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If you want to excel in the field of marketing, you must have heard and read one name. He is the guru of modern era and needs no introduction.

I am referring to Seth Godin who has made a mark in marketing world. Unlike others, Godin is different in a sense that he is willing to share all his knowledge with seekers.

For the same purpose, you need to read his book ‘This is Marketing,’ which covers what is essential for marketers to help their products stand out and be seen.

I have always advocated reading complete books but for those short on time, all the points which can help you sell your product like crazy are encapsulated in this summary.

In the initial pages, Seth describes that marketing is to be a driver of the market than market-driven. The guru states that effective marketing relies on empathy and service instead of evil strategies, an approach which is much different from the ones in place right now.

Selfishness Vs Service

The interesting thing about Seth is that he describes marketing in a different style. We have been primed to see marketing as some sort of evil, coercive technique to force us buy a product which is not worthy.

On the other hand, Seth gives a fresh flair to the strategy and bases it on strong footings of helping someone and understanding their worldview to connect with them at a deeper level. Notice this in context of the useless spam messages we receive everyday.

The marketing does not need to be selfish as per Seth Godin, contrary to the prevailing viewpoint. Moreover, the book highlights that marketers should frame their policies keeping the customers in mind and not their own selfish interests around money and clicks.

A Tweak to Boost VisionSpring Sales

Let’s read a story, the one based on facts and not on fiction. It is about VisionSpring which is an enterprise that works to get reading glasses to people.

Seth tried to market the glasses in a community through the traditional way of offering ten pairs of glasses to choose from. Despite that the individuals needed them, they did not buy it even after trying and seeing the results themselves.

The marketing guru then changed one thing and the sales boosted. Seth Godin changed the story from ‘Desire for gain versus avoidance of loss’ and it worked. 

Now with this strategy, people were asked to give back the only pair they were provided if they did not like it and it created a sense of loss for them which led to increase in sales. But the catch here is that Seth knew about the effectiveness of the product and was not tricking people into buying an ineffective product.

Marketing, according to Seth Godin, is about understanding the irrational forces that drive each of us, the manifestation of which is our buying of stuff we don’t need at all.

Take a look at the jeans you bought and did not wear.

Narrow Down the Market

Godin is a guru for some reason and this book is just a highlight of it.

One of the concepts that would grab your attention is that marketing should narrow down the people to affect. It means whole masses should not be the focus of marketing as it leads to compromises and generalizations.

Instead, smallest viable market should be the focus which will lead to growth.

We have always been trying to ‘shake up the world’ but Seth Godin compels us to niche down and affect the community which can help us sustain our product. Instead of affecting the ocean, start with the swimming pool is what ‘This is Marketing’ states.

The Dog Food Marketing

You will burst into laughters of how the dog food marketing has been explained in the book.

Seth says that although dog food is for dogs but who chooses to decide buying this?

It is the owner who buys the dog food and so the dog food should appeal to the owner of the dog and not the dog itself. The dog owners need to be satisfied that they are feeding the right diet to their pets. Godin says that there is always a disconnect between performance and appeal. The performance of dog food can be gauged by dog itself but it should appeal to its owner.

Seth Godin has stated in the book that people are also driven by feelings instead of features. The expert states that the masses are not so much interested in features as they are interested in emotions that those features evoke.

People buy feelings and not the product is what Godin says.

I am reminded of another quote I read somewhere about the Rolex watch which said: A Rolex is not used to tell the time, it is used to tell the status of the owner; it makes complete sense as time can be seen through a $5 watch as well but Rolex is for conveying our status and it makes us feel better and rich.

Size of the Market

We talked about the viable market earlier. The book mentions Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired who stated that one needs 1000 true fans to make a living. These true fans are the ones who would toil hard to grab a copy of your book or attend your art exhibition or purchase anything you produce. Seth Godin says that the challenge lies in capturing the micro market.

People Like Us

The book has outlined a great concept of ‘people like us do things like this’.

This concept says that we as consumers buy products based on what our peers do. We are influenced by the people around us who are like us.

It quotes the example of Robin Hood Foundation’s charity event which collected tons of dollars because of the same strategy. When wall street individuals saw their peers donating, they stepped forward and made donations with hefty amounts because they thought:

People like us do things like this.

The Art of Repetition

You will love “This is Marketing” because it connects to us at a human level. It focuses on the importance of repetition and marketing. Interestingly, it has answered one of our questions:

Why so many logos of the big companies look the same?

The answer lies in reminding the consumers about a solid company. Godin says that it is not laziness but the art of reminding you that the company behind the logo is solid and not a scam.

The Marketing behind Spam Lottery E-mails

We have all received e-mails from Nigerian or other countries (supposedly as they say) but have you ever wondered why the e-mails have lots of errors?

Godin answers this by saying that the errors are intentional to trap the gullible and let the pros ignore the message. The scammers want to invest time on those amateurs who don’t find the mistakes and consider the offer serious and verified. On the other hand, the mistakes allow smart internet users to simply delete the mail. The aspect of ‘viable market is at play’.

The Profit Mantra

The book outlines that not every customer pays heavily for the product and although its good to have a viable market, even then some customers pay more than others. Seth Godin has stated that the whales pay for the minnows which implies that different people are to be treated differently.

Direct Marketing Vs Brand Marketing

The beauty of the book penned by Seth lies in the fact that it encapsulates academic as well as real life concepts.

For instance, it has clarified that direct marketing can be measured while brand marketing is culturally oriented and can not be measured. Putting a billboard on the road is brand marketing while putting ads on Facebook and measuring the impact is direct marketing.

Building Trust Through Frequency

We have all been wondering as to why big corporate giants like Pepsi or Apple spend on advertising considering that almost everyone on the planet knows about them already. Seth Godin has answered this by stating that the market has been trained to associate frequency with trust.

The more frequent the ads pop up, the more we build trust in them and gasp to buy the new i-Phone or the Mac.

Let’s Conclude

Seth Godin’s This is Marketing is a nice starter for those who are willing to market anything whether it is a blog or a soft drink or a restaurant. It conveys us the message that marketing is to be done at a human level and sometimes we need to appeal to the irrational forces people value the most. ‘This is Marketing’ tells us to look at the market from the viewpoint of the consumer and not the producer of the product.

It tells us to be humble in our assessment of the market and our product and tweak it as per the demands of the masses so that the product garners profit through person-to-person advertising. It quotes why Facebook witnessed a boom because those who did not join felt left out and we all need to join a herd for sense of belonging.

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