The Absolute Truth About Marketing
Monday, December 26, 2005
  All marketers are liars!
Seth Godin is a shameless self-publicist, second only to Tom Peters of "In Search of Excellence" fame. Seth, like Tom, can spin a good yarn. They can make a lot from a little. He understands marketing to the extent that he understands how to market himself. He's a 'speaker'. I've known many 'speakers' who claim to be marketing gurus on the basis of their own ability to self-promote. I saw him in action in the dot com boom/bust cycle. He took a concept we direct marketers have used for decades and rebadged it and voila: we got "permission marketing". Seth's books are "best sellers". One was 'best-selling marketing book of the decade". But my bullshit meter buzzes when I see 'best seller', knowing as I do how to manipulate publishers' statistics to create a best seller. Now all the above sounds like I'm down on Seth. I am not. I admire his gall. His latest book is called "All MArketers Are Liars!" But on the back of the flyleaf it says "Marketers Aren't Really Liars... It's the consumers who are liars..." Just where is this spin spinning us to? What is the pea and thimble trick?
I won't let Seth off the hook: the title of his book proves its point. Seth's title lies about its content. Seth the marketer in this context is a liar.
I believe, after 25 years in the front lines of marketing, that all marketers are liars. And that the ones who have the guts to tell the truth will win big time in future. (More next blog)
 
Comments:
I totally agree, Michael.

But I think there is an even deeper problem. If retailers, for example, spent 1 percent of their advertising budgets on delighting customers (and staff) without the expectation of return, the world would be a better place. The trick is to find a marketer who truly believes in the power of simply being nice to people above the profit motive. I'm not talking about donating to charity. There are many well-meaning marketers who do that. I'm talking about re-visiting the essence of customer service. "Thank you so much for your business!"...said with appropriate eye contact and sincerity. I guess it's more of a staff development issue than a marketing one. But aren't the two intertwined? I can't remember where I heard this, but a saying I have never forgotten and try to live by (and get my clients to think about)is..."It's not what you say. It's how you make me feel that's important." Whoever grasps the essence of customer service will probably never have to advertise.
 
Thanks for your comment. Mary Kay Black told her distributors that everyone in the world wears a little invisible sign around their necks. The sign says “Make me feel important...”
 
Hey, I do agree with you on one thing. Seth Godin's books are the biggest load of crap this side of "Memoirs of a Geisha".

(I tried to read the book on my wife's recommendation but got bored after about 10 pages and recently wasted 2 hours of my life seeing the movie with my her to "make it up to her" after some ill defined wrong doings. Being a good spouse is not always easy.)

Some of my favourite marketing books are

1. Eat the Big Fish

2. Hey Whipple, Squeeze This!

3. The Art of Looking Sideways

4. A Smile in the Mind

5. Creative Advertising

6. The Hero and the Outlaw

7. Thinkertoys

8. A Whack to the Side of the Head Card Set

9 Advertising Today

10. Rewind - 40 years of design and advertising

Most of them aren't specifically marketing textbooks but can really help with the creative thinking needed to get your brain going.

Any one of these will offer you something you may not already know. Don't waste your time on Seth. He is an empty headed fool, who is probably earns 20 times what I do a year...
 
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