Book Notes – All Marketers Tell Stories – Seth Godin

This is one of my informal book summaries. Every book that I read is turned into notes. I like to reflect on those notes every so often depending on what is going on in the world and what other articles I’m writing.

Page 1 through 5

We have been telling stories forever. People like stories. People connect with stories.

Use stories to tell your message. Your audience will not only understand it better, but it will give them an emotional investment in what you are telling them.

Remember the story about Reigel’s wine glasses. He told people their wine would taste better – and it did, but only because they believe him and his story.

Page 6 through 10

This section reminds me of “Start with Why” and goes back to the premise of people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

They are envisioning how your product will make them feel.

They don’t care so much about the features, they care about the story.

Page 10 through 13

Telling a great story:

  • A great story is true.
  • Great stories make a promise.
  • Great stories are trusted
  • Great stories are subtle
  • Great stories happen fast
  • Great stories don’t appeal to logic, but they often appeal to our senses
  • Great stories are rarely aimed at everyone
  • Great stories don’t contradict themselves
    • This is all true for a person’s character as well. DOn’t be a walking contradiction.
    • Practice what you preach
  • And most of all, great stories agree with our world view.

Page 14 through 21

Your story must be genuine.

Your story may not resonate with everybody, but if you put it out there enough, it will reach the right people.

“This is what makes it all work: a complete dedication to and embrace of your story”

Page 23 through 27

In 2003, pharmaceutical companies spent more on marketing and advertising than they spent on R&D. Marketing is more than selling a good product. It is the product.

Some marketers focus so hard on the facts of their offering that they forget to tell a story at all.

This keeps going back to the story!!! And it makes so much sense. Build a good story and people will read it.

Page 28-29

How marketing works

  1. Their worldview and frames got there before you did.
  2. People only notice the new and then make a guess.
  3. First impressions start the story
  4. Great marketers tell stories we believe
  5. Marketers with authenticity thrive

Some people will only listen to part of your message before making an opinion.

Some will only care about how the logo makes them feel.

Some will only care about price.

Page 34-35

You need more than a good product, you need a powerful story.

Page 40-41

Don’t try to change someone’s world view.

Simply find a population with a certain worldview and frame your story in terms of that worldview.

You aren’t going to change people’s minds.

Think about frames and worldviews.

Worldviews are the reason that 2 people can look at exactly the same data and come away with different conclusions.

Page 51

The power of frames:

“Firearm Safety” is different from “Banning handguns”

“Fanatical right-wingers” is different from “People with deeply held beliefs”

Speaking to a person’s worldview is the price of entry to get their attention. If you frame a message in a way that goes against their worldview then you may as well be invisible.

Page 58

Attention, bias, and vernacular

Attention: The most precious commodity. Get people to pay attention and you really have something.

Bias: People don’t want to change their worldview. They like it, embrace, it, and they want it to be reinforced.

Vernacular: Now that you have people’s attention and you share their worldview, the words you use become extremely important. Use euphemisms as needed to enhance your connection with your audience.

Page 64

You don’t always need to focus on the center of the bell curve. Look at the beginning and end for people who are searching for something.

Think of your customers as a community rather than a market.

They share stories with each other an dhave relationships.

People are wired to try to find common ground with each other. Find this common ground and you can spread your message much more easily.

Step 1: every consumer has a worldview that affects the product that you want to sell. That worldview alters the way they interpret everything you say and do. Frame your story in terms of that worldview, and it will be heard.

Page 76

Talking about “idea virus” and this is imilar to my thoughts on the way our minds work when we are thinking. A new or old thought pops into our heads and we spread from one thought to the next.

This also happens when talking to others.

Page 77

If something isn’t “new” we ignore it. (The frog and the fly)

Once we notice something, we start looking for the cause of it. (Window breaks -> we look for a golf ball) (The ipod shuffle not seeming random)

Then we predict what will happen next. If we are right, we go back to ignorming.

Once we have developed this story in our heads, it is almost impossible to change our minds, even with data.

Step 2: People only notice something that’s new and different. And the moment they notice something new, they start making guesses about what to expect next.

Page 85

Most purchasing decisions are made instantaneously.

You don’t get much time to tell a story.

In order to survive the onslaught of choices, consumers make snap judgements.

Remember that the consumer is establishing their snap judgement based on the worldview that they have.

We have no idea when the first interaction is going to happen and that’s why authenticity matters so much.

Page 94

Humans are able to make extremely sophisticated judgements in a fraction of a second. ANd once they’ve drawn that conclusion, they resist changing it.

Page 101

Consumers buy stuff they don’t need, and that is why our storeis are so important.

People buy things based on the way it makes them feel.

“We don’t need what you’re selling; we buy what we want”

Step 4: stories let us lie to ourselves. And those lies satisfy our desires. It’s the story, not the good or the service you actually sell, that pleases the consumer.

Page 106-107

Remember the story about banquet and how they made crock pot bags to have a “dinner at home with family.” These weren’t any healthier than eating out, but made people feel good about cooking.

Lingerie store – they need to leave their store feeling better than when they arrived.

Questions are about story telling, not commodities.

Subtlety and truth matter. Lead your audience to the conclusion without telling them exactly what they should think.

Page 127

Doing the right thing pays off.

Be authentic.

Tell true stories.

People can spot a liar.

Page 148-149

The best stories promise to fulfill the wishes of a consumer’s worldview:

  • A shortcut
  • A miracle
  • money
  • social success
  • safety
  • ego
  • fun
  • pleasure
  • belonging
  • etc…

Successful stories never offer “quality” “Price” “warranty”

Page 186

4 reason a new release fails

  1. no one noticed it
  2. people noticed it but decided they didn’t want to try it
  3. people tried it but decided not to keep using it
  4. people liked it but didn’t tell their friends

If they won’t share it then there is something about the story that makes them uncomfortable about sharing it with others.

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