Brad: Reflections About Seth Godin's "This Is Marketing" Book, and The New Economy (Breather Episode with Brad)


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After my great interview with Seth, I offer some further reflections about the breakthrough insights in his recent book, This Is Marketing. This show is a bit of a departure from the podcast theme of health, fitness, peak performance, happiness, and longevity subject matter, but it can provide valuable insights for how you can best make an economic contribution in most careers, and how to be a healthy, strategic consumer instead of succumbing to marketing manipulation.

Seth’s premise is that we are in the middle of a shift from the dated old-time marketing-driven economy to a market-driven economy. In the old-time vertical economy, consumers had few choices (only 3 TV channels, the comparatively few books on the shelf at the bookstore, the morning newspaper or weekly news magazine, etc.) The corporate giants of old subjected us to aggressive, manipulative marketing messages trying to get us to buy their offerings. Today, consumers have massive choice and freedom and are one click away from a lower price and better service. Seth says the “race to the bottom” (who can be more aggressive, slick and clever to extract a purchase) was worth winning in the old days, but not anymore. Today we are obligated to listen to the hopes and needs and dreams of the market we wish to serve—a market-driven economy. Instead of trying for bigger numbers and broader territories, Seth argues persuasively that you are better off focusing on the “smallest viable audience.” Offer them a breakthrough product or service that establishes you as the single best resource to meet your customer’s hopes and dreams.

I offer examples of the changing dynamics of the real estate broker, who used to provide privileged information as their main value. Today, with Zillow and the rest giving everyone the same information, realtors are obligated to raise their game to something different. They must meet the emotional needs of the client by engaging their hopes and dreams. Seth calls this the “difficult work we signed up for.” He distinguishes it from the hustle of trying to fill a market niche, which will leave you constantly in fear, driven by scarcity, looking in the rear-view mirror at the competition. Relatedly, touting your honest, reliable, high-quality product or service is pretty much ridiculous these days, because these things are assumed and expected.


Seth Godin’s book This is Marketing transforms our thinking about marketing. [04:05]

There are five steps to effective marketing. [07:24]

We must understand the irrational forces that drive us. [09:03]

When in doubt, assume people will act according to their current irrational urges. [11:24]

Serve the smallest viable market. [16:55]

With a new marketplace with tremendous consumer choice and freedom, we must be different. [20:09] Authenticity is overrated. [22:56]

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