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

The complete list of online retailers

Bonus stuff!

or click on a title below to see the list


All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing




Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow





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




Meatball Sundae

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



Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.



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.




Purple Cow

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



Small is the New Big

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



Survival is Not Enough

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




The Big Moo

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



The Big Red Fez

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




The Dip

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




The Icarus Deception

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





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




Unleashing the Ideavirus

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



V Is For Vulnerable

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




We Are All Weird

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



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.



THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin

All Marketers Are Liars Blog

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Member since 08/2003

« July 2007 | Main | September 2007 »

Is good enough enough?

Most marketing efforts are projects in response to problems. "We need a box for the product launch." "We need a press release for the tour the boss is doing." "We need an ad campaign for the Super Bowl."

In response to projects, many organizations figure out the resources they've got and then work hard to do something good enough. On time, within budget. Meeting spec, after all, is your job.

You end up, if you're talented, with something good enough.

Is that enough? Is good enough enough to win? To change the game? To reinvent your organization and your career? In a crowded market, when all the competition is good enough, not much happens.

Good enough is beyond reproach. It's safe at the same time it represents quality. Good enough demonstrates effort and insight and ability. People rarely get fired for good enough, which is a shame.

If you redefined the objective to be, "makes some people uncomfortable, changes the entire competitive landscape and is truly remarkable in that many of the key people we reach feel compelled to talk about it," what would happen?

First, it would require significant risk-taking. Which would include the risk of failure and the risk of getting fired (omg!). Can you and your team handle that? If not, might as well admit it and settle for good enough. But if you're settling, don't sit around wishing for results beyond what you've been getting.

Second, it would mean that every single time you set out to be remarkable, you'd have to raise the bar and start over. It's exhausting.

Third, it means that the boss and the boss's boss are unlikely to give you much cover. Are you okay with that?

I hope so. It's worth it.

Have fun!

You can search this blog

The Google search box is right down at the bottom of the main page.

I visited an organization's site today, and they didn't have one. What a shame.

The question is, why doesn't every site have one? It's only $100 a year (or even free). Google Custom Search Business Edition.

What to do when you're wrong

The Red Cross got sued by J&J yesterday.

It turns out that in the 1800s, Johnson & Johnson had used the Red Cross symbol for more than a decade before the US non-profit started using it. It also turns out that they generously gave the organization the right, for free, to use the symbol for its work, forever, as long as they didn't use it for reasons not directly related to their mission.

Mission? The Red Cross recently licensed their logo to a brand of surgical gloves, for example. And first aid kits that a licensee sells at Target.

In the press release, Mark Everson, the Red Cross' president, is quoted as saying, "For a multibillion-dollar drug company to claim that the Red Cross violated a criminal statute, . . . simply so that J&J can make more money, is obscene."

I think that's a typo. My guess is that Mr. Everson meant to say, "Oops! J&J is a good corporate citizen, a significant donor to the Red Cross and the original and rightful owner of the trademark. We'll unwind our deals as soon as we can and go back to focusing on what we do best."

That's what I would do, anyway.

[UPDATE: I got quite a bit of mail about this post, as I expected. I think I need to clarify something: I'm not asserting that J&J is legally or morally right, nor do I have expertise or knowledge in the history of the issue or the role of the International Red Cross. My point is this: The mission of the Red Cross in the US isn't advanced by this fight. Thumbing a nose at a long time supporter and contributor doesn't help them. Having a lawsuit doesn't help them. Distracting senior management from the urgent issues at hand is silly. It tarnishes the group in the eyes of other corporate supporters, because companies don't like to do business (or charity) with groups that are intransigent. So, by "wrong", I mean, "off target, out of focus, in the wrong place." Like that.]

No one expected a tornado

New York City was shut down yesterday by three inches of rain and a tornado in Brooklyn. The trains, the subways, the roads... they all stopped working. There were small boulders on the West Side Highway and rivers of water everywhere.

Millions of critical citizens were answered by officials who pointed out that they had rehearsed for all sorts of events, but a tornado in New York?

What they're missing is this: people weren't complaining about the trains or the roads. They were complaining about the communication of the news. Commuters spent hours on trains into the city, only to find that the subways were closed, thus wasting the ride. I spent two hours on the road going to a meeting in the city--and the radio never once mentioned what was going on. The city didn't start telling people to stay home until after 9 am... two hours late.

Airlines screw this part up all the time. So do websites. And even pizzerias that close for vacation.

Bottom line: the first thing to rehearse is your communication strategy. You can't predict weird events, but you can get really good at alerting people when they happen.

The 80:1 Freakonomics Paradox

The Journal reports that there are a slew of Freakonomics-like books on the market. Some of them are actually pretty good, few are selling at all. My guess is that the original has outsold its competitors by about 80 to 1.

That's not surprising if you talk to people. A good friend of mine who never ever reads books about business or economics just picked up a copy last week. She said, "I think it's time I read this, right?" When a product becomes a hit, an entirely new class of people become interested in it, largely because it's a hit.

Which leads to the paradox. The easiest products in the world to develop, option, license and get to market are copycat products. They are beyond reproach. They feel safe. In actuality, though, most markets aren't big enough for two blockbusters. The first one dominates the little market, which allows it to break through and capture the attention of the big market. The bestseller creates the problem (I haven't read that/tasted that/been there) and then solves that problem. The second (and third and fourth and fifth) are trying to sell a solution to people who no longer have the problem.

Sure, in the long run, a blockbuster can create an entirely new market that lasts for a long time (The Model T, for example, or Star Wars) but building your own blockbuster is generally a lot easier than copying someone else's.

Shipping and handling

Here's a product sold by a merchant via Amazon that costs about $2.50. Except that the shipping and handling are more than $8. And the item weighs about two ounces.

Shipping and handling charges have always been deceitful. Storefront merchants rarely charge "for the little hangtags" or add a "mannikin surcharge". When direct mail was new, sellers tried to persuade buyers that the prices were just as good as at the local store--and they segmented S&H as a way of comparing it to the hassle of driving over. When the shipping and handling for an order was $1 or 2, this wasn't such a big deal.

Two things have changed. First, Amazon has taught millions that free shipping is the way the world should work. As a result, anything more than free just feels wrong. Second, other merchants have realized (like the squeeze bottle example above) that you can make 100% of your profit from shipping and handling and do quite well.

For a while.

How many people who get that product are going to buy from the store again?

Online, the economics are clear. Repeat business is what matters, and that happens when you surprise people (for the better). Not when you rip them off.

I'm totally over my stats problem...

But I worry that if you're an author, you might not be. You might be spending hours a day checking your sales ranking on Amazon. If that's you, I hope you'll forgive me sharing this site that Imal sent in today. Type in an author's name and watch the rankings all day long. If I were in charge, I'd reformat the page, but like I said, I don't check anymore.

The two best ways to make money with your blog

The first way is to build your reputation and to have a permission asset to talk to people who want to be talked to.

The second way is to read this detailed page by John Unger about how to actually monetize a visit to your blog: Blogs as Stores: A Comprehensive Overview of Ecommerce Solutions for Bloggers: TypePad Hacks.

Like the phone book, but in a more interesting order

Aaron points us to the nearly endless listing of website traffic rankings at Quantcast.

There's no doubt that the list is rife with errors, but it's free and fascinating. My two top takeaways:

  • It's not one list, it's 43 different lists blended together. So, you might find the #1 craft site nestled between the #9 news site and the #25 sports site.
  • It's really early days on the Net. The long tail is still fleshing out, and 99% of the market is totally up for grabs.

Happy brainstorming.

Creativity and the unexpected

Just because it's on the menu, doesn't mean you have to order it.

« July 2007 | Main | September 2007 »