By Tina Berres Filipski
A standing-room-crowd turned out to hear master marketer Seth Godin’s Opening Session on Tuesday morning at The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas. And Godin gave them plenty to think about in his talk Invisible Or Remarkable: Notes From The Revolution.
While most of us were taught in school from an early age to be quiet and fit in, Seth Godin begged his listeners to do the complete opposite.
Using examples, personal stories and unforgettable, often hilarious, oversized background images, Godin took on what’s been wrong with marketing since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
He should know—in 1992 he published a book about the internet and it sold a dismal 1,842 copies; a total, epic failure, he admitted. At the same time, two guys created a site about the internet and named it Yahoo. Godin credits their success with the fact that the pair had a blank slate—and figured that if people want to learn about the internet, they would learn online. He, on the other hand, created what he already knew how to make—a book.
For almost an hour, Godin held thousands of listeners in the palm of his hand as he explained the giant shift that’s been happening in marketing over the past 50 years.
Mass merchants demand mass markets to sell more stuff, he explained. “The mentality was that if we advertise it enough, people will buy from us,” he says. “This is all fueled by bosses who keep saying the four-letter word to us over and over again. M-O-R-E. More market share, more yield, more profit per share. This leads to average products for average people.”
Godin emphasized his point: “All products are average on purpose, because if you want to reach everybody, you better make something everybody wants to buy.”
But the rules have changed, he pointed out. “There is an entire industry that is falling apart—the one that drove the mass marketing concept of interrupting everybody is going away. We are going into a completely new way of thinking and lots of people are looking in the rearview mirror and thinking ‘How do we drive forward?’”
The good news, he said, is the skills that listeners have are perfect for this new moment. “The privilege of delivering personal, anticipated and relevant messages to people who want to get them drives so much of what you are capable of changing in industries that need your help,” he says. “Also, for the first time ever, it is easy and imperative to treat different people differently.”
Ushering in this change is a shift from an industrial economy to a connection revolution. “The only asset that matters is who you know, who knows you, who’s paying attention to you. Connection.”