Still pumped that Seth Godin accepted my invitation to speak with me on my podcast about his newest book This Is Marketing. Below are 7 truth bombs about Marketing that Seth dropped on Episode 100 of Screw the Naysayers.

#1 Textbook definitions of marketing are crap

Those of us who took one or more marketing courses at college can attest that most everything they taught us was crap. Especially the stuff presented to us in boring textbooks written by people that don’t actually market anything. I asked Seth a simple question. What is Marketing? This is what he said. “Marketing is everything that we do that helps us tell a story to the person we seek to serve”. It’s worth repeating. “Marketing is everything that we do that helps us tell a story to the person we seek to serve”.  For me the key takeaway in this quote is his use of the word story. 

#2 What Marketing Isn’t

Seth summed it up in 9 words. “Marketing isn’t advertising. Marketing isn’t spam. Marketing isn’t manipulation”. The statement that marketing isn’t advertising will be a surprise to many people. Seth even stated that  “advertising stopped working at exactly the same time that small business people got all the tools.” The discussion we got into on this topic is reason alone for any entrepreneur to listen to the full episode.

#3 Nobody Wants To Buy Your Product (or Service)

Seth explained it this way. “If you sit there making keys all day and then run around looking for a lock that they fit. You can keep very busy”. He didn’t state the obvious. You wouldn’t be selling many keys (if any). I always find it interesting to ask entrepreneurs what they do. If they answer by telling me what product or service they sell I know they have a big problem. Customers want solutions to important problems. Your product or service is just the vessel you use to solve your customers problem.

#4 The moment you can’t measure it you’re not doing direct marketing

Seth really doubled down on this point. If you can’t measure the returns you are no longer doing direct marketing. He went on to say “Now you’re doing this weird sort of ego based brand marketing”.

#5 Think carefully before investing in brand marketing

Seth acknowledged that there can be a place for brand marketing in your overall strategy. He also said that “for a small business, brand marketing is an expense you have to throw into the void and it might not come back to you”. I interpret his statement to mean this. It’s just like sitting down at a Poker table. Don’t sit down if you can’t afford to lose all your chips. All the small business owners need to take this message to heart. The amount of money being wasted on brand marketing that provides no return is mind boggling. 

#6 Social Media platforms exist to make money not to serve you

Seth’s advice? “Don’t get tricked into thinking FB, Twitter, and Instagram were built for you. You’re the product. They’re sucking you into a vortex”.

For me the real message here is that we all need to choose wisely when it comes down to deciding how much time and money in social media.

#7 The internet is not a mass medium. It is a series of a million (or more) micro mediums

As of today there are an estimated 4.5 billion users on the internet. Common sense tells us that our challenge is to find only those people that fit the profile of our ideal customer. The obsession with vanity stats makes no sense. 

Final Thought

When speaking about entrepreneurship in general, Seth made the point that “our job is not to find an easy way. Our job is to find a difficult path where we will get wiped out along the way”. The implication was that the lessons we learn finding a difficult path are the ones that ultimately guide us to a place with far fewer competitors. A place where we can achieve the level of impact that we all strive for. 

Tim Alison

Tim Alison

Business Mentor, Harvard Speaker, Magnify You Facilitator, Author x 3, Podcast Host at Screw the Naysayers

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