“This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See” Seth Godin (Book Notes/Thoughts)

Marketing has long been synonymous with “advertising”. This mispresents the true responsibility of marketing.  Real marketing is genuine, generous and about true connections.

Seth’ book highlights the importance for everyone (and everyone is truly a ‘marketer’) to make this shift in how they think about the responsibility of marketing.

Here are some of the most impactful ideas from the book and what they mean to me:

People aren’t going to spread the word because it’s important to you. They’ll only do it because it’s important to them.”

I am not aware of a more important statement about the key to successful marketing, networking, selling, influencing. This is a key reason why people fail in marketing. It is against human nature to shift the focus from “me” and focus on “someone else”. I believe that the closer you can get to truly understanding the person you are trying to market to the more successful you will be. It seems the most effective way is to market something worth marketing.

“We sell feelings, status, and connection, not tasks or stuff.”

This is the essence of understanding who you are looking to serve. Understand how they want to feel and what will make them feel that way. Give them that! Don’t market leveraging lower prices, or products that are easy for you to leverage to the masses. Start with how you want people to feel and work backwards on trying to find out how you can make them feel good, give them a higher sense of status, and connect them more genuinely.  

“Show up—regularly, consistently, and generously, for years and years—to organize and lead and build confidence in the change you seek to make.”

Several times in the book Seth connects marketing to making change. If you can make real change, you can effectively market. Showing up consistently is key because it builds trust. When people trust you, they want to be influenced by you and they want to follow you.

“Perhaps it makes more sense to begin with a hurdle you can leap.”

Like anything else, marketing takes practice. Starting with a huge obstacle can be counterproductive. Better to start with something you can build early success and confidence with and build from there. The more important part is to start. Start when you are not ready.

“Find a position on the map where you, and you alone, are the perfect answer.”

This is key, the combination of unique and something valued gives you the strongest marketing starting point. This is the work, finding this position. Spend your time exploring where you can find your unique position on the map.

“Your work is not for everyone. It’s only for those who signed up for the journey.”

This is related to the last quote, find a unique spot where you can be the perfect answer for the perfect few. Making something wonderful for just the “few” is more rewarding, more generous, and definitely more genuine.

“Perhaps instead of talking about prospects and customers, we could call them your “students” instead.”

Teaching without expecting anything back can be a very effective marketing strategy. Teach what you want to learn, chances are these people you seek want to learn something similar. These small changes in our mindset, how we define our work (students vs. prospects) can create real changes in our success.