This is Marketing by Seth Godin [Book Summary & PDF]

This is a great book for anyone working in or interested in the marketing world. As Godin says: “Marketing is all around us. From your first memories to the moments before you began to read this book, you have been inundated by marketing. You learned to read from the logos on the side of the road, and you spend your time and your money in response to what marketers have paid to put in front of you.”

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INTRODUCTION

Who is this book for?

This is a great book for anyone working in or interested in the marketing world. As Godin says: “Marketing is all around us. From your first memories to the moments before you began to read this book, you have been inundated by marketing. You learned to read from the logos on the side of the road, and you spend your time and your money in response to what marketers have paid to put in front of you. Marketing, more than a lake or forest, is the landscape of our modern lives.”

”Marketing is the act of making change happen. Making is insufficient. You haven't made an impact until you have changed someone.'Click To Tweet

About the author

In 2018, Seth Godin was inducted into the AMA marketing Hall of Fame. That was the culmination of what he describes as, “more than 30 years of teaching, leading, starting, collaborating, failing, engaging and seeking.”

In 1983, Godin was a young and inexperienced brand manager at Spinnaker, a startup software company that he joined after finishing business school. He was not very successful in this position, however, since then he has launched dozens and dozens of projects and sold goods and services to many businesses and individuals. He has worked with many of the leading business people of our time. His ideas have built billion-dollar companies and nearly raised that much for many important charities. He certainly knows what he is talking about.

In this summary

We will run over Godin's main ideas, starting with some of his key thoughts on marketing, what it takes to be successful in the marketing world, stumbles that marketers can make, least viable markets, symbols and finally goals, strategies and tactics.

BOOK SUMMARY

Marketing

Marketing is a generous act. If all you want to do is make as much money for yourself as possible, through marketing, then this book will help you do that. It will also help you see that you that you can far more and can have a very positive effect in many ways.

Advertisements used to be what marketing was all about but there was a sea change near the turn of the century. Since then the successful marketer is far more than just a producer of advertisements. He or she is not obsessed with marketing and its advertisements, software, blogs, Facebook etc.

”The other kind of marketing, the effective kind, it's about understanding our customers' worldview and desires so we can connect with them. It's focused on being missed when you're gone, on bringing more than people expect to those who trust us. It seeks volunteers, not victims. There is a groundswell of people doing marketing because they know they can make things better.”

SUCCESSFUL MARKETING

Marketing is very much in the hands of the creator of the goods or service to be marketed. There are few steps to successful marketing:

  1. Is the marketer dealing with something that is worthy and has a story, which is worth telling?
  2. Make sure that this thing can help at least a few people; this should be the smallest viable market.
  3. The marketer must tell a story that matches the lives and dreams of the smallest viable market.
  4. The marketer spreads the story.
  5. The seller, producer or creator shows up in a useful and necessary way.

Marketers must never forget; it is impossible to change everyone. Asking,” who it's for?”, will focus your actions and help you deal with nonbelievers. What you say about something is not nearly as important as what others say about it.

Marketing changes people through stories, connections, and experience. This last sentence can be crucial in marketing. Create experiences for your customers, which make what you are selling obvious and irresistible. Be market driven. Do not be marketing driven. Count on people acting irrationally.

STUMBLES

Earlier, we referred to the smallest viable market, which is those for whom the product or service is ideal. The book mentions some stumbles that marketers often make as they search for this. The first is to have impossible ambitions. Don't believe that as a result of your marketing effort you can get everyone to succumb to your blandishments. Find the correct market for what you're selling. Select your smallest possible audience. Look after this smallest audience.

The second stumble you can have is a failure to be clear about the promise that you're making. He gives some very good examples. The chapter dealing with the smallest viable market finishes with eight great points. We give four below, as they are so important.

  • Focus on the smallest viable market.
  • Match the worldview of the people being served. Show up in that world with the story they want to hear, using the language they understand.
  • Make your story easy to spread. If every client brings in one more client, within a few years, you will have more than you can count.
  • Keep, the attention and trust of those you serve

You can’t please everyone

Godin dwells on the fact there is nothing that appeals to everybody. The wise marketer knows this and carefully analyses, using graphs, and Godin shows how the market, and what part your product or the one you're charged with marketing will fit into. Do not overestimate yourself. Find the place where your product will shine. Make sure the product is sound and worth getting. If you fail to do this then the only point of difference you can have is the price.

Godin talks about neophiliacs. These are the 16% of people who are prepared to try something new because they have a problem and are seeking a change. Good marketing recognises the importance of neophiliacs and how good marketers direct their principle efforts to seek and communicate with them.

Having recognised this always remember to treat people differently and with respect, as their needs and wants vary, however, you only have so many resources so you should always be on the lookout for people who could be customers. They are a precious resource and need to be treated as such. Similarly, look at your current clients. Go the extra mile for the really good ones. If you don't then you may well lose your very business.

LEAST VIABLE MARKETS

Godin continually talks about the least viable market. If you are going to have a least viable market then you had better have something worthwhile to offer. When you do have something worthwhile, you will have worked hard producing it but your customers become your evangelists. This brings far more benefits than if you had to expend energy in gaining them yourself. Your costs are linear, but your expansion is exponential.

He repeatedly stresses:

”Don't be discouraged by those who reject your marketing message. They're right in their own way. You must not see them as being wrong. Some rejection is inevitable.'Click To Tweet

The marketer needs to connect with as many people as possible. He or she probably needs to find out what large groups are thinking and believe. It is necessary for marketers to be aware of status and its importance in human affairs. Status is not determined solely by wealth or money.

Godin is very critical of business plans and suggests that a better business plan for marketers will have five sections, which are:

  1. Truth
  2. Assertions
  3. Alternatives
  4. People
  5. Money

Briefly, these have the following information: -Truth is where there is information about the market, competition, needs etc. Assertions will tell the reader what the product does. Alternatives will reveal precisely that and should show the flexibility in what is proposed. The People section has details about your team and those people in your market. Finally, Money explains how the project being marketed is financed, how much finance it needs, how revenue is collected, the cash flow and any other relevant financial information.

SYMBOLS

Symbols such as logos are thoroughly discussed by Godin. Basically, he sees them as an important part of the story that you're telling. He continually reiterates that what the marketer should do is address the needs of the market and not what he or she thinks or wants. As an example, the creation of websites should be done professionally. Websites send a company's message to the world.

GOALS, STRATEGIES, TACTICS

Godin talks about the difference between goals, strategy, and tactics. He defines goals in the following manner, ” The goal is your shining light, the unwavering destination of your work. Your strategy is the long-lasting way you're investing in reaching that goal. Your strategy sits above your tactics. Tactics are the dozens or hundreds of steps you will take on the half of your strategy. You can change tactics the moment you decide that they are not helping achieve your strategy any longer.”

Let us take Coca-Cola as an example:

  • Goal: Get more people to drink more Coke
  • Strategy: Produce a myriad of advertisements showing that Coke is a part of contemporary culture
  • Tactics: The individual advertisements

Brand marketing and direct marketing

At this point, it is sensible to talk about brand marketing and direct marketing. Brand marketing is the sort of marketing as seen by the advertisements in the media such as TV, radio, magazines, billboards etc. This sort of marketing is not interactive. Direct marketing is interactive and with the Internet is effective and it is cheaper than ever. Direct marketing using the Internet is measurable and you can find out quite easily whether your marketing is effective.

Does price play an important part in marketing? Price can be a tool for marketing. Godin warns about the use of low prices as a marketing tool. If you market your goods or services at the cheapest possible price you are sending a signal that all your product or service can differentiate itself with is the price. This is usually not a good idea. In his words, ” Low-price is the last refuge of a marketer who has run out of generous ideas.”

However, sometimes free can be a marketing tool. In his words, we don't pay to join Facebook, it is free to join and use, however, it makes its owners vast wealth.

CONCLUSION

Key takeaways

  • Look for the smallest viable market
  • Make sure that what you are marketing can help at least a few people; this should be the smallest viable market.
  • Focus on the smallest viable market.
  • Match the worldview of the people being served. Show up in that world with the story they want to hear, using the language they understand.
  • Make your story easy to spread. If every client brings in one more client, within a few years, you will have more than you can count.
  • Keep, the attention and trust of those you serve
  • Rejection is inevitable
  • Don't be evil!

Further reading

By the same author is The Dip. If you’re a budding entrepreneur you’re probably full of fantastic ideas for new business ventures. The challenge that so many face is deciphering when you need to push through the hard times, and when you need to quit and move on. This book is the perfect read for anyone that’s ever had a business idea and wants to learn a little bit about navigating the new-venture ‘dips’.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s The Thank You Economy takes a closer look at the changing platform of marketing, diving deeper into the world of social media marketing.

The premise of Growth Hacker Marketing is that exponential growth as seen from the likes of Dropbox, Instagram and Facebook is not down to luck and it hasn't come from traditional forms of marketing. Their rapid growth has been engineered from the beginning and despite being late entrants into their markets, these companies have succeeded using new age marketing techniques. This short book from author Ryan Holidayis easy to read and an absolute must for the modern day marketer.

Guidelines is my eBook that summarises the main lessons from 33 of the best-selling self-help books in one place. It is the ultimate book summary; Available as a 80-page ebook and 115-minute audio book. Guidelines lists 31 rules (or guidelines) that you should follow to improve your productivity, become a better leader, do better in business, improve your health, succeed in life and become a happier person.

This summary is not intended as a replacement for the original book and all quotes are credited to the above mentioned author and publisher.