Seth Godin has written a book titled “All Marketers Are Liars“, meaning all marketers are storytellers. They do not tell the whole truth and nothing but. It isn’t their job. The job of a good marketer is to sell you a story that you can relate to. A story that will create a brand, a movement, a want. The marketer wants you to remember the product when you are looking for a solution to a problem, and wants to assure you you’ve made the right choice when you are having second thoughts about money spent.
The marketer’s job is to create perceived value, that is greater that the worth of the manufacturing.
Think of Zappos – Zappos created immense value to their customers through exceptional customer service. Zappos isn’t about the shoes. It is about happiness.
Think of McDonald’s – the king of fast food is not about the quality hamburgers. It is about very accessible burgers. Just look at how hard the marketers are working to change the perception of the company to understand how powerful your company’s image is.
Now think of the generic DVD player you bought from an unknown Chinese provider. Why did you buy it? Because it is cheaper, and you couldn’t find anything remarkable in any of the other products. Quality of picture is the same, they all display Divx movies, they all have a USB plug, they all break after six months. So you bought the cheapest one.
Without perceived value, you can only fight for price and the race to the bottom will kill a business.
All Marketers Are Storytellers
This week on TED, Rory Sutherland explained the job of a marketer with grace and a lot of humor. Also, he tells an unbelievable story of the branding of a morning cereals. A square turned into a diamond, becomes much tastier!
Don’t Lie To Me!
In Israel there are four Internet Service Providers, which are basically the same. They give the same crappy service, the same bandwidth offerings, and the same prices more or less. It’s hard to tell exactly, because your price depends quite a bit on how much you are willing to haggle with the sales person.
Yesterday I got the monthly bill from my ISP, and on the back of the envelope there was a poll result about who is the the most valuable (i.e. cheapest) ISP. In order to get an answer, they called many households and asked them who they percieve as the most valuable.
No facts were harmed doing the creation of this poll. And a shame it is, since this particular question (who is cheapest) is really easy to answer. The worst thing you can do is have your customers catch you, as you try to pull one out of a hat. If you are tainted as a liar, nothing you say will change that for a very long time.