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SETH'S BOOKS

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

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or click on a title below to see the list

all.marketers.tell.stories

All Marketers Tell Stories

Seth's most important book about the art of marketing

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IN STORES:

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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IN STORES:

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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IN STORES:

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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« June 2011 | Main | August 2011 »

Articulating your preferred use case (what's it for?)

It's possible to open a can of paint with a $500 Kramer knife. Not likely, and certainly not a market segment that's going to help Kramer's business flourish.

At many suburban libraries, the majority of patrons do nothing but 'rent' popular movies on DVD. This isn't an efficient use of the space or the staff, but that doesn't make it any less common.

Some non-profit organizations are organized to get donations in dollars and dimes, and while they won't turn away a $50,000 bequest, it's not something they're focused on.

Every organization starts with a (usually unarticulated) use case. The founders imagine the best use of their product or service, the situation that they're organized around. It can involve answers to the following questions:

  • How does someone find out about what you do?
  • How much do they pay for it?
  • When they're engaging with you in the very best way, what happens? What's accomplished?
  • What do they do after they use it?
  • How often do they return?

If you put a fancy restaurant on a fancy street, your use case doesn't involve nannies with a few kids coming in for just a cup of coffee. On the other hand, that might be exactly what a cafe down the street is hoping for.

If your blog is designed for regular readers and a thoughtful dialogue over time, then generating traffic with linkbait, while possible, isn't going to make the blog work better.

There are two reasons to articulate your use case. First, it helps your staff, your designers, your marketers and your sales force get on the same page about what they're building and growing. And second, it might be unrealistic. You might be hoping for a market that's far bigger than it is, or to solve a problem that's too easy (or too difficult).

When Apple designs a hardware device or a singer records an album, the question must be asked, "What's this for?" Sure, people can run an accounting business with an iPad, or play one particular song on the album at a party, but is that what it's for?

Many organizations will take any customer, any time, and bend and writhe to accomodate money in whatever form it arrives. Other, happier organizations understand the benefit of optimizing for a certain kind of interaction, and they have the guts to decline the part of the market that doesn't want to use their tool/organization the way it was intended

You'll often be wrong about what the market is and what it wants. When that happens, time to either shift your use case (and the way you're organized around it) or stick it out but be prepared for a long, tough slog.

The invisible crossroads

In Career World, crossroads don't happen very often. Should I go to college? Which one? Should I quit this job? Where should I apply...

In Project World, on the other hand, every day offers a choice that could change things. Should you start a new project? Organize a conference? Open a new channel of social media? Quit something you're doing right now to make time for something else?

It's easy to get stressed and excited about the infrequent crossroads. It's just as easy to ignore the daily opportunities you have to change everything.

Waiting for the fear to subside

There are two problems with this strategy:

A. By the time the fear subsides, it will be too late. By the time you're not afraid of what you were planning to start/say/do, someone else will have already done it, it will already be said or it will be irrelevant. The reason you're afraid is that there's leverage here, something might happen. Which is exactly the signal you're looking for.

B. The fear certainly helps you do it better. The fear-less one might sleep better, but sleeping well doesn't always lead to your best work. The fear can be your compass, it can set you on the right path and actually improve the quality of what you do.

Listen to your fear but don't obey it.

When did you get old?

At some point, most brands, organizations, countries and yes, people, start talking about themselves like they're old.

"We can't stretch in that direction," or "Not bad for a 60 year old!" or "I'm just not going to be able to learn this new technology." Even countries make decisions like this, often by default. Governments decide it's just too late to change.

The incredible truth is this: it never happens at the same time for everyone. It's not biologically ordained. It's a choice. It's possible to put out a hit record at 40, run a marathon at 60 and have your 80 year old non-profit change its business model. It's not as easy as it used to be, but that's why it's worth doing.

Put your name on it

Is there a simpler way to improve quality and responsiveness?

If you can't sign it, don't ship it.

Easy to say, hard to do. Many people choose to work for a big organization precisely so they can avoid signing much of anything.

Time for a workflow audit

Go find a geek. Someone who understands gmail, Outlook, Excel and other basic tools.

Pay her to sit next to you for an hour and watch you work.

Then say, "tell me five ways I can save an hour a day."

Whatever you need to pay for this service, it will pay for itself in a week.

The arrogance of willful ignorance

People have come before us, failed, learned, written it down. Scientists have figured out what works, and proven it. Economists have gained significant understanding about the long-term impacts of short-term decisions. And historians have seen it all before.

How dare we, then, decide to just wing it? To skip class. To make up history. To imagine that science is a matter of opinion, something optional, a diversion for the leisure classes... How can we work in the marketing tech field, for example, without knowing about David Ogilvy and Lester Wunderman and Claude Hopkins? Or Kaushik and Shirky?

If you're doing important work (and I'm hoping you are), then you owe it to your audience or your customers or your co-workers to learn everything you can. Feel free to ignore what you learn, but at least learn it.

Every successful case is a special case

It's easy to dismiss strategies or plans or people who succeed by pointing out how they have something special, something irreproducible, some sort of advantage that makes their success special.

Special as in, "not available to me."

They went to Harvard, they're public, they're not public, they have a great fundraising team, they have a powerful partner, they didn't go to Harvard, they already have a reputation, they have no reputation to risk...

This is silly, as all success is special. That's what makes it success. We don't consider breathing a success, since, fortunately, we all can breathe.

The trick is learning about what the special cases have in common, in understanding how maybe, just maybe, you have some of the very same attributes that others have used in a new way.

Paying attention to the attention economy

Most of us are happily obsessed with the economy of money. We earn it and we spend it and we generally pay attention to what things cost.

Certainly, salespeople and marketers are truly focused on the price of things, on commissions and shelving allowances and net margin and the cost of goods sold.

With all of these easily measured activity, it's easy to overlook the fast-growing and ever more important economy based around attention.

"If I alert my entire customer base, how much will this cost me in permission?"

"How much time do we save our customers with a better written manual?"

"When we fail to ask for (and reward) the privilege of following up, are we wasting permission?"

"Does launching this product to an audience of strangers waste the attention we're going to have to buy?"

Attention is a bit like real estate, in that they're not making any more of it. Unlike real estate, though, it keeps going up in value.

Give and get

The stability, power and longevity of a tribe is directly related to the way it is treated by its members.

When many of them seek to take, to enrich themselves and to find a loophole or advantage, the group is weakened.

Culture and management are not the same thing--when we strengthen our organization, when we encourage and respect our fellow employees, management follows. Group up, not top down.

Society and government are not the same thing either. The tribe we get is the tribe we build.

I don't think we can abdicate our responsibilities within a tribe to the leader.

The opportunity is simple: the more each individual gives, the more each of us end up getting.

« June 2011 | Main | August 2011 »