Allmarketers_2This provocative titled book is not all that provocative when one starts reading it and digesting the ideas. Seth brings in a lot of  examples, anecdotes to illustrate 5 key points which resonate through out the book

They are

  • Customers worldviews got there before you did
  • People only notice new and guess
  • First impressions start the story
  • Great marketers tell the story they believe
  • Marketers with authenticity survive

Why tell stories while marketing products and services ?
One of the first reasons is to spread ideas and ideas spread faster if there is a story element to it. Also, in the age of media glut where every brand is trying to vie for customer’s attention, how else can a product catch the attention of the customer with out a story element.
Customers worldviews got there before you did
People only notice new and guess

Customers are used to telling stories and narrating stories to one another.Its a natural thing to do for them. Hence as a marketer one needs to understand the world view of the customer and then weave a story in that context. The world view affects three things attention, bias, and vernacular. A few examples of world view

  • New technology can improve my life
  • If I were prettier, I would be more popular
  • If its a prescriptive medicine , then its safe
  • All carsales men are liars
  • I like opera
  • Physical therapy will cure me faster than surgery
  • Lets party
  • Dont tell me shallow stories about consumerisms, spend, spend. Talk to me about the inner values, quality and life

As you can see , world view is not a community . The size of each set of people who hold the world view differs. Its the job of marketer to look at the world views , create new products which address the unmet world views.

What is a great story ?
First impressions start the story & Great marketers tell the story they believe

  • Great story is true
  • Great story makes a promise
  • Great story is trusted
  • Great story is subtle, 
  • Great story happen very fast
  • Great story often dont appeal to mind, but appeal to senses
  • Great story is rarely aimed at everyone
  • Great story doesn’t contradict itself
  • Great story is in synch with the customer’s world view

World view comprises rules, values, beliefs, biases that the individual customer brings to the situation. Frames are elements of story that are used to paint the customer’s world view

How should a great story be told ?
Marketer should frame his story in such a way that it concurs with the world view. Very few products have managed to change the world view of the customer (ipod, Napster, etc). The other means of narrating a great story is by creating easy to pass on metaphors for the products/ services, creating purple cows. creating a context / ambience so that story is resonated through them in a subtle way

Whom should be the story told to ?

In the creation process, the story must be ingrained in the minds of engineers, creators so that story becomes a part of the product. In the distribution process, the story needs to pitched to customers, evangelists,early adopters etc so that it is passed on, there are enough market conversations about the product.

Where should the story be told ?

The story needs to be told at every touch point with the customer, be it website, be it the customer rep, be it the packaging of the product. Every effort should be made to see to it the story , product tie each other perfectly.

At the end of the book, one cannot fail to notice the power of storytelling in creating world class brands and successful companies. The examples mentioned in the book make a superb list of case studies for anybody interested in marketing his/her product through storytelling.Interesting ones that I can recall from the top of my mind are Starbucks, Riedel Wine, Amazon, iPod, BestBuy, Mac, Littlemismatch, SouthWest, Kiehl since 1851 , Ralph Lauren,Blue Nile, woot,com, Uk Travel agency  – Lunnpoly, Whole Foods .  There are umpteen other riffs and rants in the book which make it a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Here is the mind map for the  book : All_marketers_are_liars3_3