Seth Godin Q&A

So Seth Godin is one of my all time favorite writers and speakers. I was in NYC courtesy of Infusionsoft’s bringing Seth in to speak (oh and the fact that my Daddy lives there and could provide transportation and a pull out couch!) I went with my biz partner Rebekah (the other half of the marketing and media monsters) and we had a GREAT time in NYC.

Okay, on to Seth!

Seth Godin NotesThe first thing you have to know is that I take funny notes – they are pretty and very artistic (YES that is a purple cow – no judging, art is in the eye of the artist…:) Second off, the notes are in answer to questions (which I didn’t write down because most were rambling and self serving – I think that mostly seth talked about whatever he wanted regardless of what was asked!) Lastly, they are not verbatim…my interpretation is in there and should not be held against seth if I misunderstood something!

He started with a quote I had not heard before…

“Every revolution destroys the perfect before it creates the impossible.” – Seth Godin

This was a lead in to talk about how industries like the music industry and travel agents have been disrupted by the seeming endless competition and weakening of established beachheads that were once the status quo. It is the end of the industrial age and now shelf space is unlimited. We have moved as a world from scarcity to abundance where people have unlimited choice and multiple channels.

His big question to us is “who are you trying to change with your work”. His example was the Harley Davidson culture that allows lonely people to buy a motorcycle, get some clothes that have the logo on them and then immediately be a part of a new family. There is no barrier to being a member of this team, just buying a bike. Also addressed was Apple whose legions of followers are trouping out right this minute to buy the latest and greatest cell phone. Apple set themselves apart by focusing on typography, industrial design and good taste when all the other computer companies were racing to the bottom on price.

His next big question was, “who would miss you if you were gone?” Are there people who would notice if you stopped your business or are you such a commodity that they could easily switch over to another provider without really noticing.

The Daily Candy in NYC is not trying to appeal to everyone. They are simply providing fashion and style to 25 year old women in NYC who like fashion and style. Their email list is not filled with middle aged, beer drinking luddites, it is full of 25 year old women who either can afford the products or dream of being able to afford the products they promote.

If someone talks about you and your business, what story will they tell. Without a story there is no way to spread the word.

I love his talks about selling to everyone, as seth says, no one is looking for the boring middle, they are intrigued by the people around the edges who are weird! When there is a good story people tell their friends…and the internet only amplifies this effect.

When you are talking to people (i.e. doing your marketing) make sure you are using words that are anchored in what they understand. Selling B2B, make sure your words help convince someone at a company that they can talk to their boss about hiring you without looking dumb. Like the old saying goes, no one ever got fired for buying IBM.

my big take-away here was that we need to focus on companies rather than trying to get solopreneurs to part with their own money…even small companies have line items that they are going to use for training or marketing

When asked what made him famous, seth talked about failing (A LOT). All of his turning points that made him what he is today came about because of stuff that didn’t work out the way he thought it would.

On hiring talent – Make sure you can offer them something that they can’t get anywhere else. Look for interesting people who might not be on anyone else’s radar like 60 plus year old programmers or disabled workers. You can’t be more normal than the old established brands so don’t try, get out on the edges to offer them amazing.

Selling into a need – A couple of people were mentioning in the Q&A that either their product wasn’t selling the way they wanted it to (but they were selling something) or that the marketplace didn’t seem to want what they were offering. The example was a lady who was selling a DVD into classrooms. Seth talked about how DVDs and classrooms may not be a good fit (too techy), that the teachers don’t have the money to buy the program and the fact that they will feel stupid if it doesn’t work. He had a great example of a company that made their product match a line item in NY school budgets that was already there. The sales pitch became much easier when they could go, “see that money you aren’t spending, this product fills that exact need and will not cost you anything.”

Building a funnel – One fellow asked about targeting CEO’s who make 5-100 million a year. A couple of things came up like 1) LOTS of people are targeting that demographic and getting to them is hard and 2) once they are there, they have the resources that they know, like and trust already. Seth suggested that you provide them with great information BEFORE they hit the big time so that when they reach your target demographic you are firmly on their radar.

Not being able to source for your retail or online store – A tile ecommerce site was sad that they couldn’t get all the tile manufactures to list on their site. Seth had a couple of things…first off, don’t try to sell every tile. Amazon did this in the early years by buying retail when the manufactures didn’t love them yet, BUT there is only one Amazon and they are already there. Instead he suggested that the tile guys figure out a way to be unique in the marketplace and then the tile companies will WANT to be on their site when all their competitors are listed there.

Social media spam - Spam is spam whether it is in email or on Twitter. He seemed to think promoted posts and the like were not so great although adwords was a version of permission based marketing because people were actively searching for answers on the google.

Seth Godin and the Marketing and Media MonsteresFor coaches – Building a career as a coach is hard. Most people who want a coach already have one and it is almost impossible to convince someone they need a coach if they are not looking for one. His suggestion was to think of a problem that you can solve for your target market and then tell them how to fix it.

Apps – Holy buckets…the poor lady who started with, “I have an App” got an earful…:) That said, I was in total agreement. Apps are not about apps but what they can do for someone and the app makers are way off base with thinking that technology alone is enough to make something popular. Seth said there is no scarcity and that most are all the same. (this is one of the reasons I love seth!) What he thinks is that the App that will win is one that will not work until other people use it too…like the fax. It doesn’t work unless the person on the other end has a fax machine too!

Marketing luxury shoes – This was a great bit about how to frame your message. He asked if women buying Jimmy Choos are buying a luxury shoe or are just making a sensible investment in fashion…dang. For those of us who do not live in the world of high fashion, spending a thousand dollars on one pair of shoes (gulp) seems crazy, but if that is your world view, you are looking for marketing that reinforces the thought that this is just a great purchase that will keep you on the cutting edge.

People don’t know why they do what they do - I did not know this…most people who ride tandem bikes put the man in the front which makes no sense. Being bigger they would help more by being in the back and because they are taller they are hard to see around if you are in the back. That being said, most do it that way. You need to KNOW your marketplace and ask LOTS of questions so that you can understand what they think and do even though they can’t necessarily tell you why they do it!

Well there you have it…Seth Godin at his finest!!! Bliss…:)

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