5 Things I learned from Seth Godin

5 Things I learned from Seth Godin

5 Things I learned from Seth Godin

Last week I was at a Digital Marketing Summit in Philadelphia and the keynote speaker for the event was Seth Godin.  I was excited to hear him speak because I had been a fan of his for quite some time.


I am an entrepreneur and have always been a life learner, but learning marketing is like being in a spin dryer. Every day the battlefield changes and keeping up with the right advice is a challenge.  


Guys like Seth are the constant.


If you don’t know who Set Godin is, just google “Seth”, his wildly popular blog with will show up.  He has written over a dozen books and founded more than a couple of companies. He is truly a “thought leader” when it comes to marketing.


Here are some of the biggest takeaways from Seth Godin.


There are no such things as bad ideas:


I remember, back when I had the only “job” of my life. In meetings, many people would be scared to share their ideas for fear of those ideas being criticized and laughed at. One of the first and most important Seth Godin things you can learn from Seth is, “There are no bad ideas.” The concept is so simple yet so profound.


What Seth tries to point out is that most great ideas come from a combination of bad ideas. The better ideas, at the very least, draw significant inspiration from the bad ones. His advice, which I wanted to share, is to write all your ideas down.   I use Microsoft OneNote for this but you could use a notebook, Evernote or the back of an envelope.  Whatever tool you choose, just write it down.


Don’t be so quick to dismiss your ideas, regardless of how outlandish they might seem. The combination of a few bad ideas will often end up producing a break through. Furthermore, you need to experience the bad ideas to find the truly remarkable ones. You need to go through some failure to really celebrate success.  If you have a way to look back on your brainstorming notes some of these “bad” ideas might just turn into gold.


Think Small, Market Smaller


To some, it may sound like terrible advice, but let me explain. I mean, “Think small” in the sense of your market. Contrary to many other marketers of this past century, Seth believes you should find the smallest possible market or market segment. Then, market your product directly to them.


We all have a tendency to want to mass market. This is due to the effect of the “Television Industrial Complex.” Seth believes and I agree that the era of mass marketing is over. By focusing on a very specific segment of your target market, you can make something that hits home with them completely. You can convert a higher percentage of people who really resonate by your marketing efforts. Tailor your marketing to their specific needs, wants and interests – target one person.


Ship It or It Doesn’t Count


This is another simple but great adage that many of us need to revisit. It’s great and invigorating to work on an idea, to perfect it and make it into the grand perfection you envisioned but it doesn’t put food on the table.


The truth is, it would be immensely gratifying if every idea we had could be perfected prior to hitting market. If nothing else, it strokes our egos. However, in business, it’s the bottom line that matters. If you spend all your time and efforts developing the perfect product THAT NOBODY WANTS then you have nothing. Go for the minimum viable product and see what the market likes… or dislikes.



Get your product out and get feedback. Put it out there, collect feedback, revise and then make a better version. It is crucial that you get that product or service in the hands of the actual users.  Seth uses a simple example of a cook. If the cook works on the first order till it’s perfect, he doesn’t have time to make the orders for the other twenty customers he is cooking for. Ship out that order, produce the product, deliver the service and if the client isn’t happy work on upgrading it until it meets their needs. Nine out of ten times, the customer will give you feedback that wouldn’t have happened without the product or service in their hands.



Fail Fast and Lean into Your “Dips”


In one of his books, “The Dip,” Seth explains the different curves we all face. He writes that a dip is the long, hard road between starting and mastery. It is “where the success happens.” Stick it out if you truly want to be the best in a specific thing.


In contrast, the “Cul-de-sac” is where you work and put valuable time and resources but nothing much happens. His example of a cul-de-sac is a dead-end job.


The third curve is a “cliff.” These are situations where you can’t quit till you fall off. The cliff is when you are trying to maintain an unsustainable level. Eventually, the “cliff” will kill your success.


Therefore, it’s important to identify what’s truly important to you and dive into that “dip.” Also, cut off the “cul-de-sacs” and “cliffs” to truly find your greatness.



Be the “Purple Cow”


My favorite of Seth’s ideas  is “become the Purple Cow.” In Seth’s book titled, “Purple Cow,” Seth gives us his philosophy of creating the product that stands out. These days, we’re bombarded with products and ideas, everywhere. That means that the only way to impact your audience and actually convert sales is to stand out.


What I think Seth means is that you need to be different. Innovate and become the special something your market needs. Have something that stands out and makes you unique to your target audience. Generic is boring and gets forgotten in the oversaturated modern-marketing vacuum. Become the Purple Cow to attract clients and stand out from the competition.




This is just the tip of the iceberg in what I have picked up studying Seth Godin. That being said, these five ideas have resonated with me.  I hope they can do the same for you. Let me know what you think, how can we be the purple cows?


This article was originally published on our company blog https://blog.pics-itech.com