What does Seth Godin mean This is Marketing?

I used to wonder what was meant when someone said they were a marketer. I used to get this image in my head of a guy or gal tucked away in some cubicle making presentations for their bosses to either heckle to death or herrald as the next big thing.

When I got into my career as a Realtor, I thought of marketing as copy and paste. Copy the corporate message, paste it all over the internet. And if you’re lucky (which means putting in a lot of hours pasting the content everywhere you can), then someday someone just might buy it.

As you might imagine, I didn’t experience much success marketing this way. And so I became frustrated, and upset. I was doing everything the company wanted me to, why wasn’t I seeing success?

So I turned to the coaches of the company, to see what advice they’d give me. They’d say  I needed to put in more hours, do more cold calls, imitate what he successful people are doing in the company.

And wouldn’t you believe it, I spent hours doing cold calls, I spent days posting corporate messages over the internet, and I changed everything about myself so as to look just like the top producers. From the social media channels I worked years on to make look just like me, to the very words I was saying to the people I know, love and trust… I was living in cognitive dissonance.

As you might imagine, I experienced very little success. Performing at about the same level as any average agent and completely deluding myself into thinking I was a top producer, I absolutely hated where my life was going. What’s more, I had almost nothing to show for it.

In spite of my best efforts to change who I was, there was something I could not change about myself: my desire and passion for writing and the written word.

It didn’t matter how much I replicated the corporate message over the internet, my hand written journal was a sacred space. It didn’t matter that I intoned scripts day after day, I still had genuine conversations with myself as I walked to work. And in spite of all of my hard work to fashion myself into something I wasn’t, I still felt the truth of each day as I read the works of other authors .

Now, for those of you who are new to the site, I read a lot of books. And for those who aren’t new around here, you know that I report on the books that I’ve read. It’s a passion of mine. I’ll probably do it for the rest of my life.

So when I encountered the title of Seth Godin’s book, I felt a strange allure. Aside from its look-at-me orange cover, and it’s bold but simple statement for a title, I felt that there might be an answer to my woes as a marketer: This is Marketing.

Seth Godin Talks the Importance of Seeking the Smallest Viable Market
This is Seth. He is pretty freaking profound when it comes to stuff.

Come to find out, lots of folks have woes with marketing. They feel that marketing is synonymous with advertising, which Godin artfully discusses as being plainly untrue. Advertising is one way to get your story heard, he offers several strategies and principles that may just work better than advertising only.

Now seeing as I’d rather you read the book then have me report on every little detail of it, I mean Godin does a wonderful job educating his readers of a more enlightened path to storytelling than what can be confined to my book report, I do want to share with you a checklist of items that you might want to consider the next time decide to tell a story.

You see marketing is essentially artful storytelling. You have to consider who you’re talking to, and what you’re saying. Who you’re talking to will determine how you say it, and what you’re talking about will determine whether it is of any value to them at all. Advertising generally, doesn’t care who it is for. Advertising is built on the idea of interrupting you early and often, and hoping you’ll buy. When you’re talking between friends, it’s okay to interrupt when you are excited, but between strangers it’s an insult.

The next time you find yourself wanting to tell a story walk through the list below, it might be the difference between having no one here your story or going viral.

Seth Godin’s Simple Marketing Checklist

  • Who’s it for?
  • What’s it for?
  • What is the worldview of the audience you’re seeking to reach?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What story will you tell?
  • Is it true?
  • What change are you seeking to make?
  • How will it change their status?
  • How will you reach the early adopters and neophiliacs?
  • Why will they tell their friends?
  • What will they tell their friends?
  • Where’s the network effect that will propel this forward?
  • What asset are you building?
  • Are you proud of it?

Now I know that was a lot. And it doesn’t necessarily make sense to go through the checklist every time you want to talk to your friend about some cool restaurant you went to, or a neat business idea that you have. The purpose of the checklist is to review internally what you’re trying to accomplish, who you’re trying to change. As Godin might put it, if you’re going to show up at least try to make things better. That checklist serves as guide rails for when you decide to show up.

Are you ready to start making things better? Which of the items in the checklist will help you make things better?