Welcome to the book tour for All Marketers Are Liars, with Seth Godin!
First question: I recently commented on an article that viewed the primary objective of marketing as "changing customer behavior." I think you would say (paraphrased) that the real objective of marketing is to tell a remarkable story. Seth, can you comment on the difference here?
I agree with your take... that changing consumer behavior is an end product, but not something that you can profitably focus on (you wrote: "You can say, 'I want to be loved.' But being loved comes naturally as a result of being loveable, or being loving. Wishing will not get you where you want to go... but taking action and initiating a cause will generate the desired effect.")
Here's how far I take it in my book: I believe that almost all marketers do not have enough time or enough money to get people to change their minds. In order to get someone to change her mind, you've got to get her to admit that she's wrong. And people hate to admit that they're wrong. What we're seeing instead is a two step process:
- tell stories that match beliefs that people already have. If I believe that politicians are crooks, then telling me a story about a politician being a crook is a pretty idea to sell.
- make those stories retellable. In other words, people who believe a story are likely to tell their friends. THEY have the leverage and the time to change minds (sometimes). Not you.
So, take for example UFO abduction. There are a bunch of people pre-disposed to believe conspiracy theories, government cover-ups, deux ex machina explanations, etc. Those folks are likely to believe the UFO abduction story. The next step is that, wide-eyed, they tell their friends about what happened. They go for regression hypnosis to prove it to their friends. Slowly, the word spreads. Yes, this is a ridiculous example, but, when you think about it, so is getting people to spend more than the price of gasoline on bottled water...