.
Good marketers tell (and live) authentically true stories about what they sell so people can essentially lie to themselves in order to buy it. It all boils down to that.
That may not by crystal clear to all, so here’s some homework that will give you everything you need to get it and become a master storytelling marketer:
1. First, Read The Story Factor by Annette Simmons
Inspiration, influence, and persuasion through the art of storytelling. This could be the most important book you ever read as a businessperson and blogger.
2. Next, Read Influence by Robert Cialdini
Unless you already have a background in psychology, this book will challenge your assumptions regarding humans as purely rational beings. Pay particular attention during the first chapter, where Cialdini explains how all the subsequent influence categories work due to our own desire and need for mental shortcuts (officially called judgmental heuristics).
3. Now, Read All Marketers Are Liars