Reviewed by Jill Stover, Undergraduate Services Librarian
Known to many as a maverick of the marketing world, Seth Godin has no shortage of bold ideas, irreverent humor, and innovative marketing advice. His latest book All Marketers are Liars is a thought-provoking and fun read about what motivates people to buy. Godin asserts that a sound product is not enough to give companies an edge. After all, products can easily and quickly be copied and improved upon by competitors. What is much more difficult to imitate is the story behind a product that captivates consumers' imaginations.
Godin suggests that consumers tell stories, or "lies," to themselves about how a product will improve their lives, their looks, their image, etc. in some way, so that they are not really buying products, but stories. One example Godin uses is that of a wine glass maker who sells his hand-blown glasses for large sums of money because people believe that the glasses actually make the wine taste better, even though there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the claim is true.
According to Godin, marketers can and should play a role in crafting these stories. Despite what the title suggests, Godin doesn't advise marketers to lie, but rather to tell authentic tales about their businesses that resonate with their consumers' worldviews.
While I found the book to be a bit redundant, Godin writes in a conversational tone that makes All Marketers are Liars a quick, enjoyable read. If you like the book, you may want to read others by Godin including Purple Cow, Permission Marketing, Free Prize Inside, and the upcoming The Big Moo (October 20, 2005).