Seth Godin Question and Answer Session: TMRE, Orlando 2015
Seth Godin is the author of 18 books. His blog is one of the most popular in the world.After a keynote about the Connection Economy, Godin made time for a Q and A for 50 people.
Q: Companies are risk averse and market researchers are even more risk averse. What is your advice?
A: Reframe the questions. See how people respond. Companies aren’t conservative; they are afraid. They all want someone to stand up and shed light. They mistake their purpose as making the stock rise, instead of making something meaningful. Take actions on small things, build courage, take responsibility, give credit. Things will change.
Q: What your view of where marketing will be in five years?
A: This is the next big thing—market to the edges, the freaks, forget mass—market to individuals. The meta trend is the smartphone. Most teenagers would rather give up their car than their cell phone—amazing.
Q: Can you talk about scarcity verses Abundance?
A: The source of the scarcity mindset is two fold: 1. Evolution (not enough food for 1 million years and 2. Limited shelf space. Zero sum game … the shift is that attention is the scare-est resource. How do you get more attention? Ideas are abundant. You need to build trust.
Q: What is your view on Twitter?
A: The two stupid things Twitter can do is go public and sell ads—I wrote this in a post before Twitter went public. Instead, they should offer a tiered platform with power users who don’t see ads. Twitter will be less fun to use.
Q: You mentioned about The Weird. Please explain.
A: People move away from the center when given a choice. Look at people’s browser histories. This was inconceivable 50 years ago when we had three TV channels to choose from. Now, it is fragmented beyond conception.
Q: When you look at market research, you think about the push tactics you don’t want. So, what can market research do?
A: Start with reframing the questions, make sense of trends, not history, but pattern matching. You are charged with taste, not data.
Q. Discuss the art and humanity a little more.
A: Understand patterns. As soon as someone creates an algorithm, humanity changes, outmodes it. It’s the quality of the experience of living, of life, of work.
Q. Thank you for using words like generosity or art in the realm of marketing. Can you help bring value?
A. I would say you wouldn’t say it yet. But I see it at many companies. Look at Spotify—the CEO knows that if he hires humans at their edge, it will bring the company more value. When I say generosity, it doesn’t mean give it away, it means recognize the humanity of the market.
Q: How do you take it personally when you’re told not to take it personally.
A: They don’t have to like it, but I made it and I have proud of it. You can say “I made it.”
Q: Turning strangers into friends—can you explain?
A: My book Permission Marketing is about this topic. Marketing you want to get works better than spam. Would the consumer miss you if you were gone? Do you have permission. The challenge is how you build a brand where people want to here from you. It requires humility. Find products for customers, instead of customers for products. Earn that asset first, and the other stuff falls into place.
Michael Graber is the managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic growth firm based in Memphis, TN. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.