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Seth Godin has written 18 bestsellers that have been translated into 35 languages

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All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing

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The practical sequel to Purple Cow

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

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

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The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

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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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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

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

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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

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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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

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

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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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« December 2006 | Main | February 2007 »

Just one more thing?

If you had an hour with your team or your boss or a prospect, how many things would you tell them?

Do you have a laundry list of ten or twenty or fifty ideas you want to share? Six things you want them to do? A dozen changes that are important?

One reason that blog posts have become such a powerful way to spread ideas is that a typical blog post is about just one thing. One.

Why not give that a try? Use your time, all your time, to sell just one thing. Go deep. Sell. Then stop.

Every marketer's nightmare

Mars_2 This is the bad science on the back of a package of Pomodoro pasta. Marketers have nightmares about this... about screwing up and having it show up on a million packages. "Boy are you stupid."

What a wasted nightmare.

Instead of spending all her time worrying about making a silly mistake (Mars isn't the closest, it's Mercury, guys), perhaps she could worry about playing it safe too often, about becoming irrelevant, about pushing so hard to create average pasta for average people that she ends up selling a commodity. Now that's a nightmare. (thanks, Mark, for the link.) People don't get laid off for messing up the planets. They lose their jobs because of boring marketing.

Wow!

Wownow I absolutely adore this photo from the Times.  Not one smile in the bunch, never mind ebullience, mania or even pleasant anticipation.

Just because a marketer says something is amazing, exciting or just plain wow doesn't mean it is.

Really Bad Powerpoint

I wrote this about four years ago, originally as an ebook. I figured the idea might spread and then the problem would go away--we'd no longer see thousands of hours wasted, every single day, by boring PowerPoint presentations filled with bullets.

Not only has it not gone away, it's gotten a lot worse. Last week I got a template from a conference organizer. It seems they want every single presenter to not only use bullets for their presentations, but for all of us to use the same format! Shudder.

So, for posterity, and in the vain hope it might work, here we go again:

Really Bad Powerpoint

It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to champion at a church or a school or a Fortune 100 company, you’re probably going to use PowerPoint.

Powerpoint was developed by engineers as a tool to help them communicate with the marketing department—and vice versa. It’s a remarkable tool because it allows very dense verbal communication. Yes, you could send a memo, but no one reads anymore. As our companies are getting faster and faster, we need a way to communicate ideas from one group to another. Enter Powerpoint.

Powerpoint could be the most powerful tool on your computer. But it’s not. Countless innovations fail because their champions use PowerPoint the way Microsoft wants them to, instead of the right way.

Communication is the transfer of emotion.

Communication is about getting others to adopt your point of view, to help them understand why you’re excited (or sad, or optimistic or whatever else you are.)If all you want to do is create a file of facts and figures, then cancel the meeting and send in a report.

Our brains have two sides. The right side is emotional, musical and moody. The left side is focused on dexterity, facts and hard data. When you show up to give a presentation, people want to use both parts of their brain. So they use the right side to judge the way you talk, the way you dress and your body language. Often, people come to a conclusion about your presentation by the time you’re on the second slide. After that, it’s often too late for your bullet points to do you much good.

You can wreck a communication process with lousy logic or unsupported facts, but you can’t complete it without emotion. Logic is not enough.

Champions must sell—to internal audiences and to the outside world.

If everyone in the room agreed with you, you wouldn’t need to do a presentation, would you? You could save a lot of time by printing out a one-page project report and delivering it to each person. No, the reason we do presentations is to make a point, to sell one or more ideas.

If you believe in your idea, sell it. Make your point as hard as you can and get what you came for. Your audience will thank you for it, because deep down, we all want to be sold.

Four Components To A Great Presentation
First, make yourself cue cards. Don’t put them on the screen. Put them in your hand. Now, you can use the cue cards you made to make sure you’re saying what you came to say.

Second, make slides that reinforce your words, not repeat them. Create slides that demonstrate, with emotional proof, that what you’re saying is true not just accurate.

Deadbirdmo Talking about pollution in Houston? Instead of giving me four bullet points of EPA data, why not read me the stats but show me a photo of a bunch of dead birds, some smog and even a diseased lung? This is cheating! It’s unfair! It works.

Third, create a written document. A leave-behind. Put in as many footnotes or details as you like. Then, when you start your presentation, tell the audience that you’re going to give them all the details of your presentation after it’s over, and they don’t have to write down everything you say. Remember, the presentation is to make an emotional sale. The document is the proof that helps the intellectuals in your audience accept the idea that you’ve sold them on emotionally.

IMPORTANT: Don’t hand out the written stuff at the beginning! If you do, people will read the memo while you’re talking and ignore you. Instead, your goal is to get them to sit back, trust you and take in the emotional and intellectual points of your presentation.

Fourth, create a feedback cycle. If your presentation is for a project approval, hand people a project approval form and get them to approve it, so there’s no ambiguity at all about what you’ve all agreed to.

The reason you give a presentation is to make a sale. So make it. Don’t leave without a “yes,” or at the very least, a commitment to a date or to future deliverables.

Bullets Are For the NRA
Here are the five rules you need to remember to create amazing Powerpoint presentations:

  1. No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken.
  2. No cheesy images. Use professional stock photo images.
  3. No dissolves, spins or other transitions.
  4. Sound effects can be used a few times per presentation, but never use the sound effects that are built in to the program. Instead, rip sounds and music from CDs and leverage the Proustian effect this can have. If people start bouncing up and down to the Grateful Dead, you’ve kept them from falling asleep, and you’ve reminded them that this isn’t a typical meeting you’re running.
  5. Don’t hand out print-outs of your slides. They don’t work without you there.

The home run is easy to describe: You put up a slide. It triggers an emotional reaction in the audience. They sit up and want to know what you’re going to say that fits in with that image. Then, if you do it right, every time they think of what you said, they’ll see the image (and vice versa).1

Sure, this is different from the way everyone else does it. But everyone else is busy defending the status quo (which is easy) and you’re busy championing brave new innovations, which is difficult.

Painting fakes

Ed shares this story with us, via a friend of Pablo Picasso.

I was staying with Picasso in his studio. Every day, dealers would come by to authenticate paintings they were trying to sell... they would ask the painter if the painting was real or a fake.

A dealer came by one day, Picasso glanced at it and without hesitating said, "fake." Later that day, two more were identified as fakes.

The second day, a different dealer came by. Picasso hardly looked up. "Fake!" he bellowed.

After the dealer left, I couldn't help myself. "Picasso, why did you say that painting was a fake? I was here, in this studio, last year when I saw you paint it."

Picasso didn't hesitate. He turned to me and said, "I often paint fakes."

The Mall vs. The All

Paco Underhill did a gig with me today. He's brilliant. And stealable!

Today's riff: too many real estate developers are busy building the 'all' instead of a mall.

My contribution: the expression shouldn't be, "all or nothing." It should be "all is nothing."

Levels of Effort

Not quite a hierarchy of needs, here's are four kinds of marketing effort, and they make up a cycle.

No Effort

This is the website that's not designed or promoted. It's the non-profit that doesn't have a development officer or the local stationery store that buys the cheapest sign they can find and it says "stationary." This is the hobbyist blog about my ferret or the nervous entrepreneur who spends months designing a business card so she'll never have to actually go on a sales call. I'm always surprised when I see good work that has no effort put into its marketing, because marketing doesn't require cash... just belief and effort. And if it's worth building, it's probably worth marketing.

This category sort of matches the idea of the child that is too simple to even ask a question.

Right Effort

Here you'll find a website that is easy to use and builds a permission asset. One that buys AdWords and tests them. You'll discover a non-profit that has figured out how to write grant proposals that actually get funded. Or a blogger who writes with aplomb and knows how to promote his work.

This is the restaurant with convenient hours or the airline with a frequent flyer program.

Marketers spend much of their time focusing on this sort of effort and how to make it more effective. In fact, it might be your day job.

Too Much Effort

It's in the eye of the beholder of course, but there are certainly marketers who try too hard. They buttonhole innocent bystanders at trade shows, they have websites filled with popups, popunders, audio riffs and toll free numbers repeated over and over again. They spam people. One reason that many people have dismissed MultiLevel Marketing is because of a bad experience with someone who tried too hard. And we all know about particularly obnoxious non-profits that tried just a little too hard to convert us or raise money.

Buddha No (Apparent) Effort

The last level is awfully similar to the first one. That's the marketer who doesn't appear to try. The speaker who doesn't solicit engagements, or the consulting firm that doesn't have (or need) a salesforce. This is the one that is fascinating and overlooked.

It takes confidence to market with No (Apparent) Effort. It's a zen thing, and it's attractive to many people because of the power it projects. We're drawn to someone who doesn't try too hard, who is booked enough to not need a booking. When Miles Davis performed with his back to the audience, some people were offended. Others were entranced by his cool.

Graydon Carter just opened a restaurant in New York. No photos of the dining room, not even for the Times. The word PREVIEW on every page of the menu. He's trying so hard not to try, it shows.

There's a market distinction here. Some people will buy from a gas station with no marketing because the station is in the right place at the right time. Many people will buy from someone who does marketing the right way and presses the right buttons. And yes, there are a few people who buy things from spam email or from obnoxious websites.

There are many markets, though, where no (apparent) marketing is exactly what the prospect wants. Especially in business to business sales, or in certain media pitches, the less you try, the better you do. As this has become clear, businesses are getting better at marketing without marketing, at trying without (appearing to) try.

Please don't blog this. It's a preview.

The truth about the Nova

Cross cultural experts love to tell you that the Chevy Nova didn't sell in South America because No va means "no go" in Spanish. Don't believe it. It didn't sell because it was a lousy car.

That example aside, you can learn a lot from this list: How not to be a cultural knucklehead in a global business world.

Notable

I got a note from a friend about a co-worker that brilliantly summed up the chasm facing marketers today:

I believe she is good at the standard but limited in considering the notable.

The Long Tail Inside

Jake points us to The Long Tail: Long Tail PR: how to do publicity without a press release (or the press).

At the same time, Frank wonders if internal training is overrated, and whether all internal focused communication ought to be aimed at prospects and consumers instead.

Both are riffing on the idea that one of the most important assets of a big company is that... it's big. It has its own long tail inside.

Instead of having one book publicist at a company, someone who does history one day, cooking the next and business the third, Chris Anderson wonders whether allowing people to go deep (and to live in the niches) is more important than having  a 'publicist'. In other words, the editor who edits books on a topic all day is far more aligned than a general publicist ever could be.

If organizations permit and encourage all their employees to spread out, to speak out, to blog and to join communities about what they care about, surely there will be better alignment than there is when yet another clueless publicity person sends me yet another piece of spam about her company's (irrelevant) products.

What's missing from most corporate and non-profit analysis is this: If everyone has a blog, then everyone is a blogger.

Sure that sounds trivial. But then why are organizations acting like there is still us and them?

Creativity

99% of the time, in my experience, the hard part about creativity isn't coming up with something no one has ever thought of before. The hard part is actually executing the thing you've thought of.

The devil doesn't need an advocate. The brave need supporters, not critics.

High resolution mistakes

The other day, I burned 602.4 calories during my workout.

Of course, I didn't really. That's just what the display said. No one can determine exactly (to the tenth of a calorie) what I burned, certainly not this machine.

But the number is prominent and apparently precise. So it appears to be worth paying attention to.

Squidalexa Like a site's Alexa rank. Or your son's high school GPA.

Why do so many successful entrepreneurs go right back to building another company after they've sold their previous one? One big reason is how easy it is to read the balance on a bank account. Shouldn't multimillionaires leave bigger tips at restaurants? It's all about keeping score.

The danger is when you keep score of the wrong thing because it's easy or precise.

There are literally millions of bloggers that have become so focused on measurable traffic that they end up posting nonsense designed to do nothing but attract a Digg. Look back at a blog like that a month later and it appears to be a series of gimmicks, all designed to maximize a metric that's almost totally irrelevant to what the blogger set out to do in the first place.

Here are some common metrics (and the thing that might be the real point):

  • Good grades in school (the ability to solve problems in life)
  • Lots of raw traffic to your blog (conversations among prospects who become fans or customers)
  • Burning calories (feeling better and looking good)
  • Clickthrough rate on ads (conversion rate to customers)
  • High salary (long-term happiness)
  • Class rank (actually learning something)
  • Number of stock options (future prospects of your employer)
  • This quarter's commission (reputation in the industry)
  • Technorati rank (number of RSS subscribers)

Sometimes the unmeasurable is a shield, a way to insulate ourselves from the fear of measurement. But to embrace a number just because it appears to be accurate (though not relevant) is just as bad.

The humidty in NY today, in case you were curious, is supposed to be 64%.

Who wants a prize like that?

MJ Rose points us to 150thrillers.com.

The deal is straightforward. Sign up for the newsletter of the International Thriller Writers and get entered to win 150 signed thrillers by famous thriller authors.

There are some real insights here. The first is that having 'competitors' band together to gain attention is really smart and really rare. Lee Child doesn't compete with David Morrell. Lee Child competes with TV or boredom. As Tim O'Reilly says, his enemy is obscurity. By using the Net to coordinate their audiences, they all win.

The second brilliancy is that the only people who want to win the prize are the people who'd like to get the newsletter... an iPhone would be a lousy prize, because it would be an irrelevant bribe. Instead, what they've done is created an easy way for one thriller reader to introduce the newsletter to another... "hey, I know you like Stuart Woods, check this out..."

Wanna bet that newsletter subscribers end up buying more books?

Does it matter who the messenger is?

There's a very public PR campaign (full page ads in today's New York Times, billboards in Times Square) attacking PETA. Click on their website and hit about us, and you'll find a link. Two more clicks and you find:

The Center for Consumer Freedom is supported by restaurants, food companies and more than 1,000 concerned individuals. From farm to fork, our friends and supporters include businesses, employees and consumers.

The Wikipedia article sheds a bit more light, pointing out that a cigarette company was the initial sponsor of the group and that fast food restaurants are funders as well. Millions of dollars worth of funding from a few giant corporations.

Pre-internet, there really was no chance that people would discover that what appears to be a grass-roots organization is actually corporate-sponsored group that funnels money to a single individual and his lobbying/consulting firm. My favorite part of the 'Center's' website is this line: Who funds you guys? How about some "full disclosure"? followed by no disclosure at all.

My point has nothing to do with how you feel about transfats, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, second-hand cigarette smoke or PETA, and everything to do with how the identity of the idea-spreader influences how you think about the idea.

My Karma ran over your Dogma

Once again, the web is the great equalizer. Phil runs Floodle.net. He buys "information" on eBay and then posts it for free on his website (which has ads, by the way).

It's harder than ever to create a back alley or black market.

Web4

Fanfourlogst_1 The web changed my life. I can't live without wikipedia or Google. But ultimately, I'm disappointed. Almost every day, the web lets me down.

What do web users do for a living? What do we get paid to do that makes it worth giving us a web browser? Me, I make connections. I take disparate ideas and connect them in (hopefully) useful ways. Others do it with people, or cash instead of ideas. But we're all connectors.

Tim O'Reilly coined the term Web 2.0. It is a bit controversial, but basically it describes a generation of web pages that go beyond the flat HTML of the original Web. Web 2.0 pages encourage community and user-generated content.

Web 3 is the brainchild of Tim Berners-Lee, largely credited for inventing the world wide web in the first place. It's more commonly called the Semantic Web. The idea is, to quote Lee, "I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize."

I'll get in trouble for this simple shorthand, but it's data about data. Websites that are smart about what they are and what they contain. But what's it for? I mean it's very audacious and powerful, but why? And what drives it to work?

The opportunities of the semantic web are limitless, and I can't wait. But that's not Web4. Web4 is what I'm really waiting for. And it's entirely possible that Web4 will get here before the semantic web even though Web 3 makes it work a lot better.

We start with this:

  • Ubiquity
  • Identity
  • Connection

We need ubiquity to build Web4, because it is about activity, not just data, and most human activity takes place offline.

We need identity to build Web4, because the deliverable is based on who you are and what you do and what you need.

And we need connection to build Web4, because you're nothing without the rest of us.

Web4 is about making connections, about serendipity and about the network taking initiative.

Some deliberately provocative examples:

I'm typing an email to someone, and we're brainstorming about doing a business development deal with Apple. A little window pops up and lets me know that David over in our Tucscon office is already having a similar conversation with Apple and perhaps we should coordinate.

I'm booked on a flight from Toledo to Seattle. It's cancelled. My phone knows that I'm on the flight, knows that it's cancelled and knows what flights I should consider instead. It uses semantic data but it also has permission to interrupt me and tell me about it. Much more important, it knows what my colleagues are doing in response to this event and tells me. 'Follow me' gets a lot easier.

Google watches what I search. It watches what other people like me search. Every day, it shows me things I ought to be searching for that I'm not. And it introduces me to people who are searching for what I'm searching for.

As a project manager, my computer knows my flow chart and dependencies for what we're working on. And so does the computer of every person on the project, inside my team and out. As soon as something goes wrong (or right) the entire chart updates.

I'm late for a dinner. My GPS phone knows this (because it has my calendar, my location, and the traffic status). So, it tells me, and then it alerts the people who are waiting for me.

I visit a blog for the first time. My browser knows what sort of stories I am interested in and shows me highlights of the new blog based on that history.

I can invest in stocks as part of a team, a team that gains strength as it grows in size.

Here's Rikard's riff on how the iPhone could be more like Web4.

I'm about to buy something from a vendor (in a store with a smart card or online). At the last minute, Web4 jumps in and asks if I want it cheaper, or if I want it from a vendor with a better reputation. Not based on some gamed system, but based on what a small trusted circle believes.

My PDA knows I'm going to a convention. Based on my email logs, it recommends who I ought to see while I'm there--because my friends have opted in to our network and we're in sync.

I can fly to the CES for half price, because Web4 finds enough of us that we can charter a flight.

I don't have to wait for Rickie Lee Jones to come to town. Sonos knows who the Rickie Lee fans are, and makes it easy for us to get together and initiate a concert... we book her, no scalpers necessary.

I don't get company spam any more ("fill out your TPS reports") because whenever anyone in my group of extended colleagues highlights a piece of corporate spam, it's gone for all of us. But wait, it's also smart enough that when a recipient highlights a mail as worth reading, it goes to the top of my queue. If, over time, the system senses (from how long I read the mail, or that I delete it, or that I don't take action) that the guy's recommendations are lame, he loses cred.

Sure, it sounds a bit like LinkedIn. But it's not. LinkedIn tends to make networks that are sprawling and weak. Web4 is about smaller, far more intense connections with trusted colleagues and their activities. It's a tribe.

You don't have to join a tribe. But if you did, would you be more successful?

Unlike Web 3, we don't need every single page in the world to be 'compliant.' What we need is:

  • an email client that is smart about what I'm doing and what my opted in colleagues are doing. Once that gains traction, plenty of vendors will work to integrate with it.
  • a cell phone and cell phone provider that is not just a phone.
  • a word processor that knows about everything I've written and what's on the web that's related to what I'm writing now.
  • moves by Google and Yahoo and others to make it easy for us to become non-anonymous, all the time, everywhere we go.

This stuff creeps some people out. The thing is, privacy is an illusion. You think you have privacy, but the video surveillance firms and your credit card company disagree. If we're already on camera, we might as well get some benefits from it. If we choose.

I think it's fascinating that Web4 is coming from the edges (we see all sorts of tribal activities popping up in blogs, communities, rankings, Digg, etc.) as opposed to from the center. Web 2.0 happened in largely the same way. Even online, big organizations seem to have the most trouble innovating in ways that change the game.

Out of the corner of your eye

Juxtaposition matters. And so does surprise.

Most marketing is intentional. In this ad I will advertise this product.

So is most writing. A knitting blog writes about...wait for it... knitting.

Our mind is prepared for what we are about to receive. If it's a sales pitch, we're ready to ignore it. If it's on a familiar blog, we're ready for it to be familiar.

Real memories are created by surprises.
Real change is created by unexpected juxtapositions.

Time magazine used to work (when it worked) because an irrelevant and slightly loopy article about some unusual idea was right between an article on Israel and one on welfare.

And New York City works, when it works, because the zoning is so mixed up. Right in the middle of the meat market district... there's a high end clothing store.

Most marketers, probably you, are busy putting your round pegs in the round holes that have been given to you. What if you did the opposite?

Preparation

Swedish maxim:

There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.

How to be Cory Doctorow

Everybody wants to be the cofounder of Boingboing. At least everyone I know.

You write something and boom, millions of people hear it and react. It's a great gig.

I sat next to Cory at a conference today. It was like playing basketball next to Michael Jordan. Cory was looking at more than 30 screens a minute. He was bouncing from his mail to his calendar to a travel site and then back. His fingers were a blur as he processed inbound mail, visiting more than a dozen sites in the amount of time it took for my neck to cramp up. I'm very fast, but Cory is in a different league entirely. Rereading this, I can see I'm not doing it justice. I wish I had a video...

This was never a skill before. I mean, maybe if you were an air traffic controller, but for most of us, most of the time, this data overload skill and the ability to make snap judgments is not taught or rewarded.

As the world welcomes more real-time editors working hard in low-overhead organizations, I think it's going to be a skill in very high demand.

The Cycle of Choice

Most markets are busted open by one successful leader. Burton in snowboards, Henry Ford in cars, the iPod in mp3 players.

It sure seems, for a while, that the leader can do no wrong. Market share is high, the market grows, and then, oof, the leader fades.

It looks a bit like this:
Inandout
The leader attracts newcomers to the market. Both new users and new competitors. The competitors offer new choices, alternative pricing and distribution models and just plain old choice. Unless there is a significant external barrier to change (like the iTunes store or the Windows distribution monopoly), then the leader appears to fade. At one point, there were more than 2,000 car companies in the US.

There are several lessons available for marketers here. First, if you bust open a market, don't expect to own it forever. Second, if you can, invest heavily in some sort of external effect that creates a natural monopoly and gives people a really good reason to stick (beyond the fact that you're the leader). And third, if you're not the leader, realize that: a. you're not going to replace them and b. being just like them isn't the way to grow. As a market grows, the 'scraps' left over from the leader can add up to a huge piece of market share. And then, over time, a new leader may emerge.

The law school for underachievers

...who have a proBlem with CapiTalization but are sticklers for the truth. Why settle for being the best when you can be sixteenth? ThankS Lawrence for the link...

Lawschool

Online Activism

Part 1: Micah sends us to this report, just out a few moments ago: Pew: 14 Million Online Political Activists in U.S. Today | Personal Democracy Forum.

23% of campaign internet users has either posted their own political commentary to the web via a blog, site or newsgroup (8%); forwarded or posted someone else's commentary (13%); created political audio or video (1%); forwarded someone else's audio or video (8%). "That translates into about 14 million people who were using the 'read-write Web' to contribute to political discussion and activity," the study's authors Lee Rainie and John Horrigan write.

Part 2: Jill is inviting a few dozen non profits to a non-profit only seminar I'm doing in February. We've already got confirmed reservations from 5 of the top 30 orgs in the US, including executive directors from a couple of them. If you'd like to be considered, please drop Jill a note and tell her why.

Adults are the new kids

Three experiences this morning:

Grocery store. (apparently) Single adult buying: Sprite, oreos, white bread, Jif, Welch's, Fritos. Grabbed a $6 chocolate bar at the register.

Hardware store. Fifty year old man doing card tricks for the clerk.

In the street: dozens of cars all costing more than $65,000.

They're kids. But with (even more) money.

Org 2.0

If you manage, work for or just root for a non-profit, I hope you'll take a look at THE 59 SMARTEST ORGS ONLINE.

We worked with NetSquared and GetActive and came up with a list that highlights 59 really smart non-profits and what they're doing online.

And yes, you can learn from these tactics even if you're a for-profit organization... we're now seeing great marketing ideas that move in a direction we're not used to.

Here's a preview of the top five (you can vote if you click through). It's not a popularity contest, of course, because everyone is doing really good work. Feel free to vote for any cause that has a technique or approach you'd like to highlight.

plex4388

Mañana

If you could do tomorrow over again, would you?

Most of us live programmed lives. Tomorrow is set, finished, done, and you haven't even started it yet.

And we accept that as part of the deal in setting goals and reaching them.

But what about the tomorrow thirty days from now? Or a year?

If you could do those over, would you? How?

On becoming the

The article in the Times didn't set out to say something vitally important about marketing, but it did. In starting off a profile it says,
"For the past couple of years Jun Kaneko, the ceramic artist..."

It didn't say "a ceramic artist." No. It said, "the ceramic artist".

The entire tone of the piece changes. It's so much better to be a 'the' not an 'a'.

Which are you?

I don't think it's a trivial distinction. In fact, I'd argue that it's worth an enormous amount of your time and your budget to focus on becoming the.

Enormity

The Fedex woman stopped by my office on Friday. She wanted to know if we were going to be open on Monday.

I explained that our hours really never make sense, but that my team and I would be thinking of Dr. King and his work all day, regardless of what we were doing.

She sighed deeply and said, "Every year, we're supposed to ask if offices are going to be open, and last year it made me so sad, I had to stop asking. I even got written up for not doing it." It turns out that most people either said, "what holiday?" or "oh, we don't celebrate that..."

I've written a lot about worldview, about the instincts and biases and outlooks that shape our lives. It's very difficult to change a worldview as a marketer... but one thing that changes a worldview, not just forever but often for generations, is a truly horrific event.

Why is it so easy and fun for a politician to make fun of French people (the French are arrogant and don't bathe was the joke on the radio on Saturday), but a non-starter to take on rape victims? There are no skits on Saturday Night Live about Darfur. Why does it make us squirm when someone misuses the idea of a lynching for their own selfish motives? If you've been misjudged and mistreated your entire life, of course it has an effect on the way you see the world.

Slavery was the greatest crime of the millenium. Why does it surprise marketers (politicians and otherwise) when so many people have a worldview that has been permanently altered by the legacy of abuse? It's a worldview that doesn't ask for charity for the individual, but one that demands respect.

The lesson of diversity is a simple one, a compelling one, one that's been demonstrated over and over again. Diverse populations solve problems better and faster than homogenous ones. But the selfish value of treating people of all backgrounds in the same way is just part of the Reverend's message. The other part, the part that's easy to forget, is that when confronted with enormity, worldviews change. And if you want to engage with someone, you have no choice but to understand that. You don't have to experience the emotion in order to be able to respect someone who has.

Inventing a new cell phone

Steve Jobs got a lot of press for his recent reinvention of the cellphone. The thing about the iPhone is that it doesn't really re-invent the cellphone. Mostly, it mashes a cellphone together with a few other devices (doesn't mean I don't want one).

The thing about the iPhone is that it is designed to better connect users to the network. You can check your voicemail in a random access way, like email, for example. But what it doesn't do is actually re-invent the very thing that makes cellphones magical: how you connect with other people.

Here's a few things a reinvented cellphone might be able to do:

  • Let me leave voice mail for groups of people all at once.
  • Let me initiate conference calls with groups of people with just one directory entry.
  • Let me call friends based on where they are at a given moment.
  • Initiate calls with strangers based on their web of relationships (Facebook style) or their physical proximity and status. If there are friends of friends in the airport while I'm waiting, let me see them! Talk to them?
  • Put a dating site into a phone. Pictures and status and location and boom, you can talk.
  • Allow marketers to pay money to interact with consumers who opt in, based on needs, location or just plain boredom.
  • Let me queue up people who want to talk with me and work my way through the list in a way that works for both of us.

The $140 million permission project

Chris writes in about his work at Glass House Denver.

1.  We placed a site sign at the construction site directing people to a website (not the one that exists now).

2.  At that site, we ran a short slideshow of what I would call benefit pictures - no renderings of a pool, just a guy sitting by a pool.

3.  Once the slideshow ended, we offered people a chance to "get on the list" for more information.

4.  When we had permission from these people, we began updating them on our progress once a month, including revealing in more detail each feature of the building.

5.  By the time we began the next step, over 5,000 people (I can't remember the exact number) had signed up (85% saying they were recommended by a friend.)

6.  About 500 of those people had come by our office and REALLY expressed interest/granted permission.

7.  We had about 45 cocktail parties for those people, about 15 at a time, at a restaurant in our neighborhood.  In essence, we invited them in for drinks.  We brought no collateral.  No models.  Instead, we just spent time with them.  Answered their questions.  Filled them in on the details that mattered to them.

8.  Then we created a private website for those people who had expressed interest answering the most common questions we had heard in our cocktail parties.

9.  From there, using a system that met some pretty stringent real estate law requirements, we offered those people who had expressed the most interest in Glass House an opportunity to purchase.

10.  We're moving the first people in and are completely bought out - 389 residences before the completion of construction in a market that is decidedly not booming.  (Don't get me wrong, this was a good building priced well in a great location.  But, our marketing was the x factor in making it work.)

It all adds up to about $140 mm in revenue. Chris says it was this book. I think it took a lot of style and discipline and investment.

We tried everything

I just got a spectacularly insightful and honest e-mail from Scott. Here's the money quote:

We've "tried everything," by which we mean we've tried a few things that everybody else has done as long as they didn't involve doing anything differently from what we normally do.

60 million mystery shoppers

Ben points us to: Hee-Haw Marketing: HURRICANE KOHLS!.

The message isn't that Kohl's doesn't care, Kohl's has lousy management or Kohl's is messy.

The message is that with 60 million camera phones in use, we notice.

How to get re-elected

I don't write often about the marketing of politicians, but it really hit home with me the other night.

Along with 80 other people (about 1% of my town's population) I attended a zoning hearing in my little town. I was astonished by the way the five trustees, including the mayor, Lee Kinnally, Jr., treated the voters who were there.

The meeting was called for 8. At about 8:10, when the trustees were seated and ready (and the room was packed) the mayor decided to take the trustees and leave the room for a private session on a matter unrelated to the issue at hand. We all sat quietly for more than fifteen minutes. During the entire time, each person was saying to himself, "I will never ever vote for these rude people ever again."

During the hearing itself, eye contact was in short supply and at one point, a trustee even berated an applicant. Emotions were running high, voters were paying attention and the politicians completely dropped the ball.

All it would have taken were a few encouraging words and some appropriate body language.

Every day, politicians do mundane things. They sit through hearings or review boring proposals. But here, in front of the voters, voters who cared deeply about a single issue, each politician had a chance to really shine. And they failed. Miserably.

People don't renew or cancel their cell phone service because of the ads (the ads that might have gotten them to sign up in the first place.) They do it based on the service and the way it makes them feel. And people don't vote to re-elect a candidate because of her debate performance or speeches.

Voters decide because of the intense emotion they feel during isolated moments. The challenge of being a politician, whether you're national or in a tiny village, is the same—to exceed expectations in the most intense interactions you have each day.

When you should stop improving

So, Stan Sigman, the CEO and President of Cingular, is at the top of his game. He makes millions of dollars a year (not counting bonuses), he runs the biggest wireless company in the country and he's the boss.

If you watch the Apple keynote speech, though, Stan sure could use some help. He appears at about 1:34 into the presentation. He's dressed all wrong. Not buttoned down enough to be a CEO, not casual enough for the Valley. And his jacket fits funny. Sort of like he's at his son-in-law's second wedding.

Stan gives his talk from 3 x5 index cards, which he holds awkwardly on stage. And he doesn't really say anything.

One could argue that you can be a great CEO without having a clue how to speak in public. But why not either get better at it or send someone else in your place? If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well, and I think the standards for a multimillionaire CEO announcing a major new venture ought to be pretty high.

Two kinds of people in the world...

Iphone The folks that want (need!) an iPhone, and those that couldn't care less. And of course it's not just Apple and it's not just phones. It's every single industry in the world.

You're not likely to convert one group into the other. What you can do is decide which group you'd like to market to. You can't do both at the same time, not particularly well, anyway.

Hard Work

Inspired by this post, three years ago:

One Or and the other
Getting an MBA Keeping your promises
Being board certified Looking patients in the eye
Policies Judgment
Buying an expensive front loader Giving renovation clients an honest estimate
Having a fancy building Hiring a nice receptionist
Putting a new logo on the planes Cleaning the peanut butter off the seat tray
Spending $100 million on special effects Leaving the ads off the non-skippable coming attractions on the DVD
Having a new POS computer Waiving the late fee because of a snowstorm
Offering the lowest rate for a cell phone Not tricking customers with a bait and switch
Hiring expensive executives Firing the ones that don't grow and change
Moving the call center overseas Answering the phone after one ring
Using a state-of-the-art chipset Designing the device so it is easy to use
Hiring a brilliant tax lawyer Doing your books in a way that's transparent to employees and investors
Making a lot of money Donating a lot of money (quietly)
Putting on a conference Taking a risk and making the conference interesting
Making the world's best chocolate Charging way more than the competition
Having a custom Wordpress blog with bells and whistles Writing stuff people want to read
Having contrary opinions Expressing them with kindness, respect and attribution
Making it to the top of the heap Listening to the people on their way up
Sucking up to the boss Respecting the doorman
Designing a six page spreadsheet for strategic analysis Having the guts to cancel the product or shut the division
Having a great idea Sticking your neck out

Turning your idea into a picture

David at Boingboing points us to: A Periodic Table of Visualization Methods.

I love the spectacular use of technology on this web page. I hate the twisted use of the periodic table (because the relationships between the types isn't natural or elegant the way chemicals are) but it's worth it, because it will certainly inspire you to figure out how to get out of your text rut.

Snowflakes

The other day, I heard a parent wistfully point out that kids never act just the way they say they will in all those parenting books. "What to Expect?" Not really. Sort of like snowflakes, they're all different.

Organizations are like that, but worse.

Or better.

There's never been a marketing problem that turned out just the way the book said it will. That's what makes it interesting. Sure, there's a science. There are best practices that, more often than not, pay off. Sort of like not giving a toddler vodka... it's just a good idea. But the art of management is in understanding that all problems are different, and that your intuition and insight are the key.

Would you have it any other way?

Big and small

I just finished the last pass on my new book, which is out in May.

I'm not going to talk about it in public for a while, but I'm creating two lists for people who might want advance word on some of the special things I'm doing in association with it.

If you work with a very large (10,000 people plus) organization and want to hear about something you might be able to facilitate on a large scale, or if you're at a smaller organization but want to get first dibs on the other program designed to help spread the word, feel free to visit: Seth Godin: The Dip.

Thanks!

Legions of the Clueless

Emiles I heard from a disappointed reader today, wondering why I bother. He said that I don't say anything new, that it's obvious, that everyone already gets this stuff.

Then David sent me this note from Northwest. When you click through to take advantage of their invitation, of course it leads you to a totally blank form... so much for being a valued customer. And then I hear about Prudential. Apparently, they've just agreed to pay $100,000,000 for the naming rights to the new hockey arena in Newark.

Huh? $5 million a year for the name of a hockey arena?

The problem with marketing isn't that there isn't enough money to spend. The problem is that the people who are spending it are sometimes lazy, selfish, committee-centric, confused or scared. They know better. Of course they do. They just need to be reminded sometimes.

Odds and Ends

New blogging platform Terapad.com - Beyond Blogging.
New book: Duct Tape Marketing
HUB roundtable on innovation (PDF)
Only 9 slots left in my next seminar.
Great cheap novel (should be a movie): Geek Mafia
Happy anniversary to the Moleskinerie.

Maybe not so odd...

How many bloggers? A lot

Thanks to all the bloggers who took me up on my Compact Fluorescent challenge. That's all on this topic for quite a while. Thanks for all the great mail, too.

How many marketers does it take to get you to screw in a light bulb? from 12gurus (the blog), I Do So Love Compact Fluorescent LightBulbs! from adam jusko's bessed blog, ten things i didn't about compact fluorescent lightbulbs until last week from MisEntropy, ten things i didn't know about compact fluorescent lightbulbs until last week from MisEntropy, ...With the bulbs you have from Clicked, Think Green Thrifty from True Story | Thoughts by Doug True, Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs from Happiness, Wellness and Healing, Seeing the Light from erniesblog, Its A Hard Habit To Break from The Happy Burro, House Lighting Tip #1 from Make a good house a GREAT home, How many Realtors to screw in lightbulb? from StarMaker Jason, A Good Idea from john t. unger studio, Let there be light! from mike brewer, You Light Up My Life (And My House) from Your Life. Organized.    Motivational Speaker , Wal-Mart Is Pushing Energy Effiecient Bulbs from NeoNetMarketing, Light bulbs from DJ Orion - the diary, An energy efficient hack - literally from palegreen.co.uk, The Turn of the Bulb from The Real Estate Zebra, Why I use compact fluorescent light bulbs from Search Engine Marketing Blog from Elixir Systems, The problem with those compact fluorescent bulbs from Simon Payn's Effective Customer Newsletters, The Curly, Cute CF Light BulbCompact Fluorescent Blubs - The two big fundamentalflaws from Taco's Toppings, Doodley Bulbs AreSquiggly! from The Learning Curve, Screw the Future - BumperSticker from The Learning Curve, Confessions from the darkside from ÜberEye, Wal-Mart Environmentalism from Acton Institute PowerBlog, Money saving tip: fluorescent light bulbs from Adventure Money, Energize Your Business from Customer Service Experience, Fab 5 on Friday from Balanced Life Center, Glow, baby, glow: The revolution will be illuminated . . . from BloodhoundBlog, How to light up 2007 from communicatrix, A Case For Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs from Content Blog, The Blog Push for Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs from Conversion Rater - web analytics, online advertising, and website publishing., Seeing the light - New Years ResolutionsSave $66 with a Light Bulb? from jcCommerce, Why Is It So Hard to Sell CF Lightbulbs? from LandingTheDeal, Gimmie a C! Gimmie an F! from Medium & the Message, Why don't people use Compact Florescent lightbulbs? from Here's The Thing, Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs And The Lazy Gal from No Limits Ladies., How many bloggers does it take to shift traditional lightbulbs dominance? from Pedro's Spot, Who doesn't want $66? from JK's Journal, How many bald guys does it take to screw in a light bulb? from Sly Bald Guys Forum, Save $66 per light bulb in your house from Sly Bald Guys Forum, Just one, Seth from Sparkplug 9 >> bizhack, Compact Florescent Lightbulb Packaging from The Deets, The CF Lightbulb that Could. from The Mostly Honest Truth, Do you make the same mistakes as Wal-mart and Seth Godin? from thinks, Ilu blogerów potrzeba żeby wkręcić żarówkę? from Zielone Migdały from Build A Solo Practice, LLC,  from Free From Blog

How to be remarkable

From this week's Guardian:

1. Understand the urgency of the situation. Half-measures simply won't do. The only way to grow is to abandon your strategy of doing what you did yesterday, but better. Commit.

2. Remarkable doesn't mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to make a remark about it? If not, then you're average, and average is for losers.

3. Being noticed is not the same as being remarkable. Running down the street naked will get you noticed, but it won't accomplish much. It's easy to pull off a stunt, but not useful.

4. Extremism in the pursuit of remarkability is no sin. In fact, it's practically a requirement. People in first place, those considered the best in the world, these are the folks that get what they want. Rock stars have groupies because they're stars, not because they're good looking.

5. Remarkability lies in the edges. The biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most difficult. It doesn't always matter which edge, more that you're at (or beyond) the edge.

6. Not everyone appreciates your efforts to be remarkable. In fact, most people don't. So what? Most people are ostriches, heads in the sand, unable to help you anyway. Your goal isn't to please everyone. Your goal is to please those that actually speak up, spread the word, buy new things or hire the talented.

7. If it's in a manual, if it's the accepted wisdom, if you can find it in a Dummies book, then guess what? It's boring, not remarkable. Part of what it takes to do something remarkable is to do something first and best. Roger Bannister was remarkable. The next guy, the guy who broke Bannister's record wasn't. He was just faster ... but it doesn't matter.

8. It's not really as frightening as it seems. They keep the masses in line by threatening them (us) with all manner of horrible outcomes if we dare to step out of line. But who loses their jobs at the mass layoffs? Who has trouble finding a new gig? Not the remarkable minority, that's for sure.

9. If you put it on a T-shirt, would people wear it? No use being remarkable at something that people don't care about. Not ALL people, mind you, just a few. A few people insanely focused on what you do is far far better than thousands of people who might be mildly interested, right?

10. What's fashionable soon becomes unfashionable. While you might be remarkable for a time, if you don't reinvest and reinvent, you won't be for long. Instead of resting on your laurels, you must commit to being remarkable again quite soon.

Hard to say goodbye

Why should leaving a marketer be any harder than joining one?

Justin points us to: Just Cancel the @#%$* Account!.

Surely the CFO will argue that if you can create impediments to quitting your service, short term profits will increase. She might even argue that investing in staff to make it easier to quit is money wasted.

I think the opposite is clearly true.

The number one reason consumers don't sign up for your free trial is that they don't believe that it's really free, and that they are sure that once the trial is over you'll figure out some way to harrass them, steal from them or otherwise make them sorry they trusted you.

So turn that on its head. Make it easier to quit, not harder. Word will spread. Trials will go up. (Anyone interested in trying something from AOL? I didn't think so.) And more trials from more trusting people can't help but lead to more profits. Which will make your CFO happy.

I found the websheet

In September I wrote about the websheet, a tool that would allow me to put live Google and web data into a spreadsheet.

Four months later, the best version I've found is right here.

The web lookup part needs more functions and it needs to be open so others can add to it, but it's a great start and it's free. (hint: try 'insert function', hit 'more' and choose 'Googlelookup'.) The help screen explains how it works.

 

The difference between strategy and tactics

Strategy_1

I got a note from a frustrated marketer yesterday. She wanted to understand how to grow her business. It felt like they were doing everything right. They had a motivated, well-trained salesforce, a great product, a decent website, etc. Everyone was working super hard.

Her question: "We sell something to manufacturing companies, something that would essentially replace a large part of the plant operations team. Obviously, we can't sell to them, because they want to get bigger, not smaller. We need to sell to the CEO, but we can't get his attention because the savings involved aren't big enough to get his attention. How do we get to the CEO?"

This feels like a tactical problem. It's not. It's a strategy question. And the strategy involves the entire business and the products they choose to sell.

Here's the difference: The right strategy makes any tactic work better. The right strategy puts less pressure on executing your tactics perfectly.

Here's the obligatory January skiing analogy: Carving your turns better is a tactic. Choosing the right ski area in the first place is a strategy. Everyone skis better in Utah, it turns out.

If you are tired of hammering your head against the wall, if it feels like you never are good enough, or that you're working way too hard, it doesn't mean you're a loser. It means you've got the wrong strategy.

It takes real guts to abandon a strategy, especially if you've gotten super good at the tactics. That's precisely the reason that switching strategies is often such a good idea. Because your competition is afraid to.

Do you want to be like Bob?

I get a lot of mail complaining about various companies and their customer service, and Home Depot accounts for a huge percentage of it. In fact, five times more people complain about Home Depot than any other organization.

Today, Bob Nardelli, their CEO, got fired.

He probably got fired for insulting his investors (his annual meeting will go down in history) and for alienating employees and customers. He appeared to go out of his way to annoy customers, especially. There are very few companies that don't even bother to write back if you write to the CEO.

Here's the thing. In addition to getting fired, Bob got two hundred and ten million dollars in severance. (Try this: $210,000,000.00)

Amazing. I'd been writing a post over the last few weeks trying to explain why Home Depot had some sort of strategy in carving out this niche for itself, but it sure looks to me as though Bob's strategy was more about Bob.

My best advice is that if you can get a severance package like that, you should go ahead and get fired. Failing that, though, I'm at a loss to figure out why you would deliberately ruin a pretty decent brand by aggressively annoying all your constituents.

How many bloggers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

[Note: this is part of a webwide series of blog posts about compact fluorescent lightbulbs. January is the darkest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere (December might be a bit darker, but with all the candles, trees and dropping balls, we work hard to light it up). To fight off the darkness, bloggers everywhere are invited to create a post with their own riff on why CF bulbs are cheaper, better politically, harder to market or just plain cute. Your choice. If you trackback here, I'll post your link in a future post and/or you can add your link to this lens, which donates all royalties to Ecotrust].

So, why have only 6% of all US households installed even one CF lightbulb?

It can't be the economics. After all, a typical CF bulb saves the user more than $66 over its lifetime. Count the bulbs in your house, multiply by 66...

It can't be the environmental impact. CF bulbs actually reduce the amount of mercury in the environment, because even though there's a tiny amount of mercury vapor in each bulb, the amount of coal production they cut down more than makes up for it. Add to that the hundreds of pounds of greenhouse gases they reduce... (if you had to buy and bring home the gases with each purchase, I think it would make a difference in the the relative sales).

And it's not the geopolitical impact either. If we switched all our bulbs, we could stop importing oil altogether. Without giving up one Hummer.

So, why are people apparently immune to the benefits. I mean, why won't we even try one of the bulbs?

Ready? It's because of everything you've already read on this page.

Lightbulbs are often the one and only home improvement most people ever make. Even tenants and college students install lightbulbs. Installing a lightbulb is so simple that it's even the topic of an entire genre of jokes. (Ten points if you recognized the picture and the joke that goes with it.)

Portrait_hr Lightbulbs are simple. Lightbulbs come in simple packaging. They represent a trivial decision. You need a sixty watt bulb, you buy one. Cheap, please.

CF lightbulbs, on the other hand, didn't used to be cheap (they used to cost $10. Now it's $2). Far worse than that, they come in horrible packaging, packaging that belies the entire point of the exercise. Installing a CF lightbulb isn't jokeworthy. It's harder.

CF lightbulbs have a story problem, plain and simple. They need to stop looking so weird, being so expensive and being so hard to open. Either that, or we could just grow up, suck it up and deal with it. (And they're cheaper (much cheaper) now too.)

If you buy three or four and hate them, well, hey, it's your choice. But if your office and your home don't have a bunch yet, it's a little bit of a bad joke, isn't it? Sometimes, just because a marketer has a story problem it doesn't mean it's worth giving up.

Welcome back

Lost in the Christmas shuffle was my newest day long seminar.

I hope you can come. The date is 2/13/07 in New York. We usually sell out, so you should hurry.

Doomed to repeat them

The Internet Year In Review - 1994 courtesy of Chris Fralic. It was only 13 years ago, but it was a very, very different world. The first thing you'll discover is that listening to experts predict the future is a lousy bet.

Electable vs. Marketable

It's easy to get the two confused, but if you do, you'll probably regret it.

To be marketable, you must be remarkable. Marketing isn't about getting more than 50% market share, it's about spreading your idea to enough people to be glad you did it... 3% of a market may be more than enough, especially if you have a local business or an expensive service.

The temptation of the marketer is to try to get elected. To be beloved by everyone. As a marketer, you hear from someone who doesn't love your product and you work to change it. Eventually, that strategy leads to boredom, to sameness and to stagnation.

Obama I know it's tempting to create electable products, but it never works. All the tried and true warhorse successes (Nike, Starbucks, Apple... the NSA of marketing examples) didn't accomplish market share until long after they accomplished becoming remarkable. If the founders had set out to get elected, they would have failed in creating much of anything.

Contrast this with the plight of the typical politician. To her, 45% market share is total failure. In my opinion, remarkable politicians (using the word non-judgmentally) like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, David Duke and John Ashcroft are unelectable.

Not because there aren't some people who are passionate about them. Obviously, there are people who are quite passionate. And the media loves to feature politicians that generate passion on the cover of magazines. The challenge isn't coming up with a remarkable story... the challenge for a politician is ensuring that the story is both authentic and appealing enough to spread to the majority.

If I were a marketer, I'd forget about getting elected. I'd ignore the dissidents, even if they are in the majority. You don't need the most popular blog, the consulting firm with every single company as a client or the flavor of ice cream that almost every single person loves. What you need instead is a passionate minority, a minority so passionate that they spread the word. Jackie and Ben call these people the 1% and they exist in just about every community.

If I were a politician (heaven forfend), I'd studiously ignore the 1%. The 1% are the fringe, and they don't actually want you to get elected. They merely want you to make a point. I'd skip this group and pay attention to the next 3% of the population. These people still have passion but they also understand what it takes to get elected.

So, back to my original point: Who have you offended today? You're not running for anything exept perhaps Mayor of the Edges.

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