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Le Storytelling en Marketing

Author Presentation

Seth Godin is an American entrepreneur, born on July 23 1960 in Mount Vernon, and a true reference in the marketing field.

He is well known for being the former head of direct marketing at Yahoo. He is also a very popular speaker and has written many books on marketing such as The Secrets of Viral Marketing, The Purple Cow and We Are All Singles: Getting Out of Mass Marketing.

On the other hand, he is at the origin of the concept of permission marketing, a concept according to which the prospect should not be rushed with too invasive advertising. According to him, the consent of the targeted people should be obtained before presenting them with an advertisement. The goal is to make the prospect adhere to his idea and to make him accept increasing levels of consent in relation to his brand or product, in order to create a relational marketing.

Seth Godin is a recognized expert in marketing. Through this work entitled Storytelling in Marketing, he tries to show us how marketers convince and make prospects appropriate the story of the product presented.

Book Context

This book aims to present how marketers use storytelling as a sales technique.

As a reminder, storytelling is a marketing technique that consists in telling stories, taken from legends or from real life, in order to promote the sale of a product or to improve the image of a brand. It is a narrative technique that allows you to capture the attention of prospects more easily.

Book Summary

The main thesis of the book is that the factual presentation of a product is not enough to seduce a customer, but that it is necessary to seek to obtain his adhesion via a story: the famous storytelling. According to Godin, consumers are delighted to be told stories and this is how marketers can reach them effectively. However, it is important to choose the right stories and know how to tell them.

The author considers that the prospect’s consent is essential in order to present the storytelling. By ensuring their consent, we ensure that they are willing to listen. From then on, it is likely that he will want to buy the product that is being presented and that he will want to tell this famous story in turn. 

Moreover, Godin explains that the marketer must be the first to believe in his or her story, to take ownership of it and even to embody it. The authenticity conveyed in this story creates a strong interpersonal relationship between the prospect and the marketer and can lead to transforming the prospect into a customer, or even a brand ambassador.

Finally, the last thesis developed in this book concerns the targets that marketers should aim at. Godin considers that it is not relevant for a marketer to address a mass of people, as television or emailing could do. On the contrary, he considers that a marketer should identify values that correspond to what he wants to promote, and then identify a small group of people who have already adopted these values. The chosen target has therefore adopted a vision of the world that will influence its perception of the marketer’s discourse. From then on, these individuals will be sensitive to the storytelling told by the marketer and will be able to communicate their enthusiasm to those around them, which will obviously be beneficial to the marketer and his brand.

My opinion about the book

I really enjoyed this book for many reasons.First of all, I really liked the author’s style. Indeed, the passages of the book are presented as successions of short texts, in the manner of blog articles. Moreover, the author is engaging, does not hesitate to confront the reader with questions bordering on insolence (Marketing, you know?) and seeks to challenge and make the reader react, which is appreciable. 

On the other hand, he does not hesitate to remind us of the concept of modern marketing, which makes his book easy to understand. He also illustrates his remarks with numerous examples, which makes it easier to understand the concepts presented. Moreover, Seth Godin does not try to articulate a complex reasoning but exposes many stories, through several angles, which illustrate his central thesis.

Also, I hope that this book has allowed me to arm myself against storytelling and not to be fooled by marketers anymore.

Finally, I enjoyed discovering how marketers used storytelling to appeal to the consumer. I also liked discovering marketing as a particular form of designing and propagating ideas, not just selling products. According to Godin, you sell a story, not a product. This is the main lesson to be learned from his work.

Nevertheless, one criticism could be made about this book. The author does not rely much on the latest developments in Internet marketing and social networks (due to the date of writing), which are of primary importance today.

Complementary Books

Here is a list of additional books if you want to deepen your knowledge of marketing and storytelling:

  • Building a Story Brand: clarify your message so customers will listen – Donald Miller. 2017.
  • L’art du storytelling – Guide de communication. Guillaume Lamarre. 2018.
  • Storytelling : L’art de convaincre par le récit – Jean-Marc Guscetti. 2011.

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