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Seth Godin has written 12 bestsellers that have been translated into 33 languages

The complete list of online retailers

Bonus stuff!

or click on a title below to see the list


All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing




Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow





An instant bestseller, the book that brings all of Seth's ideas together.




Meatball Sundae

Why the internet works (and doesn't) for your business. And vice versa.



Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.



Poke The Box

The latest book, Poke The Box is a call to action about the initiative you're taking - in your job or in your life, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project.




Purple Cow

The worldwide bestseller. Essential reading about remarkable products and services.



Small is the New Big

A long book filled with short pieces from Fast Company and the blog. Guaranteed to make you think.



Survival is Not Enough

Seth's worst seller and personal favorite. Change. How it works (and doesn't).




The Big Moo

All for charity. Includes original work from Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters and Promise Phelon.



The Big Red Fez

Top 5 Amazon ebestseller for a year. All about web sites that work.




The Dip

A short book about quitting and being the best in the world. It's about life, not just marketing.




The Icarus Deception

Seth's most personal book, a look at the end of the industrial economy and what happens next.





"Book of the year," a perennial bestseller about leading, connecting and creating movements.




Unleashing the Ideavirus

More than 3,000,000 copies downloaded, perhaps the most important book to read about creating ideas that spread.



V Is For Vulnerable

A short, illustrated, kids-like book that takes the last chapter of Icarus and turns it into something worth sharing.




We Are All Weird

The end of mass and how you can succeed by delighting a niche.



Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

The sequel to Small is the New Big. More than 600 pages of the best of Seth's blog.



THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin

All Marketers Are Liars Blog

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Member since 08/2003

« May 2004 | Main | July 2004 »

On purpose?

Continuing on my post of the other day, check out: (Bihn Label). (Thanks to Russell Buckley for the link).

As you first read about the hidden message, it may very well cause you to sit up straight and want to tell all your friends. It's got just the right mix of mystery and style and lack-of-exploitation of the audience.

I then clicked over to buy a t-shirt, and my I was delighted to see that they're being consistent with their actions in treating it as not just a publicity stunt to boost business. What if they DID do it on purpose? I think the intent does matter. Or maybe it only matters to me... Anyway, Tom makes great stuff (I've been a long-time customer--I might even have the tag!) and all the proceeds go to charity.

Amazon forgets!

It's not about you. It's not about you. It's not about you.

It's about me, of course.

Amazon, meaning well, sent me a note offering a $5 gift certificate if I'd answer a short survey about their associates program. Good for them for wanting feedback. Good for them for compensating people.

So, I visit the site (above) and discover not one or three or ten multiple choice questions.

Sixty three.

What sort of person sits still for 63 multiple choice questions?

How scientific is the feedback if it's only from the people who answer 63 questions?

What concrete action can Amazon take with all this finely tuned statistical nonsense?

Wouldn't it be a lot more useful to just say:
Tell us the three things you like most (or least!) about our program and how you would improve it!

Then have a real honest to goodness person read each one and write back.

Invite 100 people to do the survey. Then 100 more. A hundred a week for a year. You'd learn a lot.

My two cents.

Opt in, Opt out, Opt cheat...

Newspapers are in trouble. eBay has sucked the life out of classifieds. People have stopped reading papers. More folks read the NY Times online than on paper...

Is the answer to trick people into getting spam?

My wife sent me a link at the LA Times. In order to read it, I had to register. Here's the last part of registration:

Notice that the box ISN'T checked. That's the universal symbol for, "We're honest and we want genuine permission from you before we send you stuff by email. So if you want it, please check here."

I was glad to see that. But then I read the text. It says that the UNchecked box means that they WILL send you spam unless you affirmatively CHECK it to say you DON'T want it. (Even without the ALL CAPS I'm adding, it's still confusing.)

So, let's be clear here: In order to ensure its future in a world where everyone is online, one of the great newspapers on the planet is relying on second order trickery (because ordinary opt out isn't nefarious enough). Do you really think they're building much of an asset here? Can you imagine that three years from now the publisher is going to say, "I'm sure glad we tricked a million people into having no leg to stand on when we busily spam them!" Hardly.

Doing it on purpose

scionmarketingWhat have we done?

The massive marketing engines of the car industry have decided to run roughshod over the idea of viral marketing and they're working hard to manufacture ideaviruses as fast as they can:

AutoWeek - Car News

Why does it bother us so much when marketers try to subvert the ideavirus process and buy their way into our lives?

Precisely because it feels so intentional. Because it represents an unwelcome intrusion, a display of power... it's a lot like spam, in fact.

When you run into someone with "Scion" tatooed on her forehead, it's odd. When you realize that person got paid to do it, you feel used. Maybe it's just me, but I think there's a huge difference between the famous Honda Cog Movie (or the BMW movies) and the manipulative Scion campaign. In the first cases, the car companies built something worth talking about. In the second, the manufacturer just bought the conversation.

With more than 55,000,000 downloads to date, the BMW campaign is a success by any measure. It's hard to imagine that Scion can afford to buy enough "buzz" to make a difference. If Permission Marketing is about dating, then buying these conversations is about nothing more than prostitution.

(PS what about Yes, they get paid to help start conversations. But a key part of their business model is that they DON'T pay the sneezers themselves. The bzzagents work for free. It needs to be that way for it to work, imho).

Is it a fine line? You betcha. So is dating, for that matter! The magic and the art comes in creating remarkable products that don't cross the line... they're worth talking about, but they're not paid conversations.

Needles, haystacks & magnetism

Last month, I posted a bunch of notices looking to hire summer interns (yes, we're set, thanks). The ads asked people to send in a three page PDF, describing their background, their goals and giving applicants a chance to really stand out and make their case.

This, of course, should be the dream opportunity for most job seekers. Instead of being treated as a piece of paper, a list of stats in a dry resume, here was a chance to actually tell a little about yourself.

HALF the people sent in a resume. Just a resume.

"Here's my resume" was the total content of at least 20% of the cover notes I got.

Part of this is the result of being beaten down. Most of the system is about following the rules, fitting in and not standing out. But a lot of it, it seems to me, is that people are laboring under a very mistaken impression about what works--in life, in seeking a job and in marketing in general.

Most people, apparently, believe that if they just get their needle sharp enough, it'll magnetically leap out of the haystack and land wherever it belongs. If they don't get a great job or make a great sale or land a terrific date, it might just be because they don't deserve it.

Having met some successful people, I can assure you that they didn't get that way by deserving it.

What chance is there that your totally average resume, describing a totally average academic and work career is going to get you most jobs? "Hey Bill! Check out this average guy with an average academic background and really exceptionally average work experience! Maybe he's cheap!!"

Do you hire people that way? Do you choose products that way? If you're driving a Chevy Cavalier and working for the Social Security Administration, perhaps, but those days are long gone.

People are buying only one thing from you: the way the engagement (hiring you, working with you, dating you, using your product or service, learning from you) makes them feel.

So how do you make people feel?

Could you make them feel better? More? Could you create the emotions that they're seeking?

As long as we focus on the commodity, on the sharper needle, we're lost. Why? Because most customers don't carry a magnet. Because the sharpest needle is rarely the one that gets out of the haystack. Intead, buyers are looking for the Free Prize, for that exceptional attribute that's worth talking about. I just polled the four interns sitting here with me. Between them, they speak 12 languages. No, that's not why I hired them. No, we don't need Tagalog in our daily work.... but it's a free prize. It's one of the many things that made them interesting, that made me feel good about hiring them.

What's your Free Prize?

The Free Prize Outside

Sourcefruit Juiceboxes via Amit Gupta.

How can you not want to drink this?

Audiences are not a tool

Caryn Law writes in an email, ""You cannot use and leverage your sneezers to your advantage as a marketing tool, and then when they turn on you because you did something unexpected, blame them for the problem and call them selfish."

It points to a larger issue about the change in the power equation. You're not in charge of the conversations any more. Of course that's true, but a lot of people don't WANT it to be true, so they act like it's not.

Are we all journalists?

So, there's now almost 3,000,000 bloggers tracked by some of the online services. That's 1% or so of the active online population, and since it seems as though the number is doubling every month or so, it's starting to get significant.

Remember how you used to curse journalists? Curse them for being lazy, or hyperbolic? How about this headline from today's Independent (UK newspaper):

"First Night: Clinton takes to the stage for the ultimate sell"

Ultimate? What makes it ultimate? A $30 book is hardly the ultimate sell, right?

But choosing words, choosing headlines, choosing photographs... it all adds up. When the New York Times admits that it colored its reporting the wrong way re Iraq, we're talking about a big side effect: thousands of people dead.

Now, everyone with a blog is a journalist. When you run a post accusing a politician of having no personality, for example, you're indulging the public's desire to elect a dinner partner, not a president. When you chime in on the day's talking points, you're a tool, not a new voice.

So, we come to the moment of truth. Now that anyone who wants to be a journalist CAN be a journalist, are the ethics going to get better... or worse?

I'm an optimist most of the time, but on this issue, I'm afraid I'm a realist.


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