Morning joe with Seth Godin: The heart of marketing

Marketing is how we feel about things. Feelings are marketed and advertising isn’t marketing. Author, entrepreneur and marketer Seth Godin proved to be just the cup of morning java that VIP session attendees needed to get them primed for the second day of Nordic Business Forum.

Godin wasted no time dismissing the notion that good products can market themselves – as did a majority of the VIPs present, by way of an unscientific poll that showed 94 percent agreed with the marketing guru. Self-marketing products are a myth, more so because most people don’t understand what the word marketing even means, Godin declared.

According to the serial bestseller, marketing isn’t advertising, it’s telling a story for people who need to hear it. Most of all, marketing needs to address a problem that exists, speak to the right audience and tell them the right story.

Marketers need to figure out how to talk to the people who want to hear from them and give them something to tell their friends. If they can do that, people will in turn tell their friends. Ultimately, if you’re in marketing Godin said, you’re in the business of conversations and meaning.

Many people trying to flog a product or service will eventually find that persuading people that they have a problem is huge. However, reaching people who realize they have a problem is effective.

“Worrying about everyone is foolish because everyone doesn’t care. The challenge is not to stay in the middle but to seek out the edges,” Godin noted.

Marketers are good at showing up at the right place at the right time and they change culture. But it’s impossible to change culture without an emotional pitch.

“Steve jobs didn’t market functionality and Apple does not sell function – it sells tribal belonging and satisfaction. If you’re not winning, there’s something wrong with the story.”

Godin also tackled the myth of the cold, calculating engineering approach. He noted that there are misconceptions in the belief that engineering offers all the right answers. There is already emotion inherent in the attachment to a certain form of Scandinavian design, for example.

He challenged engineers tinkering endlessly to perfect their products to take a chance and engage in conversations about them.

“If you’re designing for 3 years, you’re hiding. Before you spend the time and effort working on your product, you need to find out if people care. You need to create engagements with people, not polished software,” Godin counselled.

Marketers – and engineers – need love that comes from connection and meaning. The best way to create it is to start making sales calls and to get customers to spend money in exchange for an experience.

“It doesn’t take time, it takes guts. We need more bad ideas, not more really polished bad ideas,” he concluded.


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