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Seth Godin has written 12 bestsellers that have been translated into 33 languages

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all.marketers.tell.stories

All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing

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free.prize.inside

Free Prize Inside

The practical sequel to Purple Cow

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linchpin

Linchpin

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

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meatball.sundae

Meatball Sundae

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

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permission.marketing

Permission Marketing

The classic Named "Best Business Book" by Fortune.

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poke.the.box

Poke The Box

The latest book, Poke The Box is a call to action about the initiative you're taking - in your job or in your life, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project.

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purple.cow

Purple Cow

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

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small.is.the.new.big

Small is the New Big

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

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survival.is.not.enough

Survival is Not Enough

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

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the.big.moo

The Big Moo

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

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the.big.red.fez

The Big Red Fez

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

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the.dip

The Dip

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

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the.icarus.deception

The Icarus Deception

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

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tribes

Tribes

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

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unleashing.the.ideavirus

Unleashing the Ideavirus

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

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v.is.for.vulnerable

V Is For Vulnerable

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

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we.are.all.weird

We Are All Weird

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

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whatcha.gonna.do.with.that.duck

Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?

The sequel to Small is the New Big. More than 600 pages of the best of Seth's blog.

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THE DIP BLOG by Seth Godin




All Marketers Are Liars Blog




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« April 2010 | Main | June 2010 »

On finding referrals

The people who work the hardest to get referrals, it seems to me, are the people who least deserve them.

If you make average stuff for average people, why exactly will someone refer you? If you are busy selling standard insurance policies to standard insurance clients, why will someone refer you? Because you're good at golf?

In fact, the best way to get referrals is to change what you do, what you sell, how you act when times are difficult, how generous you are when you don't need to be.

Yes, you should make it easy for people to refer you. Yes you should be aware that asking for referrals can help. (John has a new book about this). But no, all the tactics in the world won't help you get the referrals you want. The only thing that will make you remarkable is being worth remarking about.

Multiple dumbnesses

About twenty five years ago, Howard Gardner taught us his theory of multiple intelligences. He described the fact that there's not just one kind of intelligence, in fact there are at least seven (1 Bodily-kinesthetic,  2 Interpersonal,  3 Verbal-linguistic,  4 Logical-mathematical,  5 Intrapersonal,  6 Visual-spatial,  7 Musical,  8 Naturalistic). This makes perfect sense—people are good at different things.

The flip side of this occurred to me the other day, as I was busy judging someone for being really dumb. Of course, no one is really dumb. And certainly no one deserves to be judged as such. If we're good at different things, we're also bad at different things, right?

The story people tell about you (and the one you tell about yourself in the way you act) may be broadcasting one of your weaknesses louder than you deserve. We often fail to hire or trust or work with someone merely because one of their attributes stands out as below par. That's our loss.

You can see the determination in his eyes

That's the way a friend described someone she had just met. She was sure (just as I'm sure) that he's going places. Once the determination is in his eyes, the learning will take care of itself.

On the other hand, if I can see the fear in your eyes, then I'm not sure that learning alone will take care of the problem. No one can prove that the path you're on is risk free or guaranteed to work. Searching for more proof is futile. Searching for more determination makes more sense.

Sort of private

The internet is constantly, relentlessly public. Post something and it's there, for everyone, all the time.

Acar has come up with a clever idea, a small idea that makes things just a little protected. Trick.ly is a url shortener with a twist. You can share a URL but hide it behind a question that only insiders can easily answer.

So, for example, you could tweet, "Here's the source for my world-class chili: http://trick.ly/2L5". Anyone can go there, but only people who can figure out the clue can discover the site you were pointing to.

It's not secure. It's sort of private. Neato.

Good at talking vs. good at doing

This is the chasm of the new marketing.

The marketing department used to be in charge of talking. Ads are talking. Flyers are talking. Billboards are talking. Trade shows are talking.

Now, of course, marketing can't talk so much, because people can't be easily forced to listen.

So the only option is to be in charge of doing. Which means the product, the service, the interaction, the effluent and other detritus left behind when you're done.

If you're in marketing and you're not in charge of the doing, you're not going to be able to do your job.

Hardly worth the effort

In most fields, there's an awful lot of work put into the last ten percent of quality.

Getting your golf score from 77 to 70 is far more difficult than getting it from 120 to 113 or even from 84 to 77.

Answering the phone on the first ring costs twice as much as letting it go into the queue.

Making pastries the way they do at a fancy restaurant is a lot more work than making brownies at home.

Laying out the design of a page or a flyer so it looks like a pro did it takes about ten times as much work as merely using the template Microsoft builds in for free, and the message is almost the same...

Except it's not. Of course not. The message is not the same.

The last ten percent is the signal we look for, the way we communicate care and expertise and professionalism. If all you're doing is the standard amount, all you're going to get is the standard compensation. The hard part is the last ten percent, sure, or even the last one percent, but it's the hard part because everyone is busy doing the easy part already.

The secret is to seek out the work that most people believe isn't worth the effort. That's what you get paid for.

Who is easily manipulated?

Sometimes (and too often) marketers work to manipulate people. I define manipulation as working to spread an idea or generate an action that is not in a person's long-term best interest. 

The easiest people to manipulate are those that don't demand a lot of information, are open to messages from authority figures and are willing to make decisions on a hunch, particularly if there's a promise of short-term gains.

If you want to focus on the short run and sell something, get a vote or gather a mob, the easiest place to start is with populations that leave themselves open to manipulation.

There are habits and activities that leave people open to manipulation. I'm not saying they are wrong or right, just pointing out that these behaviors make you open to being manipulated... Here are a few general categories of behaviors that manipulators seek out:

  • Believing something because you heard someone say it on a news show on cable TV.
  • Being a child (or acting like one).
  • Buying penny stocks.
  • Repeating a mantra heard from a figurehead or leader of a tribe without considering whether it's true.
  • Trying to find a short cut to lose weight, make money or achieve some other long-term goal.
  • Ignoring the scientific method and embracing unexamined traditional methods instead.
  • Focusing on (and believing) easily gamed bestseller lists or crowds.
  • Inability to tolerate fear and uncertainty.
  • Focus on now at the expense of the long term.
  • Allowing the clothes of the messenger (a uniform, a suit and tie, a hat) to influence your perception of the information he delivers (add gender, fame, age and race to this too).
  • Reliance on repetition and frequency to decide what's true.
  • Desire to stick with previously made decisions because cognitive dissonance is strong.
  • Inability to ignore sunk costs.
  • Problem saying 'no' in social situations.

Interesting to note that AM radio used to be filled with ads for second mortgages. And now? Gold.

Manipulating people using modern techniques is astonishingly easy (if the marketer has few morals). You only make it easier when you permit people and organizations that want to take advantage of you to do so by allowing them to use your good nature and your natural instincts against you. It happens every day in Washington DC, online, on TV and in your local community institutions.

The circles (no more strangers)

Circlesofcustomers It's so tempting to seek out more strangers.

More strangers to pitch your business, your candidate, your non-profit, your blog... More strangers means more upside and not so much downside. It means growth.

The problem is that strangers are difficult to convert. And the other problem is that they're expensive to reach. And the hardest problem is that we're running out of strangers.

Consider this hierarchy: Strangers, Friends, Listeners, Customers, Sneezers, Fans and True Fans. One true fan is worth perhaps 10,000 times as much as a stranger. And yet if you're in search of strangers, odds are you're going to mistreat a true fan in order to seduce yet another stranger who probably won't reward you much.

Let's say a marketer has $10,000 to spend. Is it better to acquire new customers at $2,000 each (advertising is expensive) or spend $10 a customer to absolutely delight and overwhelm 1,000 true fans?

Or consider a non-profit looking to generate more donations. Is it better to embrace the core donor base and work with them to host small parties with their friends to spread the word, or would hiring a PR firm to get a bunch of articles placed pay off more efficiently?

Arrogant

This is a fear and a paradox of doing work that's important.

A fear because so many of us are raised to avoid appearing arrogant. Being called arrogant is a terrible slur, it means that you're not only a failure, but a poser as well.

It's a paradox, though, because the confidence and attitude that goes with bringing a new idea into the world ("hey, listen to this,") is a hair's breadth away, or at least sometimes it feels that way, from being arrogant.

And so we keep our head down. Better, they say, to be invisible and non-contributing than risk being arrogant.

That feels like a selfish, cowardly cop out to me. Better, I think, to make a difference and run the risk of failing sometimes, of being made fun of, and yes, appearing arrogant. It's far better than the alternative.

Who do you work for? (And who works for you?)

I always took the position that my boss (when I had a job) worked for me. My job was to do the thing I was hired to do, and my boss had assets that could help me do the job better. His job, then, was to figure out how best give me access to the people, systems and resources that would allow me to do my job the best possible way.

Of course, that also means that the people I hire are in charge as well. My job isn't to tell them what to do, my job is for them to tell me what to do to allow them to keep their promise of delivering great work.

If you go into work on Monday with a list of things for your boss to do for you (she works for you, remember?) what would it say? What happens if you say to the people you hired, "I work for you, what's next on my agenda to support you and help make your numbers go up?"

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