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

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all.marketers.tell.stories

All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing

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Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow

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linchpin

Linchpin

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

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Meatball Sundae

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

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Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

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poke.the.box

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.

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purple.cow

Purple Cow

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

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Small is the New Big

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

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survival.is.not.enough

Survival is Not Enough

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

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the.big.moo

The Big Moo

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

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The Big Red Fez

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

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the.dip

The Dip

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

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The Icarus Deception

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

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Tribes

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

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Unleashing the Ideavirus

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

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v.is.for.vulnerable

V Is For Vulnerable

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

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we.are.all.weird

We Are All Weird

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

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whatcha.gonna.do.with.that.duck

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.

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« March 2006 | Main | May 2006 »

Easter egg

Brian Barton alerts me to this corporate easter egg.

First, go to JetBlue:Travel Info:Route Map.

Then, hold down the shift key while hitting Buffalo (where I'm from). Then, without letting go, type PBJ.

Stupid video awaits. Play it loud. Pass it on.

Who says corporate sites have to be boring?

[PS we broke the site. The egg is now gone.]

Archetype: The Magic Stick

Seinfeld All you need to do is watch some boys--any boys, anywhere, any age--playing on a vacant lot and you will see the magic stick archetype at work.

This is a handheld device that is a weapon or wand, something capable of magically influencing the world around the holder.

A cell phone is a magic stick. So is the microphone that Jerry Seinfeld holds on stage (the reason he doesn't use a clip-on wireless lavalier is... hmmm...). The iPod has succeeded largely because Steve Jobs unintentionally created a magical device that fit the archetype perfectly. And then, of course, there are guns.

The remote control changed the way we watch TV. We don't use headsets at work, even though it would save a lot of wear and tear on the neck... it's all the same thing. It's about using your hands to change your world.

Recommendations

Megan is on a tear: More on Recommendation. The five elements:

1. First-person experience.

2. Enthusiasm.

3. Specificity.

4. Sincerity.

5. Clarity.

 

And from her previous post: "Of course, the best recommendations are authentic and personal and trusted, which makes it easy for you to take action on them."

Archetypes

All the marketing theory, insight and blather that I've read fails to explain some obvious phenonema. For example, why do some products seem to market themselves while others struggle? Why are some consumer behaviors so ingrained, while others disappear almost overnight?

So I think it's time to talk about Carl Jung.

Here's what the wikipedia says about Jung's theory of archetypes:
...the collective unconscious is composed of archetypes. In contrast to the objective material world, the subjective realm of archetypes can not be adequately understood through quantitative modes of research. Instead it can only begin to be revealed through an examination of the symbolic communications of the human psyche—in art, dreams, religion, myth, and the themes of human relational/behavioral patterns. Devoting his life to the task of exploring and understanding the collective unconscious, Jung discovered that certain symbolic themes exist across all cultures, all epochs, and in every individual.

Let me try out an example on you:

Food = Love

Parts of the world wrestle with hunger, famine and even starvation. Yet in many of these cultures, it is unthinkable to eat brown rice. Think about that.. for thousands of years, people ate brown rice, which is easier to prepare, more nutritious and far more efficient than white rice (more food per bushel harvested). And yet, there's something so powerful about the symbol of white rice that it is embraced by people who should (and probably do) know better.

Or take it closer to home. Four obese people in a restaurant, eating far more than they should, because they can.

Or a parent sending a child to school with a white bread bagel, even though she knows that it's not healthy--just because it's what she grew up with.

These are all irrational acts, things that we can't chalk up to ignorance or lack of access to alternatives. Instead, they play into a very complex set of beliefs that seem to cross cultures.

Why so much Spam (the luncheon meat, not the email) in Hawaii and other Pacific cultures? I don't think we can chalk it up to distribution, coupons or tv ads. Instead, I think there's a complicated relationship between an archetype and the symbols that the food represents.

I think it's interesting to explore some fundamental consumer archetypes and how marketers have tapped into them (usually accidentally). The goal isn't to explain the origins of these often irrational needs, but to realize that they are there. Gravity's causes are unknown, but we still need to factor it in to our lives. Same with archetypes. We don't have to understand them to leverage them.

That's the end of that...

Mary_tyler_moore Every single time I look at the price of a box of food and then throw the item in the shopping cart at the supermarket, I shake my head the way Mary Richards did in the opening credits of the Mary Tyler Moore show. I can't help it.

And lately, every time I hear Aretha Franklin's R-E-S-P-E-C-T, I shake my head the way Kelly does in her googleidol video.

These are touchstone moments. The way you can say "cheezbugah cheezbugah" to any 45 year old and know that they'll get the joke.

Over. Gone. Finished.

Blogs and the web are killing magazines on a daily basis. The shakeout is happening before our eyes.

It will be a small-time event compared to what's about to happen to both TV and our culture.

Everyone will have a network. Not just a show, but, if you want it, an entire network of shows. Lots of channels, with not so many viewers per channel. A network for each religious group, and variants for each sect. Every church, community group, local theatre and art gallery gets a network. Every classroom and every division of every company.

YES, human beings have a need to do what others are doing. We have a desire for mass and for fashion. And for those lucky enough to be anointed, there will be power and leverage and profits. But the idea that Mary Richard's little shake of the head would be known and automatically mimicked by millions in the future is crazy.

It was fun while it lasted.

What's going to be on your network?

Vocabulary: "Landing page"

I first started talking about landing pages in <gasp> 1991, but there's probably someone out there who can pre-date me. Sometimes when you've been riffing on an idea for so long, it's easy to believe that everyone gets it, but my mail says otherwise.

A landing page is the first page a visitor to your site sees.

Landing pages were important back in the day of email marketing, because if you included a link in your email, that was the page the permission marketee would land on if he clicked through.

Landing pages are even more important today because they are the page that someone clicking on a Google Adwords ad sees.

A landing page (in fact, every page) can only cause one of five actions:

  • Get a visitor to click (to go to another page, on your site or someone else's)
  • Get a visitor to buy
  • Get a visitor to give permission for you to follow up (by email, phone, etc.). This includes registration of course.
  • Get a visitor to tell a friend
  • (and the more subtle) Get a visitor to learn something, which could even include posting a comment or giving you some sort of feedback

I think that's the entire list of options

So, if you build a landing page, and you're going to invest time and money to get people to visit it, it makes sense to optimize that page to accomplish just one of the things above. Perhaps two, but no more.

When you review a landing page, the thing to ask yourself is, "What does the person who built this page want me to do?" If you can optimize for that, you should. If there are two versions of a landing page and one performs better than the other, use that one! This sounds obvious, but how often are you doing the test? How long does a landing page last in your shop before it gets toppled by a better one? And do you have a different landing page for every single ad, every single offer? Why not?

Landing pages are not wandering generalities. They are specific, measurable offers. You can tell if they're working or not. You can improve the metrics and make them work better. Landing pages are the new direct marketing, and everyone with a website is a direct marketer.

Couldn't have said it better

Yesterday, a friend wanted to tell me about an idea her sister was building. But she couldn't, because it was a secret.

This is (sort of) what I said: Being Copied (Paul Graham).

Q: How do we do flip?

Lots of mail from people who want to flip the funnel. The obvious beneficiaries of this sort of strategy are organizations that need traffic, that make a wide range of products or have new ones all the time, that want to grow, that doing something newsworthy and that have an idea worth spreading.

And I'll respond with seven questions right back:

  • 1. How many bloggers do you have honest conversations with? (not press releases or email blasts).
  • 2. How many bloggers get your new stuff for free?
  • 3. When you send out news, is it really news? Or just fluff because you had nothing new to say?
  • 4. Are you making it easy for your happiest customers to have a blog or a podcast or a lens?
  • 5. Does your product or service work better for a user if other people start using it? (fax machines, for example, don't work so well if you're the only one who has one!)
  • 6. Do you ever intentionally launch products or services that are adored by part of your audience--and not liked one bit by the rest?
  • 7. Is there a way you can separate the idea from the thing that people actually pay for? Free ideas spread farther and faster...

If most of your answers are "no," then the problem might not be with the specifics of your tactics, but might be at the strategy you're bringing to the table. More and more, organizations are discovering that making something virusworthy is the single most important step in the work they do.

It's good to be king

The Times and other outlets have been running a spate of stories about executive pay. CEOs who walked away with $100,000 a day paychecks, CEOs making millions of dollars at companies in trouble, CEOs with jets and houses and limos... It's like being a king, instead of having a job.

Marketing used to be like that (and for a few lucky brands, it still is). The folks at the Apple iTunes store are like kings, deigning to receive a long line of supplicants who want to do business with them. I would imagine that the producers at Oprah feel the same way... People in the lobby, their backs bowed from carrying a sack from a land far away, traveling miles by donkey...

Kings receive payments all out of proportion to their incremental contributions. Mass markets pay their leaders handsomely. So marketers often set out to be kings, and often act that way from the start.

The thing is, if you market like a king, you're no longer likely to see results. Kings like to bark orders, wear crowns, eat at banquets and behead their critics.

The thing is, marketers are now peasants.

If you market like a peasant, always a supplicant, always aware of your low station in life, you're more likely to earn attention. Yes, you need the confidence and perhaps the bearing of a king. But the best marketers today appear to be those that accept the fact that they have no birthright, they weren't awarded the right to attention. And, who knows, over time, they might earn their way up the ladder--to king.

Guess the airline

Performance statistics as measured by the department of transportation. (DOT):

America’s Most On-Time Airline 27 Consecutive Months Running
America's Fewest Cancellations in 2005
America’s Best Baggage Handling in 2005
America’s Third Fewest Oversales in 2005
Other remarkable facts
Free, hot and delicious food in coach on all trans-pacific flights. They even give you the whole can of soda.
Over 76 years of continuous operation without a fatal accident.


Some of the highest paid (and friendliest) in the industry
At least one more flight attendant per flight than some competitors
Average fleet age is about 5 years old, one of the youngest fleets in the nation.
Fares are usually the lowest in the market or at least a very close second.

And last but not least!... One of only three airlines in the nation to actually make a profit last year.

So how come we don't talk about this airline the way we do about the other two profitable ones?

I have two and a half theories. The half theory is that Hawaii is really far away from most of us. Also:
You're on vacation when you fly Hawaii Airlines, so your expectations are greater.
A lot of people who fly with them rarely do it again, because Hawaii is a rare trip, so it's harder to incubate the word of mouth.

I hope they start flying NY to Orlando! With free leis and everything.

« March 2006 | Main | May 2006 »