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July 22, 2010

4 Lessons From Seth Godin

Tags: , linchpin, , , , seth godin, seth's blog, , tribes, washington dc

I recently attended the Washington, DC, stop of Seth Godin’s 2010 Road Trip.

Girl (9-11) holding speaker on head

For those who don’t know, Seth is widely-recognized as one of the top marketing minds in the world today.  I highly recommend his blog and writings.  To call him a thought-leader in the industry is to sell Seth short – whether or not you agree with what he has to say.  For the record, I agree with a good percentage of his views, but respect 100% of them.

Without giving away the crux of the content of his tour, I want to share with you some highlights from his presentation and discussion:

1) A revolution creates things that are easy that were once inconceivable: We throw the word “revolution” around a lot, but this is a simple definition that cuts through the clutter associated with the word.  If something once thought to be impossible happens–and happens easily–a revolution has occurred.  Godin thinks we are in the midst of a revolution — probably the biggest one of our times.

I think the data may be there.  Social media marketing is taking the industry to places the industry has never been for — places that nobody ever thought possible.  And how easy is it to use?  (There are other societal revolutions going on, too: African-American President, electric cars, etc.)

2) The best way to have an idea spread is to have an idea worth spreading: In many cases, we market a concept or product, but, what we should also consider is working backwards: developing a product or concept that fills a marketing need.

Be honest, PR, Marketing, Advertising Pros: how many times have you sat around a table trying to figure out “viral” campaigns for your thing (whatever it may be).

What Godin seemed to say was that if you have an idea that people want to share, it will spread.  At the end of the day, the product/concept/idea is more important than how marketing people market it.  That’s not to say marketing isn’t vitally important, but you can only put so much lipstick on a pig.

3) Innovation is the willingness to fail: Taking risks is HARD.  Even if the odds of success are 50/50, you will succeed as much as you don’t over the long haul.  However, real, true change comes when the status quo is shaken.

Making change takes people out of their comfort zones, which is, by definition, uncomfortable.  I don’t know people that really enjoy discomfort.  And that’s where the magic is: if you are always comfortable, you will never grow!

Do you want to be doing the same things over and over again?  Or do you want to challenge yourself and your team to do new things and be different?  You may not always succeed, but taking that risk will be worth it…because the next time you want to shake things up, you’ll have that much more data on your side.

4) When building an interest group, know you will never reach everyone: Seth often refers to “tribes,” or groups of people with similar worldviews.  No matter how many people are in the “Coke” tribe, there are folks that will always be “Team Pepsi.”  Each tribe should take care of it’s own and show the value of being a part of that family.  If they try to be everything to everyone, they will fragment and dissolve.

Set realistic goals.  Don’t go after all soda drinkers – but make sure your soda’s customers are united and loyal.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t look to bolster your ranks – “recruitment” for lack of better term, is part of ALL marketing strategies.  We want more people in our networks.  Just don’t use “everyone” as a measuring stick.  You’ll never reach that goal.

I leave you with my favorite quote of the day from Seth: “Screaming does not keep the plane in the air, but we do it anyway.”

What are some of your favorite lessons from Seth Godin?

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