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Book Notes -- All Marketers Tell Stories

all marketers tell stories

by Seth Godin


  • What's your story? 
  • Will the people who need to hear this story believe it?
  • Is it true?

Everything about the business should be part of telling the story -- externally and internally.

No one buys facts. They buy a story. (An underdog story, as McKee would say.)

The way the product makes you feel is the product.

Characteristics of great stories:

  • A great story is true.
  • Great stories make a promise.
  • Great stories are trusted.
  • Great stories are subtle. 
  • Great stories happen fast.
  • Great stories don't appeal to logic, but emotions.
  • Great stories have a specific audience.

Dedicate your story completely.

Marketers can't use commercials to tell stories, they have to live them.

Don't try to change worldviews. Find people who already have your worldview, then frame your stories in terms of that worldview.

  •  find a shared worldview
  • frame a story around that view
  • make it easy for the story to spread
  • create a new market

Be authentic. Authentic organizations and people are fare more likely to discover that the story they wish to tell is heard and believed and repeated. Every point of contact matters. 

Creating a storytelling plan

Questions to answer:

  • Which worldview are you addressing? 
  • What do your customers believe? "Buy organic; live healthy." 

Which frame (presentation layer) are you using? 

AKA: How do you present your story, or product? You want to present your story so that people with that worldview will be aware of it, listen to it, and believe it. "Selling toothpaste in health-food stores."

What's the story that's worth noticing? Tell a story your audience cares about.

How do you live your story? 

What hard decisions are you willing to make in order to keep your story real and pure and authentic?

What are the shortcuts your fans can use to tell the story to their friends? How can you help them frame/present that story?

How can you radically change your product or service so that the story is natural and obvious and easy to tell?

What's the value of your permission asset?