Seth Godin: Getting the simple things right
Some might say Seth Godin is an overrated marketer, with more books than original ideas. Academics state his ideas are not grounded in research and his arguments are oversimplified and overstated. Others believe he is a marketing guru sent by the gods to teach us all how to sell. The truth is he is neither. Seth Godin has written timely books which have captured the imagination of the fickle marketing community and a business community hungry for new ideas.
Godin didn’t reach guru status through his books alone though. A spell of working for the magazine Fast Company helped raise his profile, and his blog, sethgodin.typepad.com, which consistently ranks in Web-tracker Technorati’s top 20, helped him reach beyond business readers. Godin ’s combination of counterintuitive thinking and a great sense of fun has helped him hold his reader in his thrall.
Godin’s overarching theme is simple: Companies can no longer rely on mass-media advertising to sell average products to average consumers. Instead, they must create remarkable products and services and let consumers do the marketing themselves to generate a buzz. In the “new marketing” landscape that Godin chronicles, the balance of power has shifted from companies to consumers, thanks to TiVo, spam filters, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Anything that’s worth being talked about is ‘a remarkable idea,’ and remarkable ideas spread. “Ideas that spread win,” Godin said. True enough, anything that is not disruptive, and would usually spread through word-of-mouth is a significant idea (amongst other great ones). Seth Godin’s ‘Permission Marketing’ outlines the key principles of engaging consumers in a meaningful way.
Apart from that, Godin’s take on tapping into the right market turns out to be an interesting analysis. Instead of ‘selling’ to a ‘hit and miss’ type of market, tapping into innovators and adapters would always be the right approach. After all, why would you want to promote or sell to random people who wouldn’t consider apportioning a small amount of time to listen to what you’ve got to endorse? You need to sell to people who want to buy. Tap into those ‘listeners,’ as they will always be interested in what you have to say. As simple as it may seem — and yes its sounds like stating the obvious, however — they are your market. Get the simple things right first.