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.
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.
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.
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.
Inspired by this post, three years ago:
|Getting an MBA||Keeping your promises|
|Being board certified||Looking patients in the eye|
|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|
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.