Tag Archives: Seth Godin

On becoming a household name

On becoming a household name

By Seth Godin
May 24, 2009

The guidance office at the high school has a big poster for Wellesley College hanging by the door. It’s just a picture of a building, no features, no benefits, no text at all.

Kids apply to schools (a quarter of a million dollar investment) for crazy reasons. A big one: “Well, I’ve heard of it.”

Gonzaga University features basketball players on their home page. No doubt a few people attend to play basketball, but my guess is that the school believes that the fame of their school will somehow get someone who doesn’t play to attend.

It’s completely irrational and it’s also what your customers do every day.

Being a familiar name takes you miles closer to closing a sale. People like to buy from companies they’ve heard of.

It turns out that this is an overlooked benefit of banner ads. Banner ads are fairly worthless in terms of generating clickthroughs… you have to trick too much and manipulate too much to get clicks worth much of anything. But, if you build ads with no intent of clicks, no hope for clicks… then you can focus on ads that drill your name or picture or phrase into my head. 100 impressions and you’re almost famous.

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Filed under Andrew R. Spriegel, Andrew Spriegel, Brand, Branding, Bucks, business, Market, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Seth Godin

Where do ideas come from?

Where do ideas come from?

By Seth Godin
November 24, 2010

  1. Ideas don’t come from watching television
  2. Ideas sometimes come from listening to a lecture
  3. Ideas often come while reading a book
  4. Good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them
  5. Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom
  6. Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide
  7. Ideas often strive to meet expectations. If people expect them to appear, they do
  8. Ideas fear experts, but they adore beginner’s mind. A little awareness is a good thing
  9. Ideas come in spurts, until you get frightened. Willie Nelson wrote three of his biggest hits in one week
  10. Ideas come from trouble
  11. Ideas come from our ego, and they do their best when they’re generous and selfless
  12. Ideas come from nature
  13. Sometimes ideas come from fear (usually in movies) but often they come from confidence
  14. Useful ideas come from being awake, alert enough to actually notice
  15. Though sometimes ideas sneak in when we’re asleep and too numb to be afraid
  16. Ideas come out of the corner of the eye, or in the shower, when we’re not trying
  17. Mediocre ideas enjoy copying what happens to be working right this minute
  18. Bigger ideas leapfrog the mediocre ones
  19. Ideas don’t need a passport, and often cross borders (of all kinds) with impunity
  20. An idea must come from somewhere, because if it merely stays where it is and doesn’t join us here, it’s hidden. And hidden ideas don’t ship, have no influence, no intersection with the market. They die, alone.

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Seeking market resonance

by Seth Godin
November 10, 2010

If you’ve ever wasted time at a catered affair, you know the water glass trick. Half full glass, wet finger, hold the bottom of the glass and then slide your finger around and around the top of the glass.

As you move your finger, the glass will vibrate. Move it just right (a function of the amount of water and the thickness of the glass) and the glass starts to sing. Do it really well and it sings so loud you might be able to shatter the glass and get into all sorts of trouble.

This is what most marketers seek (not the trouble part, the singing part).

The market awaits your innovation. Things that might make it vibrate and resonate don’t work. Then some do. It’s not always obvious before you start what the right entry point is, what the right product is, what the right speed is. And knowing that you don’t know is the most important place to start.

Honing your music or your presentation or your business plan or your store’s inventory are all efforts to resonate. Smart marketers are hyper-alert for what’s working, for what’s starting to get people to prick  their ears. Just like the glass, you have a touch, you adjust, you listen, you adjust again.

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Micro Magazines and a Future of Media

by Seth Godin

Does anyone read Time or Newsweek (being sold to anyone who will take them) any more? And when they disappear, who will really miss them?

The problem is that they are both slow and general. The world, on the other hand, is fast and specific.

Is there a business here?

While there are still people hoping to make a living writing a blog (not as a tool for something else, but as an end into itself), that’s awfully difficult to do. Micro-magazines, on the other hand, feel very different to me. They have elements that make them very attractive to advertisers and readers.

I’ll define one as:

  • Being digital (probably a PDF), that’s free to ‘print’, fast to make and easy to share. (Newsweek spends seventeen million dollars a year on paper.)
  • Having subscribers, either by email or RSS
  • Focused on issues that appeal to some, but not all
  • Having a very specific audience (call it a tribe)
  • Enabling that tribe to connect by sharing the ideas in the magazine among them, as well as supporting it with a forum or blog
  • Containing ads that are relevant to that audience
  • Being longer than 140 characters or even a blog post, so significant ideas can be exposed in detail

There’s room in the market for 100,000 profitable micro-magazines. Why not have one about Aruba, for example? If all the people who vacation in Aruba could read about the island in detail every month, read about restaurants, resorts and politics, for free, in an easy to share format… Multiply this by every destination, every interest group, every type of profession (how about a micro-magazine for ethnobiologists?)

Surely you can think of a group of people that share a demo- or psychographic, that are appealing to an advertiser base and want to learn and share what they learn… for free.

Take a look at Clay and Ishita’s new magazine, Fearless.  It’s jammed with good stuff, it’s engaging and it begs to be shared. While the audience for Fearless isn’t as vertical as some, it clearly should resonate with some advertisers, the sort that might pay for an ad in the soon to be irrelevant newsweeklies. And the big difference is that instead of paying for an office building and paper and overhead, the money for an ad in a micro-magazine can go directly to the people who write and promote it and the ad itself will be seen by exactly the right audience… (Aside: Newsweek has 427 employees and a guaranteed circulation of 1.5 million. Fearless will probably end up reaching 100,000 people with 2 employees.)

Don’t expect overnight successes in this form of media, but certainly expect that once someone figures out how to be the voice of a tribe, the revenue will take care of itself.

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