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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

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

Meatball Sundae

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

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permission.marketing

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

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

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

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

Tribes

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

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unleashing.the.ideavirus

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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THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin




All Marketers Are Liars Blog




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« April 2006 | Main | June 2006 »

Flexibility

The one thing that's certain about your marketing plan, your products, hey, even your life is that it won't turn out the way you planned.

Given this proven truth, doesn't it make sense to spend most of your time building flexibility into whatever you're building?

It's a lot easier to change your mind in advance... doing it when you have to is painful--especially if you have to persuade a team. The most flexible plans have the need (and ability) to change built right in.

The Dalai Lama, marketer

Mara, a really extraordinary young lady, sent me a powerpoint that says it's from the Dalai Lama. (no surprise when Lance Long points out it's not really from the Dalai himself).

Of course, I read it like a marketer. (Replace 'loved one' with customer and you get the idea... the rest of the substitions are up to you--or just let it make your day). Good advice:

1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

$2000 a year

That's how much the typical family in the US spends on telecommunications. It's certainly one of the highest discretionary items in a typical budget, and it's particularly surprising given that long distance is a fraction of what it used to be.

So, David Troup points us to Helio, a phone/toy for teenagers and those that think like them (the phone, with built in music and video capability, is primarily sold at record stores, at least in NY). I give them credit for tapping into a desire that consumers are already voting for with their dollars. Is it a killer app for geezers like me? Nope. And that may be exactly why it works.

On trade shows

Michael Cader wonders:

-- Why do you want your booth so crowded that I can't walk through it?
Why do you want people to walk through, grab something, and get the heck
out?

-- If I am standing in line waiting for an author/event, is anyone
talking to me or occupying my time with a useful message?

-- Does your booth say anything about where to find the person I'm
looking for? Your publicity people, store events people, sales people,
rights people, and executives all the look the same. They dress the
same, and they're mixed throughout the booth. How hard do I have to work
to meet someone I don't know?

-- Just as important, how hard do I have to work in your booth (and with
your takeaways) to discover something other than the obvious about your
list? Does your booth say anything besides, "We are a book publisher and
these are some of our big fall titles" or "proud publisher of these 37
imprints"?

-- Once again, just as important, does your booth say anything about why
you're at the show, and who you want to meet, and what you want to do
with them?

-- Do you have a Wal-mart "greeter" to welcome me to your booth and
transmit a message to me before I leave? Do have welcome or exit signs
in your aisles that tell me anything?

-- What's the message behind all the stuff you're giving away? And why
have giveaways become the dominant theme of everyone's booth? Are those
giveaways really helping your business, and do they mean anything next
to all the other giveaways that everyone else has? Are they attracting
the people you want to meet at the show? And are there any twists or
alternatives that might work better?

--      Can you introduce scarcity to the giveaway process to
make your items more valuable, or surprising, or memorable? What if did
business in the morning and gave things away in the afternoon. What if
you had espresso and donuts at the beginning of the day instead of wine
and cheese at the end. What if your booth looked different every day?

Three big barriers

It's not always the stories that we tell to prospects and consumers that matter. It's often the stories we tell ourselves.

In talking with companies that are unhappy with the way they are growing, I find two common themes (and one a little less often):

  1. A belief that they deserve more attention. That their product or their service is so good and so beneficial and so fairly priced that the story they tell and the way they tell it shouldn't matter. I don't think this is arrogance... I think it is a natural byproduct of hard work and high pressure.
  2. A lack of authenticity. This is almost the flip side of the first, but, surprisingly, it often shows up at the same time. This is the feeling that you don't have to tell the truth, that it's "just marketing." Talk to someone at a company on a mission--Southwest or JetBlue or Acumen Fund and you'll hear the same story, told with desire and belief and honesty. These are people on a mission to really do something. Contrast that with someone who wants to know the ROI on a monthly basis from a blog--they're busy doing the math, not living the story.
  3. The third trait, which shows up a bit less often, is the marketer who doesn't believe that she deserves success. This is the self-critical marketer who is being brutally honest--and is frustrated at the state of her market and of her product. The obvious but often difficult solution is to either change the product, change the story or get a new gig. The wrong but most common response is to just be frustrated.

You've certainly met people who have all three things taken care of. They approach a marketplace or a consumer with an appropriate amount of humility. They tell a story that is true, that they believe, that they live. And they do it with confidence, knowing that the story they are telling is bound to benefit most of the people who hear it.

The fascinating thing is that all three of these items happen before the consumer is even involved. They are internal and they're under your control, direction or influence.

The problem with mobile

Why hasn't the whole cell phone industry exploded?

I don't mean the "use a portable phone to call people" market. That market is doing great, because everyone knows how to use a phone and a cell phone is just a better solution to that problem for a lot of uses.

I mean the entire "data in my pocket" or "fundamentally different kind of interaction" business. For years, everyone has been talking about the coming goldmine in mobile.

I think the problem is that we've been trying to solve the wrong problem.

Ten or fifteen years ago, when I was working with the folks at Prodigy, just about all the functionality of the web was known. And yet almost no one was working on the right stuff--the stuff that ended up working. Take a look at virtually every giant online success (except for Amazon) and none of them were obvious in 1992.

I think we're going to discover a whole new universe of cell phone services that people want to pay for, things that we won't be able to live without. Like... ringtones.

Mobile doesn't have a problem. We (the marketers and the entrepreneurs) do.

The rush to quality

I just passed a house for sale. The sign out front was from a mass market realtor, but from their higher end "estates" division. A fancier sign, a fancier name.

It wasn't, however, a fancier house.

In one industry after another, premium brands (Tiffany) are becoming the standard. Why list a house with a regular realtor? Why buy jewelry from a regular store? Why wear regular clothes? As brands learn how profitable it is to go from Class to Mass (Wolfgang Puck and Armani come to mind), consumers are being trained to abhor not the cheap but the middling.

Zales for your anniversary anyone?

Megan needs a summer intern

For the first time ever, Craig's List didn't come up with what we needed. So here, at the last minute, is a neat educational opportunity for the right student.

Megan Casey, editor in chief at Squidoo, asked me to post this notice about a summer internship. Small stipend, plus bonus possible at end of summer.

1. need someone in our office a few days a week. work from home some days is okay. hours pretty flexible.
2. office on the hudson river, 45 minutes from Grand Central in NYC. we pay transportation.
3. report to editor-in-chief. sample projects: new feature testing, pick shortlists for lens of the day selection, make prototypes for partners, research passionate communities, jump up and down in forums, day-to-day maintenance of the site, learn new hula hoop tricks, research lensmaking trends...
4. you can basically set your own role depending on how hard you work and what you're good at
5. number five is up to you.
6. we have an espresso machine, but no ponies.

You'll probably learn more than you imagine, I think. Drop a note to Megan if you're interested or if you know someone who is. Contact: Megan.

What's that you're wearing?

Chris Case points us to Play Doh perfume... Play-Doh(R) Brand Modeling Compound Makes a ''Scent-Sational'' Debut as It Celebrates 50 Years.

Different kinds of traffic

So, here's your choice:
You can have a billboard in Times Square (seen by 2 million people a day), or you can be the keynote speaker at the Allen & Co. annual millionaire media mogul retreat, listened to by about 150 people for an hour.

A no brainer? I hope so.

Of course, it's not just the demographics. I think it's the quality of the interaction.

Picture_57 Here's a comparison between two hot properties (MySpace and Facebook) and Amazon.

Should Jeff Bezos be in mourning? After all, MySpace is killing Amazon in traffic.

Of course, this is all irrelevant. Not surprising, but irrelevant. It's not surprising because it's just human nature to measure a simple metric, and to want to improve it. It's human nature to believe that the more people get exposed to your idea, the better you're going to do. It's human nature to want to 'win', however you define winning.

The problem here is that Amazon users visit to buy stuff, and MySpace users visit to flirt.

Last time I checked, flirting was a fairly unprofitable activity.

There's a long list of high-traffic sites (beginning with theglobe.com and extending to hotmail and many others) that couldn't monetize. They were stuck because the bait that got them the traffic had no room for a reasonable hook. You could use a TV like model and interrupt with irrelevant ads, but it doesn't work so well.

All a long, long way to say something simple:
Whatever your website, I think you want better traffic, not more traffic.

You want to figure out why the right people will come, not build a sideshow that attracts exactly the wrong people.

At trade shows, there's always a few booths with magicians, fire-eaters or bikini-clad models. And post-show, there's no evidence at all to indicate that the noisy attractions did very much to improve the actual metrics of the booth.

So, maybe it doesn't matter how your site does compared to a site in a different category. What matters, I think, is how your site does compared to last week or last month, and what's happening to your conversion.

« April 2006 | Main | June 2006 »