Sell Buzz 07/05

Honest marketing, free stuff for small businesses and more
Magazine Contributor
Writer and Author, Specializing in Business and Finance
2 min read

This story appears in the July 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In his new book, All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World, marketing guru Seth Godin sounds off on the value of truth in marketing:

Why do you say that all marketers are liars?

Godin: You can't give customers the whole story. There isn't time. And they don't want to hear that their SUV gets 12 miles to the gallon and pollutes the environment. Successful marketers tell the story customers want to hear.

What's the most important message in your book for growing businesses?

Godin: The average consumer will see 5,000 marketing messages today. There is almost an infinite number of replacements for what you sell.

That sounds pretty discouraging.

Godin: No! If you have the guts to tell a story people want to hear, you'll stand out from the big guys. For example, a painter gets called for a price quote. When he gets to the house, he stops and puts linen booties over his shoes. That tells a story about attention to detail. Even though he wasn't the cheapest, he got the job.

How do we know what story we should tell?

Godin: If the guy who put on the booties was a slob, his story wouldn't last. Instead, use your marketing to tell an authentic story-one that you can live. One that your customer wants to hear. That's when you win.

Quick Pick

For growing businesses in search of some great marketing ideas, Duct Tape Marketing is a worthwhile online pit stop. In addition to a small-business newsfeed, the site offers free samples of sales letters and marketing plans as well as free press-release writing shareware. There are articles on topics like generating referrals and avoiding marketing blunders. The site's blog is updated regularly and delivers timely, relevant information and recommendations for small-business marketers. Of course, you'll also find the requisite e-newsletter. There's enough helpful free info that you probably won't mind that the site also hawks its creator's book and consulting and coaching services.

25% of

college students have received ads on their cell phones;

only 5%

remember who sent the ads.
Statistic Source: Ball State University's Center for Media Design

10% of

small-business owners have included blogs in their marketing plans.
Statistic Source: "The HP 2005 Small Business Survey"

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