Seth Godin's Secrets to Successful Marketing

Lina Hagström Feb 25 2021 3 PM | 3 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed lives in more ways than one. While it has profoundly impacted how we live, it has also reshaped perspectives digitally. We can see significant transformations across markets, and therefore, across marketing.

As marketing is in a state of transition, how do we as marketers make a difference? We had Seth Godin, entrepreneur extraordinaire and marketing guru, dive into the fundamentals with us. He was kind enough to usher us through the oscillating state of play, for some facts ring true no matter the flux - and we’re here to share them with you. 

The Difference Between Marketing and Advertising

Godin defines marketing as “making things better, by making better things”. In fact, he says that the biggest mistake marketers make is confusing marketing and advertising. Sure, there’s a fine line, if not a the-chicken-or-the-egg sort of dichotomy.

In simpler terms, marketing is the “what, where, when, why, who” and advertising is the ultimately important, but carefully guided “how” of it.

With Marketing, Tension is Key

Through Godin insight, it’s fair to say that marketing today requires finesse. For it is not hype or disruption - it’s telling a story, painting a picture, solving a problem, and most importantly identifying an audience that is willing to go where you want to take it. 

But what does that mean? And how does that apply to a market in transition? Well, luckily, marketing depends on tension. Tension around the status-quo creates a willingness for a change in narrative. We’ve already established that a willing audience is a marketers dream. All you need then, is a story worth telling for a product worth selling.

Advertising Is About the Story

This is where the importance of intentional design comes in. Getting the story straight makes us consistent and coherent as we show up to make a difference. So, as you sit down and craft your ad concepts, ask yourself two questions: who is it for and what is it for?

Godin reminded us of an often forgotten fact; the internet is not a mass-medium. You must identify your smallest viable audience and build from the ground up. The psychographics of your market will enable you to identify gaps worth gunning for.

As you reach out to touch this oh-so-specific audience your hope is to earn their permission to deliver anticipated, personalized and relevant messages. This privilege is worth gold and it’s how you build a brand.

What Makes a Good Leader?

When talking about leadership and management, Godin was swift to point out how only one of the two is voluntary. Any guesses? An effective manager uses his status, goodwill, or experience to tell people what to do in order to forward business goals and aspirations. A leader carves paths where there once was cliffs, pushes new frontiers, shows you a territory on a map and asks you if you want to join them for the ride. In a world of algorithms, AI, and state of the art campaigns, it takes a leader to succeed.

If you’re interested in diving deeper into Seth Godin's top tips for marketers and leaders today, take a look at the full keynote where he dissects marketing, branding, and the elusive “Purple Cow”.

Lina Hagström

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