By: SETH GODIN
22 MINUTE AUDIO / 3,100 WORDS (12 PAGES)
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How can you use marketing to spread your ideas and make the impact you seek? The fact is that marketing has changed—it has more reach and more speed than ever before. And, it is no longer synonymous with advertising, something that was done to the customer, rather than for them.
This is Marketing shows how, in today’s world, effective marketing must rely on empathy and service. You have to understand your customers’ worldview and desires, build tensions, and create ideas that spread. Above all, you must target the smallest viable audience for your message and craft a story that resonates with the listener.
TOP 20 INSIGHTS
Marketing has changed: it is no longer the same thing as advertising, something that was done to the customer, rather than for them. Effective marketing now relies on empathy and service.
There are five steps to marketing: invent, build, story, spread the word, and show up.
Your goal is the change you seek to make in the world. Your strategy is the long-lasting way you’re investing in reaching that goal. Your tactics are the many, many steps you take on behalf of your strategy.
Your story has to resonate with the listener—tell them something they are waiting to hear and are open to believing.
Your brand is the promise you are making to your customer. Your logo is the Post-it reminder of the brand promise.
You can’t be seen until you learn to see. This includes being aware of the worldview of the customer—is it the horizontal view of affiliation or the vertical view of dominion?
Look for the smallest viable number of people you need to influence to make it worth the effort. These are the people who want what you’re offering and are open to hearing your message. Focus on what they believe and what they want.
Claim your corner of the map, the far edge where people really want what you have to offer. Don’t aim for the popular center of the map; it’s already too crowded. Instead, build a true story where you are the clear and obvious choice.
You are not selling stuff, you are selling connections, feelings, and status. This means you have to figure out what people want.
Who is the exclusive cohort you are trying to reach? Think like the Grateful Dead: appeal to a relatively small audience, rely on fans to spread the word, and stake out your one corner of the map.
Marketing is the act of making change happen.
You can’t change everyone, so ask, “Who is it for?” to focus your actions.
The internet is a key part of marketing today. It feels like a vast, free playground; in reality, it’s both the largest medium and the smallest one, made up of a billion tiny whispers.
Use the three-step narrative for action developed by Marshall Ganz to lead your tribe: the story of self, the story of us, and the story of now.
The best way to earn trust is through action. You need to be trusted by your smallest viable market, to be famous to them, and to show up for them.
Market to an individual such as your boss the same way as you market to the world: see the status roles; decode dominion versus affiliation and use trust to earn enrollment.
“Cheap” is another way to say “scared.” If you’re the cheapest, you’re not promising change, you’re just promising the same but for less. Low price is the last refuge of the marketer who has run out of ideas.
You will serve many people, but you will profit from only a few so seek out and delight the few; start by focusing on the neophiliacs, those who embrace change and who have a problem you can solve right now.
Use the right symbol for your audience—this is especially important today, when people scan instead of study—and if you need to, have the guts to invent new ones.
People don’t want the thing you have made—they want what it will do for them and how it will make them feel.
To market effectively in today’s world you must target the smallest viable number of people and tell a story that matches their dreams and narrative. Realize that you are not really selling stuff or a service, you are selling dreams, connections, and status. Some people want to change their status, others to protect it; some are motivated by the horizontal view of affiliation and others by the vertical view of dominion. Use the right symbols for your audience. Don’t sell yourself cheap; set your price bearing in mind the promise you are making and the expectations of your smallest viable market. Build trust and show up consistently as you organize your tribe.
Marketing is all around us; we take it for granted. At the same time, marketing has more reach, with more speed, than it has ever had before. So, what are you going to do with that impact?
The fact is that even your best, most generous and insightful work will need help to find the people it is meant to serve. How can you spread your ideas, make the impact you seek, and improve the culture?
Marketing has changed, but our understanding of how we are supposed to do it has not kept up. It is no longer the same thing as advertising; something that was done to the customer, rather than for them. Rather, effective marketing now relies on empathy and service. It involves very little in the way of shouting, hustling, or coercion; which means you now have to understand your customers’ worldview and desires, build tensions, and create ideas that spread.
Your story has to resonate with the listener—tell them something they are waiting to hear and are open to believing. To tell your story, you need to see how humans dream, decide, and act; and you have to help them to become better versions of themselves. Ultimately, you’re trying to connect—not transform someone, but dance with them.
Here are the five steps to marketing effectively in today’s world:
Invent a thing worth making, with a story worth telling, and a contribution worth talking about.
Design and build your invention in such a way that a few people—your smallest viable market—will really benefit from it.
Tell a story that matches the dreams and narrative of that small market of people.
Spread the word
This is the step where people get excited about your invention.
Day after day, year after year, show up—regularly and consistently organize and build confidence in the change you seek to make.
Don’t sell the drill bit
Theodore Levitt, a Harvard marketing professor, famously said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.” But we can take this further: someone wants the hole so they can put a shelf on the wall; which lets them keep their stuff tidy and on display; and, they want to feel good about doing it themselves.
In other words: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want to feel safe and respected.” They don’t want the thing you have made, they want what it will do for them and how it will make them feel.
THE SMALLEST VIABLE MARKET
Start your marketing by asking yourself what change you are trying to make happen. Focus on something specific and attainable. You can’t change everyone, so think about changing a specific group of people. Choose your group based on their worldviews, what they dream of, believe, and want (psychographics), and not based on what they look like (demographics).
Now, consider what is the smallest viable number of people you would need to influence to make it worth the effort. These are the people who want what you’re offering and are open to hearing your message. What do they believe? What do they want? Claim your corner of the map, the far edge where people really want what you have to offer. Don’t aim for the popular center of the map; it’s already too crowded. Instead, build a true story where you are the clear and obvious choice.
You are not selling stuff, you are selling connections, feelings, and status. So, you have to figure out what people want—this is not that simple, as everyone wants different things. Start with the core basket of dreams and desires, the shared