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Book Review: All Marketers Tell Stories

Dear Reader,

I LOVE spring in Tennessee. On top of some of the most beautiful weather in the country, the afternoons are warm enough to sit out in the back forty and read while smoking my pipe. Spring and summer are when I get most of my reading done for that very reason. I don’t read a lot in the winter because if I am inside, I feel the strong draw of the keyboard.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I am mostly a marketer disguised as a developer. I still get to write code every now and then but most of what I write these days are blog posts, articles and presentations. Having come to this realization, I decided that if I am going to get any better at it, I need to learn something about marketing, thus a trip to the local bookstore was in order. (Ok, a trip to the local bookstore is always in order in our family.)

The book I selected and have just finished reading is “All Marketers Tell Stories” by Seth Godin. I will admit that I’ve known of Mr. Godin (may I call you Seth? thanks) for a while now after having seen his “Purple Cow” on my boss‘ desk one day. (Most everything I pretend to know about marketing and everything I know about communities, I learned from Mark)

This is not a new book – the original copyright is 2005 – but it is still a valuable book. The premise of the book is that marketers tell stories, consumers believe stories and the best stories get repeated. This is the basis for Seth’s worldview of marketing, telling stories people can believe, want to believe and are wiling to repeat. I love this concept.

It was while I was reading this book that the lovely and talented Kathy arranged a family outing to the Jack Daniel’s distillery. I was only about 1/2 through the book at this point but as I took the distillery tour I began to identify the story being told me. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. People drink Jack Daniel’s whiskey over other brands, because they want to connect with the history. The Jack Daniel’s story is a beautiful one, I won’t spoil it for you but even if you don’t drink, if you find yourself in the area, I highly recommend the free tour. Many serious whiskey drinkers (yes Scott, I’m looking at you) pan Jack for one reason or another. However, it is still an immensely popular brand. I now believe that that is due in no small part to the story they tell those who drink it. Yes, IMHO, it is a fine tasting whiskey and the Single Barrel Jack is even more so. But the connection with the history, the story they tell and the way they tell it is a large part of the brand’s popularity.

It was on that tour that things came together for me. I began to see the stories being told at Jack Daniel’s and then by other brands. I looked at the brands that I purchase (Dell over HP, Samsung over Sony, Southwest over Delta, etc.) and I began to see the stories they were telling me that made me a customer. I also could look at other brands I don’t buy and see why their stories don’t resonate with me.

If you are into marketing or even just interested in marketing, I highly recommend this book. (I also encourage you to purchase it from your local bookstore but if you are going to buy from Amazon anyhow, please click on the links above or the ad below so I can feed my “Jimmy Buffet” habit.) This is a great book. I don’t know if Seth’s other books are as good, the reviews I see around the net seem to indicate that they are. I may pick another one up soon. (Right now I’ve got another book already queued, that’s the downside to having a family that loves books and bookstores)

Until next time,
I <3 |K