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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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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

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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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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

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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Member since 08/2003

« April 2007 | Main | June 2007 »

Alignment

When there's a gap between someone doing her job and doing the right thing, then management has failed.

Plenty of customer service people would like to do the right thing. They'd like to fix the problem that's presented to them. But frustration hits when the policies and procedures and metrics they've been given to work with won't let them.

For the last two weeks, the audio version of The Dip has been for sale at the iTunes music store. And for many iPods, it doesn't work. Hundreds of people have written to me and let me know. These hundreds of people have written to Apple, too, and they've shared their notes with me.

In general, the responses from Apple that people are reporting are respectful and straightforward. But none of the responses have addressed the problem. Apple could easily take the product down. Or they could change the description in the store with a note that says, "sorry, but it doesn't work on some iPods, we're working on it", or they could email everyone who had bought one and let them know what the plans are. And, yes, best of all, they could fix it.

The amazing thing is that except for the last choice, each approach is free, quick and relatively easy. If the head of the iTunes store focused on this problem for ten seconds, it would go away. The challenge isn't a lack of tools or resources, it is a lack of alignment. For a service rep in this particular situation, "doing my job" means making the person go away, while "doing the right thing" means taking initiative and actually solving the problem. The customer service reps don't have access to the tools (or the authority) to do what the company would actually benefit the most from.

Getting your team in alignment (having their job match their tools match their mission) is perhaps the first job a marketer has to do.

I'm liveblogging this

Enter a new verb. Liveblogging.

When I was in college, WBCN in Boston tried an experiment. They sent DJs to report live from rock concerts. "We're here in the Gahden, listening to Bruce Springsteen..." The thing is, the promoters wouldn't let them play any of the performances on the radio. So all you heard was breathless commentary on what was happening on stage. "Oh, could it be? Yes, it is, YES YES Little Stevie is back on stage..." As you can imagine, the experiment didn't last long. The DJs had fun, but we were bored.

A few times over the last week, I've spoken at conferences where laptops were open and people were online. They were liveblogging, taking notes in real time and posting them online for all to see. At first, this sounds like a fantastic idea. Now, thousands of people can listen on what's happening in a smaller group.

On closer inspection, it doesn't work particularly well. I mean, not only was I there, but I was speaking, yet I can't make sense at all of the posts. That's because most people don't take notes to be read. They take notes to write them. The act of writing things down triggers different areas of our brain, it focuses attention, it makes it easier to remember things. You can read your blog notes later and say, "yeah, I remember that slide..." But for an outsider who's not there, the amount of information that's imparted is small indeed.

Compare these liveblog posts to posts written an hour later, ones that digest and reflect and chunk the information. These are deliberately designed to inform the reader, not to remind the writer.

I don't mean to pick on the medium. I think it's incredibly valuable--for the poster. We're finding a growing dichotomy now, between blogs that help the reader and blogs that helps the writer. And there's room for both.

Too late?

Here's today's entrepreneurial trivia question:

Even after Starbucks had five stores and more than 20 employees, which item was unavailable for purchase at their stores:
Espresso
Hot Coffee
Biscotti
Frappucino® blended beverage

Actually, it's a trick question. The answer is 'all of the above.' It wasn't until several years after the company was up and running that they realized it would be a good idea to sell any beverages at all. All they sold was beans (but you could get a free taste of coffee if you asked nicely).

It might not be too late to fix your marketing/story/product mix.

Master of none

Paul sends us this classic example of committee thinking at work.We_specialize_in_everything

Thanks

The Dip is now the fastest-selling book I've ever published. Amazon just lowered the price to $7.77 (at least for now). I appreciate the support. Thanks. (other versions and stores are here).

[More] or (Less)

Ironeyescody_450
Many people are arguing for a fundamental change in the way humans interact with the world. This isn't a post about whether or not we need smaller cars, local produce, smaller footprints and less consumption. It's a post about how deeply entrenched the desire for more is.

More has been around for thousands of years. Kings ate more than peasants. Winning armies had more weapons than losing ones. Elizabeth Taylor had more husbands than you.

Car dealers are temples of more. The local Ford dealership lists four different models... by decreasing horsepower. Car magazines feature Bugattis, not Priuses on the cover. Restaurants usually serve more food (and more calories) than a normal person could and should eat.

Is this some sort of character flaw? A defective meme in the system of mankind? Or is it an evil plot dreamed up by marketers?

There's no doubt that marketers amplify this desire, but I'm certain it's been around a lot longer than Jell-O.

One reason that the litter campaign of the 1960s worked so well is that 'not littering' didn't require doing less, it just required enough self control to hold on to your garbage for an hour or two. The achilles heel of the movement to limit carbon is the word 'limit.'

It's a campaign about less, not more. Even worse, there's no orthodoxy. There's argument about whether x or y is a better approach. Argument about how much is enough. As long as there's wiggle room, our desire for more will trump peer pressure to do less. "Fight global warming" is a fine slogan, except it's meaningless. That's like dieters everywhere shouting, "eat less" while they stand in line to get bleu cheese dressing from the salad bar.

As a marketer, my best advice is this: let's figure out how to turn this into a battle to do more, not less. Example one: require all new cars to have, right next to the speedometer, a mileage meter. And put the same number on an LCD display on the rear bumper. Once there's an arms race to see who can have the highest number, we're on the right track.

J.A.M. (Just another meeting)

It was so typical. Eight people, the regular bunch. New client kick-off, business as usual. And it showed.

You've done it before, and before that and before that. A dozen or a hundred or perhaps a thousand times before. The typical meeting, with everyone in their typical roles. Often, people even sit in the same spot.

Why are we surprised, then, when the outcome is usually the same as well?

Instead of approaching that moment as JAM, maybe there's a different way. Instead of focusing on how similar this time is to last time, instead of realizing that the similiarities demand similar approaches, maybe, just maybe, the team could focus on the differences. How is this opportunity different? What could we try that might have a radically better outcome?

Different isn't always better, but if all you want is the same, send a memo.

Blow up your home page

Do you really need a home page? Does the web respect it?

Human beings don't have home pages. People make judgments about you in a thousand different ways. By what they hear from others, by the way they experience you, and on and on. Companies may have a website, but they don't have a home page in terms of the way people experience them.

The problem with home page thinking is that it's a crutch. There's nothing wrong with an index, nothing wrong with a page for newbies, nothing wrong with a place that makes a first impression when you get the chance to control that encounter. But it's not your 'home'. It's not what the surfer/user wants, and when it doesn't match, they flee.

You don't need one home page. You need a hundred or a thousand. And they're all just as important.

Great moments in copywriting

"Claudio Giordano opened this highly lauded West Lincoln Road restaurant with one purpose in mind: to fuse his lifelong passion for fishing with reliability and quality, while making his new endeavor creative, affordable and friendly."

No one was offended, nothing was left out, nobody got hurt.

A knife usually cuts through the clutter better than a spoon.

When bloggers do stuff

In the old days, authors wrote. Other people did the marketing, and that was all there was to it.

Now, of course, most blogs are one-person operations. Which means that successful blogs are often run by restless, outward-bound people in a hurry. And a lot of bloggers either have day jobs or passionate sidelines. I think that's a good thing, even when they fail. It's frustrating for me to hear, "stick to your blogging," when people criticize a project created by a blogger--because it's part of the blogging, part of the learning, part of what's unfolding. I'd rather read a book that's informed by the activities (not the reporting) of the writer, and I'd rather read a blog that's based on the successes (and failures) of the blogger.

Which brings us to Hugh Macleod and his work for Microsoft. Some critics think he's selling out. I don't. I think he's having a huge impact on an organization--from the outside--at the same time that he demonstrates how just about any large organization can rethink its role in the world. And he's doing it in front of all of us, without a net.

Which brings us to Guy Kawasaki and his new project. I disliked this project from the very first moment I saw the beta. It's unlikely that it will fail. It will almost certainly generate a lot of traffic and a huge ROI for Guy. For the rest of us, it demonstrates just how easy it is to start a web company today, and just how important it is to create one that makes the world better, not just noisier.

« April 2007 | Main | June 2007 »