This is Marketing

This is Marketing by Seth Godin brings together the lessons that he has been teaching in his course ‘The Marketing Seminar’. He stresses that you need to see the customer, to understand him or her, and to intelligently serve them better.

There are no lessons about which program to use, how to do analytics or anything like that. The lessons revolve around understanding who you are serving, why, and what. I think it can be summarised as on the back of the book “People like us do things like this.” Seth has a deep understanding of human psychology and this book is a perfect example of how he uses this to make marketing better.

Here are the chapters and some relevant notes:

  1. Not Mass, Not Spam, Not Shameful …
    • Having a good product and adding value should be the first steps, not how you can get it out to millions of (undifferentiated) people. Example: Penguin Magic videos are informative and spread free of charge
  2. The Marketer Learn to See
    • Have empathy for your customers, see the world through their eyes, solve their problems
  3. Marketing Changes People Through Stories, Connections, and Experience
    • “People don’t want what you make, they want what it will do for them”
    • Don’t be marketing-driven, be market-driven
    • People (often/almost always) don’t make rational choices
  4. The Smallest Viable Market
    • Find a very specific market, be bold enough to focus on the few people who you can serve best
    • “… walk away from the ocean and look for a large swimming pool”
    • My product is for people who believe… I will focus on people who want… I promise that engaging with what I make will help you get…
  5. In Search of “Better”
    • Your customers define what is better, this is very specific to each group
    • Do the XY exercise and see how you are “better” than your competition
  6. Beyond Commodities
    • In many markets, the products become commodities (interchangeable)
    • Prevent yourself from becoming one by having a story and vision, be more than just the physical product
  7. The Canvas of Dreams and Desires
    • Most things we buy, we don’t need
    • So what dream/desire are you trying to solve/help with?
  8. More of the Who: Seeking the Smallest Viable Market
    • Be bold enough to stick with your small market
    • They can be fans for a long time
    • Example: The Grateful Dead
  9. People Like Us Do Things Like This
    • Find out what your tribe does, what are the norms, how can your product/service become part of this narrative?
  10. Trust and Tension Create Forward Motion
    • Show that you have something worth buying
    • And also create a (playful) tension as to the situation in which people are now.
    • “Marketers sometimes call themselves architects of desire. An old-school ad was supposed to paint a picture of something you wanted — that in fact, until you got that thing, you were unhappy. Hence, tension. The tension of “I want it” combined with the knowledge of “I don’t have it yet.”” (from the course)
  11. Status, Dominance, and Affiliation
    • Where on the status ladder are your customers? Where are they moving? And how does your product fit in this?
  12. A Better Business Plan
    • Truth, Assertions, Alternatives, People, Money (see exercise)
  13. Semiotics, Symbols, and Vernacular
    • Symbols are rich representations of ideas in our head
    • Think Nike swoosh
    • But they are not everything, and if bad you can change them later
  14. Treat Different People Differently
    • Differentiate between your customers, focus on the ones that have the most value
    • Note: sometimes this can be seen as difficult/bad, but I think that in this context it’s good and necessary
  15. Reaching the Right People
    • In the world of advertising and online search;
    • Don’t strive to be found on generic words or ads, be the one that they go looking for (Seth, instead of, blog)
  16. Price Is a Story
    • Price is a very strong signal about your offering
    • Higher can also mean better quality
    • Use it wisely
  17. Permission and Remarkability in a Virtuous Cycle
    • Have something worth talking about, something that people opt-in to hear about, something they will miss if it’s gone
  18. Trust is a Scarce as Attention
    • There are more and more connections, but we have less trust going around
    • Become trusted and you have something very valuable in your hands
  19. The Funnel
    • “Visualise a funnel… at the top is attention… at the bottom committed loyal customers come out”
    • The larger you become, the leakier the funnel becomes;
    • This is important in the world of buying ads;
    • And makes me think of this article on Stratechery
    • “If you can’t see the funnel, don’t buy the ads”
    • “We like what everyone [like us] is doing”
    • “The bridge across the Chasm (see here) lies in network effects”;
    • In your early adopters telling others about your product and it spreading to new groups who want something that is already tested
    • Try and cross the chasm in your local market (pond), do this for a school, region, country, etc.
  20. Organising and Leading a Tribe
    • Tell a story about themselves (me), the group (us), and a story about the now (the change/movement)
  21. Some Case Studies Using the Method
  22. Marketing Works, and Now It’s Your Turn
  23. Marketing to the Most Important Person