Marketing Ideas: Lessons from Seth Godin at Art of Marketing 2014

Category: Marketing Strategies & Tips

A couple weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend the popular Art of Marketing event. There was a great lineup of speakers, but I was especially excited to listen to insightful Seth Godin. And he didn’t disappoint. Below are some of the key points he laid out for the Vancouver audience.


“Marketing isn’t an ad campaign, it’s ‘follow me'”

Lead a tribe – discover the core of your brand and find customers that align with the same beliefs. Look at Lululemon, their fans are yogis, their brand is yogi-specific, and they continually reinforce this.

“Human beings like doing what other human beings are doing”

Be the voice of that tribe. People love being in tribes – it helps them define themselves. Be the leader of their tribe, and you’ll have customers.

Connection Economy

“If I can write it down, I can find it cheaper”

This is what your customers are saying on a daily basis. You don’t want to convince them on price, so what do you have to give that differentiates you from your competitors? Well, what you have is your connections. Your connections are proprietary, because nobody – especially brands – can buy friends. Real friends. Customers want to join brands, not just purchase from them. The tribe you’re leading – the connections you have – is your ticket to new customers. Your customers help differentiate and define your brand.

The weird people

Everyone is a little weird. Marketers used to focus on the “masses” for their campaigns, but it’s a little different now. Everyone can have a voice (not just the general masses), and the more distinct the tribe, the more unique – and loud – their voice is. So when you’re defining your tribe – finding your target demo by finding the weird people. Find the weird things about your brand and find the people weird enough to align with you.

VanCity Credit Union gains a new customer because of aligned values

VanCity Credit Union gains a new customer because of aligned values

Sheep are bad marketers

Marketing used to be simpler. It was a one-way street with few options. Awareness was achieved with strategic media placement and brands were guaranteed to catch their potential customers. But with all the platforms and avenues now, it’s harder to find your customer. Unfortunately, many marketers are stuck with this traditional idea of advertising, and – like sheep – they use the same strategy over and over again even though it’s not working.

Dance with Fear

“More hubris, please”

Ignore “the resistance” that creeps into your mind. It tells you what you’re daring to do isn’t proven yet, and it might be too dangerous to pursue. Truth is, “danger” is less dangerous than it ever used to be. Failing is easy to do, and doesn’t cost as much. If the idea is “too soon”, that means it’s perfect timing. It means you’re setting precedent – nobody is setting the example for you. When everybody says it’s finally ready, that means you’re already too late.

Note: A similar idea is mentioned in a previous blog post.

Ad block

Marketers and Advertisers should encourage ad block. Interruption advertising is lazy and annoying. Your customers like ad block, so should you. As leader of your tribe, you should understand why you like ad block. Define your brand and lead your tribe, provide value and a voice for that tribe, and you won’t ever need to advertise by interrupting. Your customers will find you and follow you because you are like them and they are like you.

As mentioned above, there was a great lineup of speakers at the event, but in my opinion (and I stepped back and tried to be as objective as possible), he was the most insightful and forward-thinking of all the speakers.

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Matthew Tsang

Matthew Tsang serves as an Account Director and Principal at My Loud Speaker Marketing. As an ambassador of meaningful marketing, Matthew has worked on campaigns that have emphasized the importance of giving back in unconventional ways. A natural researcher with an entrepreneurial and creative flair, Matthew has discovered happiness in a career that is challenging both imaginatively and intellectually.

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