Seth Godin is a marketing visionary, and the author of Permission Marketing, Tribes, Linchpin and Purple Cow. In a recent interview, Godin set out six ideas that could transform the way that marketers work, so read on for his fascinating advice and insights…
Reach is Wrong
Or as Godin puts it,
“Reach is almost always the wrong path. It’s easy to collect a crowd on Main Street. You just parade a bunch of super models and people will stop. But that doesn’t mean that you’ve earned any trust and it’s trust and customer traction that build organisations […] Being known by lots of people isn’t really the goal; it’s a by-product of certain kinds of marketing for certain kinds of products. What you’re really seeking is to be trusted, to be heard, to be talked about, and to matter. And if we look at any brand that’s succeeded, that is what they have done.”
Contents of Content
For Godin, the contents of your brand should inform the content that it puts out. Each piece of content should have a unique quality, a sense of authenticity and an inherent meaning that relates directly to the brand story. Godin states that content should be comprised of,
“The stuff we make and the way we choose to tell a story about it. That’s what marketing is now. It’s not advertising, it is how we are in the world.”
A Place for Tech
Technology is developing at lightning speed, and data, automation, machine learning and AI can be used to make a brand more human – or more robotic and corporate. Godin explains that,
“The question is: are we going to corporatise, industrialise and productise everything, and figure out how to just crank things up because we can? Or will we use this moment to be more human, and to figure out how to be original and to be missed if we are gone.”
Storytelling has been a buzzword in marketing for a while, however, only a few companies engage with actual storytelling. Godin notes that,
“There are wonderful stories that many powerful brands have been built around. They’re about identity, about culture and the change that we seek to make. What we do when we do great marketing is we tell stories; stories that create tension, stories that lead to forward motion.”
Godin uses this example: “the boy cried wolf but the villagers didn’t come,” as in just nine words, a whole story is set out. The universality of this story means that anyone who reads it can identify with it – and Godin says that whether that story happened or not is actually the least important thing about it.
Find your Audience
By creating a strong and authentic brand story, you have to understand that you are moving away from catering to everyone, and moving towards catering for your audience. Godin uses Harley Davidson as an example of this:
“Harley Davidson can tell a story with an ad, they can tell a story with a video, but they can also tell it with the sound that the bike makes, and they can tell it with which kind of leather jacket they’ve decided to grant a license to, and they can tell it by where they’re going to have a rally.
All of those things are part of the story of Harley Davidson. And so if we’re going to build a real brand, not just a logo, we’re going to build it by living a story – one that’s not for everyone but for the people we seek to serve.”
Authenticity & Honesty
The authenticity of a brand and its products also relates to how the sales team can sell it. No salesperson wants to miss-sell or mislead consumers – or as Godin says,
“Professional sales people want marketing that makes a promise they can keep – and they get very frustrated when marketing shows up with promises that just aren’t true.
They are the feet on the street, they have to look people in the eye.
And they don’t want to have to say ‘this ad isn’t true but you should buy this product anyway’. They care a lot and that’s where mismatches occur, because the marketer who hasn’t been on the sales floor can’t understand that.”
Godin suggests having the marketers spend time on the shop floor, and also for sales reps to experience life in customer service, as this creates a larger understanding of how the business functions.