Think Better Marketing


Think Better Book Club—This Is Marketing

To embrace our team value to always be curious and think creatively, we started a book club. We are continually looking for new opportunities to learn and as a team of self-proclaimed bookworms, a bookclub was the natural way for us to continue to grow, learn, and explore.

Previous Book: Predictable Revenue

Current Book: This Is Marketing

Next Book: The Anatomy of a Story

This is Marketing
by Seth Godin

You don’t “do marketing” without a sound understanding of who Seth Godin is and where he stands on the many issues of the trade. We felt like this was a great book to read to remind us why we do the work we do and why it matters to operate under a philosophy and theory of marketing opposed to relying solely on tactics. Tactics will get you somewhere, but without a well-founded philosophy and an understanding of best practices, it is hard to say just where that “somewhere” will be.

As a team, we enjoyed this book. Here are a few key points that resonated with us.

Focus on the Smallest Viable Audience

The concept of a minimum viable product is well known in the world of software development. Start with a product that has just enough features to satisfy early users, make sure that it solves a problem, and confirm that that it solves a problem worth solving.

When it comes to your audience, it’s important to recognize that we can not be all things to all people. We inherently know and understand this but when we put our marketing hats on, all too often we try to make it happen anyway. You have to find your audience and focus narrowly on their needs. If you try to serve everyone, you end up serving no one.

As Seth says, “Specific is a kind of bravery,” it means that you recognize you can’t be all things to all people, instead you “force a focus” and deliver on your promise, your goal, your change, to a very small set of people. Then grow from there—but only if it is authentic. It really resonated with our team that you have to be willing to say “it’s not for you.”

For example, a super slick eCommerce site is not for someone who doesn’t own a computer, and you shouldn’t waste your efforts trying to convince them that it is.

Take, for instance, Seth’s reference to JC Penney’s and how sales plummeted by 50 percent all because of one person and his worldview on how to shop. By taking away discounts he forgot about his audience, the JC Penney’s tribe of discount warriors.

There Are No Shortcuts and Trust Should Be at the Core of Everything You Do

“The market has been trained to associate frequency with trust. If you quit right in the middle of building that frequency, it’s no wonder you never got a chance to build that trust.”

We hear sentiments along these lines often, “I need X percent increase in leads by next month.” Or, “We sent an email, and didn’t see the response we wanted, let’s move on to something else.”

ROI is important, we agree.

However, you have to put in the work, dedicate the time, and sometimes take a deep breath and have the patience to see how it works out. Sending one email is very different than making a commitment to prove to your audience that you share compelling, innovative, and educational information with a long-term content marketing strategy that helps your audience find you when and where they want to, on their terms. Lead generation campaigns are “campaigns” for a reason. You need to have a well thought out plan for a set duration of time before you cut it off at the knees because it isn’t performing to expectations right away.

If you start something but stop in the middle it will degrade trust. Instead, make the commitment to follow through and then step back and analyze the results.

Tension Is Not the Same As Fear

Tension = “you’re missing out”

Fear = “manipulation“

By creating tension in the market you create a movement towards change. When you have a truly innovative product or service you can create that tension by educating your audience and then providing a solution.

That is very different than manipulation and fear tactics to try and force a new idea on someone. Remember that trust you just built? The tribe you are now a part of? “Manipulation is a tribe killer.” You might see a few quick wins but in the long run, people want to buy from, work with, and associate with companies and brands who build them up, not instill fear and erode trust.

If we had another few hours we could share all of the other great tidbits from this book but instead, we suggest you read it!

And, if you’d like, join us in reading The Anatomy of a Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby for next month’s book club! Subscribe to our blog and we’ll share our takeaways!

Suzanne McKee