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A Perspective from Seth Godin

If you have made it through marketing circles over the last dozen years or so, you have heard of Seth Godin, marketer extraordinaire.

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If you have made it through marketing circles over the last dozen years or so, you have heard of Seth Godin, marketer extraordinaire. According to his website,  he identifies himself as, “ an entrepreneur, (who) has founded dozens of companies, most of which failed. Yoyodyne, his first internet company, was funded by Flatiron and Softbank and acquired by Yahoo! in 1998. It pioneered the use of ethical direct mail online, something Seth calls Permission Marketing. He was VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo! for a year.”
My particular recollection of Seth is “Permission Marketing” – the idea that when it comes to electronic marketing (email, websites, etc.) it is really up to the customer to identify his/herself and to provide the marketer the right (ie. the permission) to provide sales and promotional  information. I am probably doing this description a limited service, but what stood out for me is that most advertising and promotional tools are interruptive in nature (we don’t ask to stop the show and see a commercial) and that new media such as email allows one to agree to see the messages that matter most to him/her.
I seem to remember him likening the experience to romance – the marketer and customer newly meet, both parties slowly provide info about themselves, and as time progresses they trust each other more and more. The marketer tends to woo the customer – only providing what the customer wants in terms of information as the customer permits.  And this was all described before anyone coined the phase “social media.”
What stood out for me this week was an interview recently conducted with Seth that centered on his extensive work and writings – books, blogs, inventions, and how he can do so much in the same 24 hours we all share. Click here to read the interview in it's entirety.
For me, the best part of this interview was Seth’s candid view of many of our favorite things: watching TV, attending meetings, using Twitter and Facebook.  In short, he DOESN’T DO THEM! In fact, no assistant for email, a preference not even to use it. To him, it’s the difference between doing a great deal of things – and others not at all –saving what he estimates is about ten hours a day.
Given his very tight association with all things digital, it’s fascinating that he has limited use for these “activities and devices” and can see the advantage of simplicity – everything from writing the way he talks to believing that people are a lot more capable than they think.
He also says that “being the best at what you do is far more important than what most people think…(you) just have to have an instinct, for how hard are you willing to push to be the best at that thing.”
So even in a marketing/media/gadget and application society, it’s refreshing to learn from the mindset of a noteworthy participant like Seth that a personal, determined point of view can make our work worthy and prolific – whether or not it is enhanced by e-anything.
This article was written by Lauren Isaacson-Lev, expert in Marketing&Media.
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