I just finished This Is Marketing, which is Seth Godin’s latest book release.
It was great. I would rate it as his second best book, just behind Linchpin. In true form, he writes in a way that is clearly understood, conversational and easily digestible.
The book has me thinking about my work in a way that I never have before. Here are some quick takeaways from this brilliant and important book.
1 – Don’t Appeal to the Masses
This is the problem with social media and ads and television commercials. When you try to get your message out to “everyone” you are forced into the average. With enough of a sample size, the core of the group will always be average. If you appeal to the average crowd, you will always have an average product. Because average people do average things.
But if you appeal to someone specific, you can reach people who will have a general interest in your message.
Who is your product for? What’s it for? Who are you trying to reach? Be specific. Once you win over a crowd, your idea may spread and when it does, you will work your way into mainstream. The way into mainstream is not by appealing to mainstream people.
2 – Changing the Culture
All marketing is intended to create change.
Change what exactly?
Change the culture.
How do you define culture?
“People like us, do things like this.”
The culture could be anything. You could be trying to change the culture of bakers by introducing a product that cuts down on baking time. You could be changing the culture of football by introducing a new mouth guard. The options are endless.
We are all marketers now. We all have a platform to spread our ideas and in doing so we are changing the culture of whatever tribe we are appealing to.
3 – You Don’t Have a Marketing Problem, You Have a Trust Problem
Getting people to see your message is easy. I can run a Google ad right now and get at least 100 clicks to a web page in a day. It’s not marketing that holds marketers back, it’s trust.
That’s why all the “life coaches” advertising on Facebook don’t actually have clients. That’s why all the “online marketing experts” are broke. How can I trust you to marketing my business if you can’t market yours? Why should I trust you?
We are all subjected to more messages every day than ever in the history of the world. We aren’t short on options, we are short on trust.
If you want to change the culture, you must do so by earning the trust of the people you seek to serve. Building trust is not the same as giving away a free ebook. Trust is built over time. Trust is built through a relationship.
That’s the magic sauce in success. It’s trust. It’s not ads or gimmicks or clicks, but trust.
We can accurately measure clicks and ROI on ad budgets and yes, those things certainly play a role. But until you can earn the trust of the people you wish to serve, you will always be reliant on ads and gimmicks and clicks. Because until you build trust, you’re just another person forcing messages into people faces.
You build trust by showing up, day after day, inch by inch, drop by drop.
This Made Me Feel Good
I finished this book with a whole new outlook. It’s the first time my thinking towards conventional and technical online marketing has been challenged.
I still love SEO. I still value the craft of advertising and landing page optimization and copy writing. But this book made me look at things from another viewpoint.
Maybe this is the real reason why my work has been well received. Not because of the technical marketing skills that I pride myself on, but rather the emotional labor of showing up every day and delivering my ideas.
Maybe the most important thing I can do is show up when I say I will show up.
Sometimes people ask me “why do you right a blog post every day?” I tell them, “because when I don’t people ask me where my blog post is.”
That’s how I know what I am doing is right.