Traffick - The Business of Search Engines & Web Portals
Blog Categories (aka Tags) Archive of Traffick Articles Our Internet Marketing Consulting Services Contact the Traffickers Traffick RSS Feed

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Why I Hope People Will Read Seth's Book: "We Refrain from Hyperbole and Make No False Claims"

There are certain business books out there that you really worry about, because they do such a good job of unlocking certain secrets that you know your business might suffer if others get ahold of it (notwithstanding C.B. Macpherson's, Tim Sanders', and Herbert Marcuse's hopes that we'll all adopt "abundance thinking," reject the standard view of "modernity/liberalism as trade-offs," and turn into libidinally rational "lovecats"). There have been a couple I purposely haven't reviewed on this site because they are handbooks that explain how to build a certain type of business. Why tell people how to compete with you?

Then there is other powerful knowledge that you wish everyone knew about, like all the sensible work being done today on usability and web standards. I guess it's just a bit over the top to be so competitive that you hope your competitors' sites will continue to suck. The powerful idea of a positive user interface experience overwhelms any selfish view that somehow your company will out-UI the others over the long haul. Sure, get a couple years' lead on your competitors. But expect that they'll eventually iron out their foolishness by investing in that side of the biz.

Godin's new book, All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World, is knowledge anyone in my business hopes will percolate out to at least our immediate environment: companies trying to do a better job of inspiring customers to buy. "Liars" is a bit of a misnomer. Godin actually shows that the best companies tell a great story. The most successful people, period, have always told a great story. The backdrop of an evocative narrative is like the set for a feature film or Broadway comedy. I guess in showbiz they call this "production values." Without the backdrop, you're just a bunch of crazy kids doing improv. That won't work, unless that in itself is the story.

Many online marketers still don't understand that they need to tell any kind of story, let alone a great one. Godin marvels at the power of the story behind Kiehl's, which sells lotions and cosmetic products with insanely high markups. This is one of a few central examples in the book. For fun, while preparing to work with one of their competitors (to boost their online sales), I wandered over to kiehls.com. Now that site tells a story. Sure, you might be saying, but do their product pages convert? Sure, you'd want to understand how to make these pages compelling and usable, but it wouldn't be enough on its own. 38 bucks for sunscreen. If consumers are just shopping for a good deal, you have no hope of converting them. So it's that backdrop, that story, that conversion environment, that lays the foundation for a long-term business success.

With the right approach to myth-making (this doesn't rule out authenticity and basing your story on solid facts, as Godin stresses; in fact, he counsels talented myth-makers to use their power wisely), everything else falls into place more easily. Smaller companies can build on "little stories," like being in business for six years, or a physical location... anything is better than nothing. The power of telling authentic stories, for example, will be one of the things that really drives the growth of local search in the coming years. Very small companies will have ample opportunity to capitalize on their "touchability factor."

Certain master storytellers (liars in the good sense, because customers are complicit in wanting to believe there is something larger behind that pair of $200 jeans) can really clean up.

The challenge of doing this well is so great -- historically, the world has been divided into successful leaders and businesspeople who can tell great stories, and the failed ones who can't -- there is no risk in broad dissemination of Godin's powerful teaching. The more businesses work to create these value-enhancing stories, the easier it becomes for those assigned to specific marketing tasks to hit their targets. Why? Because your customers aren't rational (thank God).

Then there is always the counter-view that says that we're all immoral bullshitters who will likely burn in hell. A full review of Godin's book and some related works is forthcoming in this space (unless I'm lying).

Posted by Andrew Goodman




View Posts by Category

 

Speaking Engagement

See Andrew Goodman speak at ClickZ Live New York

Need Solid Advice?        

Google AdWords book


Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.

And for a glowing review of the pioneering 1st ed. of the book, check out this review, by none other than Google's Matt Cutts.


Posts from 2002 to 2010


07/2002
08/2002
09/2002
10/2002
11/2002
12/2002
01/2003
02/2003
03/2003
04/2003
05/2003
06/2003
07/2003
08/2003
09/2003
10/2003
11/2003
12/2003
01/2004
02/2004
03/2004
04/2004
05/2004
06/2004
07/2004
08/2004
09/2004
10/2004
11/2004
12/2004
01/2005
02/2005
03/2005
04/2005
05/2005
06/2005
07/2005
08/2005
09/2005
10/2005
11/2005
12/2005
01/2006
02/2006
03/2006
04/2006
05/2006
06/2006
07/2006
08/2006
09/2006
10/2006
11/2006
12/2006
01/2007
02/2007
03/2007
04/2007
05/2007
06/2007
07/2007
08/2007
09/2007
10/2007
11/2007
12/2007
01/2008
02/2008
03/2008
04/2008
05/2008
06/2008
07/2008
08/2008
09/2008
10/2008
11/2008
12/2008
01/2009
02/2009
03/2009
04/2009
05/2009
06/2009
07/2009
08/2009
09/2009
10/2009
11/2009
12/2009
01/2010
02/2010
03/2010
04/2010

Recent Posts


Internet Archiving Illegal?

Google Typo, or Getting Ready to Drop the Price?

Again with the New Bottles... and Only $580 Mil!

But Will They Come?

The History of Search Engine Strategies

TIME's 50 Coolest Sites

That Giant Scraping Sound: Li on Job Search

WTF Watch, Cont'd

Craigslist, Meet...

The Portal Threat to Verticals (and how to beat it...

 


Traffick - The Business of Search Engines & Web Portals

 


Home | Categories | Archive | About Us | Internet Marketing Consulting | Contact Us
© 1999 - 2013 Traffick.com. All Rights Reserved