If you’ve done anything in the field of marketing, you’ve heard of Seth Godin.
His name connotes excellence in marketing, entrepreneurship, and creativity. It’s no surprise that his simply-styled blog is worth over $28,000 alone and has been highly-rated across various marketing websites and magazines.
His website holds an extremely high domain authority but it’s largely because of the man behind the daily posts.
Marketing Lessons From Seth Godin
Godin's ideas have taken hold and been proven effective because of his focus on the "new economy" and a changing marketing climate.
Three key changes have helped usher in this new economy:
- Media is no longer mandatory.
- Mass marketing is no longer important.
- Audiences are no longer second in line.
Customers are bred through connections. Unless you can provide valuable content and products to your clientele, they’ll have no reason to stick with you.
In order to succeed in this, Seth recommends approaching your marketing strategy with four key points of focus: Coordination, Trust, Permission, and the Exchange of Ideas.
To get there, he offers plenty of advice through public speaking, interviews, and his blog to help budding entrepreneurs, marketers, and senior executives alike. Here are 5 of his best insights to help you improve the way you work.
“Expectations are the engines of our perceptions.”
1. Tell Your Story to Those Want to Hear It
Too many people focus on attracting new leads rather than winning over the potential customers who’ve already shown interest.
If someone has expressed a desire to learn more about your product or service, you’ve been given the green light to move them to the next part of the funnel. It’s important to get them while they’re hot.
The mistake many businesses make is spending too much time focused on generating those leads. While unattended, the clients nearest the point of purchase go stale and move on to the next best thing.
With inbound marketing, a constant source of content can keep potential customers happy for longer, letting you nurture them into the next step. This grants more time for lead generation, but more importantly, it lets you foster a relationship with those who are willing to listen.
If someone is interested in your business because it provides value, the odds of them buying in are better. If you spend your time trying to please everyone, however, you’ll waste it, losing customers and hurting your reputation.
The ability to provide value to customers will always be what sets businesses apart from each other. Per Seth’s advice, spend less time reaching out and more time taking stock of who’s around you, what you’re doing right in order to keep them close, and how you can better those relationships.
“Don’t try to please everyone. There are countless people who don’t want one, haven’t heard of one or actively hate it. So what?”
2. Provide Value, Not a Product
When it comes to the value you’re offering, the packaging is less important than its worth.
People aren’t purchasing your product just to own it. They’re buying it because it solves a problem. The form that it’s presented in matters little compared to that.
In all marketing, it’s essential to clearly express the value to the customer first. Whether it’s through content, email, or advertisements, the customer needs to understand why this product solves their problem better than others.
If you’re good at this, you may even convince people to make the purchase to solve a problem they didn’t know they had.
"You can’t shrink your way to greatness!"
3. Media is Optional, Give Them a Reason to Take Part
Nothing is worse than a social media account with no business-client interaction. Think of it as an advertisement. If the ad doesn’t create a need for engagement, it falls short. Your other media platforms are the same way.
To do this, you need to focus on what your customer wants, not landing a sale. By offering content and other media that fit their interest, your odds of engagement improve because you’ve built trust.
This also improves your ability to exchange ideas. While talking with others can grant new thoughts, speaking with those who’ve shown a direct interest in your brand can generate profound insights into what your customers want.
Using social media correctly can also let you influence connections, linking customers with specific products or ideas in order to increase their value.
When it comes to content on your different channels, it’s important to be effective rather than long winded. This is especially true when blogging. While many businesses believe that a blog is only worthwhile if posts are over a specific length, Seth proves them wrong, having many posts under 200 words.
While longer copy can be more useful for newcomers to your brand, writing smarter is always the right answer.
“Bullhorns are overrated: having ten times as many Twitter followers generates approximately zero times as much value.“
4. Take Risks
Risks are a natural part of running a business, and it’s no different in your marketing plan.
Gutenberg invented the printing press at a time when 96% of society was illiterate. He identified a problem and created a solution that the world didn’t know it needed.
In the same manner, Godin’s methods of Permission Marketing was a new idea that he took a gamble on. He looked forward, identified a problem, and created a solution that would drive future marketing techniques.
Progress occurs when people try something new, not when they continue in the same routine. By not staying ahead of the industry, you breed complacency. Numerous businesses have failed because of it.
Seth breaks risk taking down into a discussion about the Comfort Zone and the Safety Zone.
Your Safety Zone is the limit to where you can retain your livelihood, your health, and the essential things in your life. The Comfort Zone is a separate circle, like half of a Venn diagram that can move in or out as necessary. We decide where the Comfort Zone is placed based off what our Safety Zone looks like at the time. By pushing the limits, however, we can find new opportunities and reshape our Comfort Zone.
“Change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity. Survival is not the goal, transformative success is.”
5. Stay Specific
It’s hard to be a jack of all trades and mostly impossible, but whatever you’re trying to do, make sure you do every bit of it well.
This is done by focusing specifically on what you’re trying to accomplish. Some businesses will focus on every portion of the product’s delivery. For a startup or small business, this isn’t easy. You can end up spreading yourself thin by managing the development, creation, packaging, and shipping of products. Add on the other parts of the job like marketing, budgeting, building a team, and generating leads and you’ll be forced to make sacrifices in your supervision.
Instead, Seth recommends we focus on what we can impact the most for the customer. For startups, it’s possible to outsource a lot of work like packaging or creation. This lets managers and executives spread their attention across a more narrow base, affecting the organization positively.
The same way you should be hesitant when a lawyer claims to specialize in everything, you should be mindful of your abilities to market and manage your organization.
“Be personal. Be relevant. Be specific.”
Marketing for Your Customers
All of Godin’s advice boils down to a few critical focus points:
- Provide your audience with value.
- Share with those willing to listen.
- Know yourself and be yourself.
While those three ideas aren’t Earth shattering, the ways Godin proves them time and time again is awe inspiring.
As new technologies and platforms are introduced, his principles of marketing remain as important as ever. Heed his words and discover how Godin’s knowledge can help you.
What lessons have you learned from Seth Godin? Leave them in the comments below!
Photo Credit: Steve Jurvetson