Daydreaming with Seth Godin – All Marketers Are Liars, part 9
The table of contents for the whole series is here.
This is the ninth part of daydreaming with discussions about Seth Godin‘s bestseller book “All marketers are liars”.
Have a look at the previous episode where we continued arguing about Seth Godin’s book and pondered upon if lie affect personality of liars and why lying marketers don’t lose their minds.
And today we are talking about the great power of marketing that can and does change the business and the whole world, and also about the virtual reality that is born by marketing approach.
Disclaimer: Everything written is this post is not true, or better to say, it is a story. Please believe it or not on your own risk.
Me: Do you know Raah, I was excited to read in Seth Godin’s book that he actually thinks of responsibility. He even asks the following question to his readers – “Marketing is a great power and implies responsibility. How are are you going to use this power?”
Raah: And what was the answer?
Me: Seth says that marketing is the power that can leverage huge impact on merely anything. It is lie a magic want – just make a good story people anticipate and there will be a commercial success. And Seth underlines that marketers can do nothing unless consumers want it.
Raah: Yes, I remember we discussed it some time ago. You did not like that Seth pushes responsibility of final decision to consumers, making marketers sinless.
Me: Yes and moreover, I said that it is marketers who create consumer’s anticipation. So marketers are making people want some stuff by creating a story, then they make up a good selling story and that’s it.
Raah: You forgot about supporting consumers’ choice by making additional stories.
Me: Exactly! It is like an advertisement of luxury stuff like expensive cars, watches etc which tell people that only really successful people can drive this kind of cars or wear this kind of watches. People see the advertisement and really feel good driving and wearing this symbols of success.
Raah: So what you want to say is that marketers are not just following people desires and make stories for them, but they create the desires?
Me: Yes. This is what Seth does not speak about it for some reason. Perhaps he just considers salesmen marketers and not strategic marketers from corporate world.
Raah: Interesting. Kind of strategic marketers create consumers’ demand by creating a stories that make people want this and that, whereas tactic marketers fulfill this demand by creating a selling stories?
Me: From some perspective it can be seen so. Thus, marketing becomes not only the follower and the fulfiller of people’s desires, but the power that changes the production world.
Raah: What do you mean?
Me: Seth Godin explains how marketing is powerful, but I see in his words the tragedy. So, in 2003 pharmaceutical companies spent more on marketing than on research and development. Seth Godin says about this key fact to prove that marketing is super important and becomes more and more important each day. But from my point of view this is the disastrous tendency.
Raah: Why is it a disastrous tendency that marketing becomes a dominant force in sales compared to production?
Me: Just imagine that companies don’t do any useful work which is research and development in this example, because it is – just listen carefully – not profitable as marketing. So why then to produce anything useful and of good quality and get little or no profit? Let’s create some mediocre or even bad stuff and just promote it with marketing with a large profit! Lie to people that the stuff is great and they will buy it!
Raah: Okay, so marketing helps to develop business by providing more sales. Tell me again why it is bad then?
Me: On a small basis it works great for an individual and unnoticeable for the whole economy. For example, if you are an individual businessman or a small company, then it is hard to stand out from the crowd. And you are too weak or have little time to create something really-really good. So marketing is a great way to make yourself noticeable then. And this is really powerful way to boost your business. But not only individuals realize it, but first of all the whole production world understand that it is much more profitable to spend on marketing than on research and development. So instead of developing the world the whole economy goes into kind of virtual reality where production is not important any longer, only image, brands and stories matter. The fake world is out there.
Raah: I remember you compared it to politics.
Me: Yes, there are too many examples how marketing and stories penetrate our world and fools almost everyone. Here is good movie on this topic – “Wag the dog”. And it could have been a fun movie if it were not too much true.
Raah: Okay, and if we return back to business now…
Me: Yes, I wanted to add that changing the core values from production to marketing also resembles me the situation when companies don’t invest in the production but just focus on their stocks price. And the stock prices hugely depend on marketing. The world goes in a trap – instead of solid judgments people and businesses focus just on stories and impression they make. Yes, it works, but on the whole this is too wrong, and not only from a moral point of view, but from economical common sense. The world built on marketing principles becomes too vulnerable for crises, because there is nothing under it – just fake stories. And moreover, it exaggerates this crisis. If you want, marketing approach to business adds to this crises. Fake financial reports, fake ratings of financial institutions, derivatives which is fake money, stock prices which are fake indicators of company’s value etc. The whole world seems to be standing on fake foundation.
Raah: Alright, let’s don’t go into world economics any more. It is too complicated.
Me: Okay, lets cut it off with the ideas from Seth Godin that we have touched today:
– Marketing is a great power and implies responsibility. How are are you going to use this power?
– Marketers have the leverage to generate huge impact in less time—and with less money—than ever before.
– Marketing is about spreading ideas.
…to be continued. In the next session we will be talking about hypnosis and what disadvantages truthful marketing has.
Feel free to speak your mind. Share with us what responsibility you carry in your marketing?