Seth Godin made a valuable point when stating, “Marketing is about spreading ideas, and spreading ideas is the single most important output of our civilization.” Godin has made several other valuable points in his book, “All Marketers Tell Stories”. He focuses on a person’s “worldview” which is someone’s own rules, values, beliefs, and biases. Even though it is very tough to change someone’s worldview, it is possible with the correct kind of marketing.
Worldviews are both beneficial yet tricky at the same time. Worldviews are the reason why our world is a diverse place. However, it is hard for a marketer to target so many people with different points of views. According to Godin, “Worldviews are the reason that two intelligent people can look at the same data and walk away with completely different conclusions.” Marketers have found a way “around” worldviews that allow them to still market their products or services. Marketers tell stories. “Consumers are used to telling stories to themselves and telling stories to each other, and it’s just natural to buy stuff from someone who’s telling us a story. People can’t handle the truth.” Seth Godin was one hundred percent right when he wrote this in his book. People cannot handle the truth, and they will do anything to go around it. In order for a marketer to truly succeed, which doesn’t happen often according to Godin, there are five steps that they need to follow.
The first step in Godin’s “All Marketers Tell Stories” is “their worldview and frames got there before you did.” He explains that the world is full of all kinds of different people with different worldviews. If everyone was the same, marketing would be a piece of cake. However, that’s not the case. Marketers need to make their advertisements accustom to everyone and their different values, biases, and assumptions. Frames are also part of the big picture. They are elements of a story painted to leverage the worldview a consumer already has. If a marketer frames their story in terms of a person’s worldview, they will be heard and noticed.
The second step Godin points out is “people notice only the new and then make a guess”. He makes a great comparison to ideas and viruses. Viruses can spread through a community by jumping host to host. Scientists study how a host interacts with the virus. The same thing goes for an idea; ideas can spread through a community person to person. Instead of seeing how a host and virus interact, we try to understand how our brain responds to the ideas and inputs we encounter.
The third step is “first impressions start the story”. People make judgments within a fraction of a second. A marketer needs to grab the attention of their audience as soon as they start telling the story or else they will lose the persons attention. A marketer should always start with something exciting and interesting, not boring. First impressions are always key.
Godin’s fourth step in his book is “great marketers tell stories we believe.” First, you have to believe in your story, or else you will not come off believable. Sounding confident and knowing what you’re talking about will draw in a bigger audience. The story sells the product and pleases the customer.
Finally, the last step is “marketers with authenticity thrive.” Godin said, “If you commit to a story and live that story, the contradictions will disappear.” No one likes a phony person because then no one will take their time to listen to your advertisement, or even buy your product or service. When a marketer is authentic, it shows, and people will stop and listen. People like hearing stories when it involves a shortcut, money, safety, fun, and belonging. These are all factors of their worldviews, and Godin said persuading someone to switch their worldview is the same as making him admit he was wrong. People hate admitting that they are wrong, and therefore will not listen to your story.
In the end, it doesn’t matter whether something is actually better or more efficient, what matters is what the consumer believes. As a marketer, it would be impossible to be noticed without studying your audience’s various worldviews. Products and services have gotten more and more complex, so there is a lot of teaching for marketers to do. Seth Godin’s “All Marketers Tell Stories” is a step in the right direction when you want to succeed as a marketer.
The content in this article is part of Digital Ethos’s Digital Media Education in the Higher Education Internship Program, the content was created by @KaylaMarzo, a Student at Suffolk County Community college, intern at Digital Ethos.
Digital Media Education Internship Program is an outreach initiative for Digital Ethos.