Last Thursday I had the unique opportunity to spend a day with Seth Godin. Now poke fun and call me a fan-boy (see picture for Exhibit A – my autographed Godin action figure) but it was an incredible day. We discussed taking action, deciding when to quit, the acceptance (and need) for failure, and being remarkable. What made the session so great was the intimate audience where just about everyone who wanted to was able to ask a question or two of Seth. I just wanted to post some of my notes from the day…
“Discounting is the last refuge of the marketer when there’s nothing left to do.” I think we’d all agree discounting is a slippery slope that can be habit forming for your customers and devaluing for your product. Seth also makes the important distinction that “Free is different than charging a penny… sampling brings permission to talk to them”.
“Find products for customers and NOT customers for products.” I don’t think anyone would disagree. I just like the way he phrases it.
On ROI – In my world we spend a lot of time talking about ROI. Both in terms of what we spend our marketing dollars on and also in terms of the ROI our solutions deliver for a clients. Seth’s response to the question of ROI – “That’s not the real question being asked. ROI is just an excuse to say no”. Bottom line, we as markters need to be better story tellers, not ROI givers. Don’t marginalize what you do down to an ROI number that can be poked and prodded.
“Start a tribe. Ship something every day just to connect with other people who care.” He uses the word “ship” but he’s talking about creating something at the risk of failure or imperfection.
“It’s a mistake to present in a conference room where they’re trained to say no”. Couldn’t agree more. Change the context of the conversation, change their mindset and maybe you’ve got a shot.
“Get laughed at every single day. You can’t be a genius and not fail. So go be a failure”. In the US – The Self Storage market is about $6B. We just don’t like to give up on things. We talked extensively about failure and knowing when to quit. He also provides a great discussion of it in his book “The Dip”, which I highly recommend. Bottom line – we need to learn when to quit on things so we can move on to something that won’t keep us going in circles. If it’s not going to be remarkable, why put any more effort towards it?
“The devil doesn’t need an advocate, he’s doing just fine on his own.” His emphasis here was sometimes we just have to do it. Don’t make it perfect, because then you’ll never do it. The devil’s advocate is the tiny part of your brain sending off waves of fear and self-doubt.
Finally – FEAR THE DEER. More people are killed by deer than by sharks, but we have this visceral fear of Sharks. “Unless the worse case scenario ends with ‘and then I die'” you should tell that little voice in the back of your head to shut up.