This is Marketing is a collection of thoughts from Seth Godin about marketing.  It’s a relatively quick read, and gives a brief overview of much of what his other work has been dedicated to: permission marketing, telling stories, engaging with customers.

I don’t think this is a breakthrough marketing book.  For me, it was the first book of his I’d read (though I’ve subscribed to his blog for a long time).  I think it’s a good introduction to his work, and afterwards you can go back to some of his more well-known work - Tribes, Purple Cow, All Marketers Are Liars, Linchpin.


Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve their problem.

  • Effective marketing now relies on empathy and service, not selfish mass spam.
  • Marketers offer solutions to problems other humans have, and help them move forward.
  • Marketing in five steps
  • The first step is to invent a thing worth making, with a story worth telling, and a contribution worth talking about.
  • The second step is to design and build it in a way that a few people will particularly benefit from and care about.
  • The third step is to tell a story that matches the built-in narrative and dreams of that tiny group of people, the smallest viable market.
  • The fourth step is the one everyone gets excited about: spread the word.
  • The last step is often overlooked: show up—regularly, consistently, and generously, for years and years—to organize and lead and build confidence in the change you seek to make. To earn permission to follow up and to earn enrollment to teach.
  • “People like us do things like this” 
  • Keep going back to the question: “Who’s it for?"
  • Focus on the smallest viable market, which is the smallest number of people you need to delight for them to tell others, and lead your growth.
  • Think of your prospects as students, then ask questions like: Where are your students? What will they benefit from learning? What will they tell others?
  • Here’s a template, a three-sentence marketing promise you can run with:
  • My product is for people who believe _________________.
  • I will focus on people who want _________________.
  • I promise that engaging with what I make will help you get _________________.
  • Find two attributes that have been overlooked, and position yourself at the extreme of those two attributes, in a place where there is little competition, and you are the clear and obvious choice.
  • We sell feelings, status, and connection, not tasks or stuff.
  • At the start, begin with dreams and fears, emotional states, and the change your customers seek.
  • The heart and soul of a thriving enterprise is the irrational pursuit of becoming irresistible.
  • Make your product work better when used with others.
  • Seek advice/feedback like this: "I made something that I like, that I thought you’d like. How’d I do? What advice do you have for how I could make it fit your worldview more closely?"
  • Or invert: Why are the people who don’t choose you right?
  • The customer thinks: “Do people like me do things like this?"
  • The more specific, connected and tighter the “us” you choose, the better.
  • You must create tension - not fear, exactly - but the promise that we can get through that fear to the other side.
  • Sending affiliation signals in B2B means creating referrals.  Affiliation is all about: Who’s standing next to me?
  • Why marketers go to work: to be successful, to engage with people in a way that benefits both sides, to be respected, seen, and appreciated, to make enough of a profit to do it again.
  • How do you know if you have a brand? If people would care if you disappeared.
  • Brand marketing makes magic; direct marketing makes the phone ring.
  • Brand marketing: culturally oriented, can’t be measured.
  • Direct marketing: action oriented, measured.
  • Measure everything if you’re doing direct marketing; be very specific if you’re doing brand marketing.
  • With everything you do: continue to show up with frequency.  Most people give up too soon.
  • Real permission: if you stop showing up, people are concerned where you went.
  • How do you get permission? Provide value to the people who are most likely to want to hear from you (likely neophiliacs).
  • The bridge across the chasm between early adopters and the masses is network effects.  It’s built on two simple questions:
  • What will I tell my friends?
  • Why will I tell them?
  • In B2B marketing, every business buyer asks herself the question: “What will I tell my boss?"
  • Tell stories:
  • The story of self: talk about your transition from who you used to be to who you became.
  • The story of us: why are we alike? Why should we care? Why is your story relevant to “us”.
  • The story of now: enlists the tribe on your journey; the opportunity/peer pressure to provide the tension for all of us to move forward, together.
  • When you fail to market your offering properly, you’re stealing: stealing the opportunity from someone who needs to learn from your engage with you, or buy from you.

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