You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See

This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin, 2018

A good guide on considerate and permission marketing. For a long-term success, market by providing real values.

23 May 2020

Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem.

It’s easier to make products and services for the customers you seek to serve than it is to find customers for your products and services.

Marketing in five steps The first step is to invent a thing worth making, with a story worth telling, and a contribution worth talking about. The second step is to design and build it in a way that a few people will particularly benefit from and care about. The third step is to tell a story that matches the built-in narrative and dreams of that tiny group of people, the smallest viable market. The fourth step is the one everyone gets excited about: spread the word. The last step is often overlooked: show up—regularly, consistently, and generously, for years and years—to organize and lead and build confidence in the change you seek to make. To earn permission to follow up and to earn enrollment to teach.

Marketers don’t use consumers to solve their company’s problem; they use marketing to solve other people’s problems.

What you say isn’t nearly as important as what others say about you.

The way we make things better is by caring enough about those we serve to imagine the story that they need to hear. We need to be generous enough to share that story, so they can take action that they’ll be proud of.

Marketing is our quest to make change on behalf of those we serve, and we do it by understanding the irrational forces that drive each of us.

If you can bring someone belonging, connection, peace of mind, status, or one of the other most desired emotions, you’ve done something worthwhile. The thing you sell is simply a road to achieve those emotions, and we let everyone down when we focus on the tactics, not the outcomes.

When you’re marketing-driven, you’re focused on the latest Facebook data hacks, the design of your new logo, and your Canadian pricing model. On the other hand, when you’re market-driven, you think a lot about the hopes and dreams of your customers and their friends. You listen to their frustrations and invest in changing the culture.

Begin by choosing people based on what they dream of, believe, and want, not based on what they look like. In other words, use psychographics instead of demographics.

Everything that we purchase—every investment, every trinket, every experience—is a bargain. That’s why we bought it. Because it was worth more than what we paid for it. Otherwise, we wouldn’t buy it.

When you look at the list of available attributes, it’s tempting to pick the ones that most people care about. After all, it’s hard work to claim an edge, and to pick one that few people care about seems foolish. Better, we think, to pick the popular one.

The alternative is to build your own quadrant. To find two axes that have been overlooked. To build a story, a true story, that keeps your promise, that puts you in a position where you are the clear and obvious choice.

We sell feelings, status, and connection, not tasks or stuff.

If you ask them, you probably won’t find what you’re looking for. You certainly won’t find a breakthrough. It’s our job to watch people, figure out what they dream of, and then create a transaction that can deliver that feeling.

The early adopters want things that are new; the laggards want things to never change.

A shared vocabulary that each of us chooses from when expressing our dreams and fears:
Freedom of expression
Freedom of movement
Good looks
Peace of mind
Physical activity

People might decide that they want a white leather wallet, but they don’t want it because it’s white or because it’s leather; they want it because of how it will make them feel. That’s what they’re buying: a feeling, not a wallet. Identify that feeling before you spend time making a wallet.

New and boring don’t easily coexist, and so the people who are happy with boring aren’t looking for you. They’re actively avoiding you, in fact.

If you can’t succeed in the small, why do you believe you will succeed in the large?

When we find the empathy to say, “I’m sorry, this isn’t for you, here’s the phone number of my competitor,” then we also find the freedom to do work that matters.

When you launch an extreme (the most efficient, the least expensive, the most convenient), then whatever you’ve exceeded is no longer the extreme that its fans sought out.

It’s a mistake to believe that everyone wants to make their status higher. In fact, few people do. It’s also a mistake to believe that no one wants to make their status lower. If you’ve been conditioned to see yourself in a certain status role, you might fight to maintain and even lower your status.

The foolish thing to do is pretend your features are so good that nothing else matters.

If you want to build a marketing asset, you need to invest in connection and other nontransferable properties.

Have the CEO pick up the phone and call that customer that you accidentally triple-charged. It’ll take a few minutes and it will be worth it.

Advertising is unearned media. It’s bought and paid for. And the people you seek to reach know it. They’re suspicious. They’re inundated.

If you’re buying brand marketing ads, be patient. Refuse to measure. Engage with the culture. Focus, by all means, but mostly, be consistent and patient. If you can’t afford to be consistent and patient, don’t pay for brand marketing ads.

“Don’t change your ads when you’re tired of them. Don’t change them when your employees are tired of them. Don’t even change them when your friends are tired of them. Change them when your accountant is tired of them.”

The market has been trained to associate frequency with trust (there, I just said it again). If you quit right in the middle of building that frequency, it’s no wonder you never got a chance to earn the trust.

Low price is the last refuge of a marketer who has run out of generous ideas.

Lowering your price doesn’t make you more trusted. It does the opposite.

Real permission works like this: If you stop showing up, people are concerned. They ask where you went.

Every publisher, every media company, every author of ideas needs to own a permission asset, the privilege of contacting people without a middleman.

People aren’t going to spread the word because it’s important to you. They’ll only do it because it’s important to them.

If you’re sneaking around, pretending to be one thing while acting in a different way, you might be able to steal some attention and earn some faux trust, but it won’t last.

The goal isn’t to maximize your social media numbers. The goal is to be known to the smallest viable audience.

Marketers spend a lot of time talking, and on working on what we’re going to say. We need to spend far more time doing.

The middle of the curve isn’t eagerly adopting. They’re barely adapting. That’s why they’ve chosen to be in the middle of the curve.

It is never the case that people will tell their friends because you want them to, or because you ask them to, or because you worked hard.

Marketing works for society when the marketer and consumer are both aware of what’s happening and are both satisfied with the ultimate outcome.