Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Hey, it's Marie Forleo and you are watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and life you love. Now, if you want your work to make an impact in this world, my guest today is one of the most thoughtful and prolific teachers of our time. Seth Godin is an author, entrepreneur, speaker, maker of ruckuses, and most of all teacher. Over the past quarter century he's taught and inspired millions of entrepreneurs, marketers, leaders, and fans from all walks of life via his blog, online courses and lectures. He runs themarketingseminar.com and created altMBA. He's the author of 18 bestsellers that have been translated into more than 35 languages. His latest book, This is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See, is available now. Seth Godin, thank you so much for coming back on the show. Marie Forleo, thanks for having me back. I thought I blew it last time. Here I am again. It's great. Are you kidding? You blowing it doesn't even like... it doesn't register. It's because you raise the bar so high. The work you put into it and the spirit is such a privilege to talk to you. I adore you. Thank you. You guys, I know you just saw a cover. You saw it. This is Marketing, I'm gonna say this is genius, this is a book you have to get for yourself, your friends, your loved ones, anyone who cares about making change in the world through what they do. Seth, you have so many incredible books. Why this book, this topic, right now? Books are different than they used to be. There's so much work. It's a year, as you know or more. Then you got to go and bring it to the world. You just make a blog post, reach more people. Why not just make a blog post? Or why not publish it yourself? My last book I published myself. It did pretty well. There's something about a book that let's the reader say to his or her peers, read this. The three of us, we're all gonna read this and meet about it tomorrow. You can't do that with a Ted Talk, you can't do that with a blog post because the book itself contained no batteries required. Here, read this. I run this seminar online called The Marketing Seminar. I got to watch six thousand people go through it and see how they changed and see what worked and see what didn't. I said, “Oh, I should write this down.” The book itself, once I made the course wasn't that hard to make. Then I said I'm willing to go through the pain of bringing it to people. Because if groups of people that want to make change happen can share this conversation, they're gonna disagree with a lot of what I said. Fine with me. At least you're gonna talk about it. That's why it's worth the journey. That's really freeing for me even because as we were talking before the camera started rolling, I was telling Seth how I'm in the last leg of my book right now. Can't wait. I love it. I'm gonna remember this. I'm like, highlighting this in my brain. People are gonna disagree with a portion and that's fine, but to get them talking. You say in the book and I'm gonna do a lot of this in this conversation, because literally I have so many highlights and so many underlines. You say, marketing is the act of making change happen. Making is insufficient. You haven't made an impact until you've changed someone. Right. A lot of people don't like marketers, more than don't like accountants, which doesn't make a lot of sense because accountants have a job and marketers have a job. What do marketers do? Here's what we don't do. We don't spam people, interrupt people, trick people, force people to do things they don't want to do. That's a different task that calls itself marketing. That's not what we do. Marketers make change happen. If you can make someone better, if you can open a door for someone, if you can shine a light, that's the act of marketing. Because what you've done is brought an idea or a product or a service to someone who needs it, and offered them help. A lifeguard knows how to swim. Until you get the drowning person to hold onto that ring, you haven't accomplished anything. That's marketing. Persuasion. What I wanted to do once and for all is say, that other thing that you don't like, that other thing that some people call marketing, programmatic, and pop ups and pop unders and all that nonsense, no. That's not what I'm talking about. This is for us. Work that matters for people who care. You also write, “The answer to just about every question about work is who can you help?” You also have “Instead we begin with a group we hope to serve, a problem they seek to solve, and the change they seek to make.” Talk to us about starting with the human, the person first. Not necessarily what we want to make or our creations, but this approach. I'm gonna come in sideways a little bit because one of the controversial ideas is that we need the smallest viable audience, not the biggest possible audience. A lot of people have trouble with that. They say, why should I do all this work if I don't want to reach everyone? If you want to reach everyone, that means you've denied the people you're serving their humanity. Because you're saying you are the masses, you are average. If you can pick someone, if you can be specific, the smallest viable group of people and say I live or die with you. You are who I'm here to serve. If I can't please you, I didn't do a good enough job. That's different. That puts you on the hook to see other people for where they want to go. If that's not where you want to go, well then they're the wrong people. If no one wants to go where you want to go, then you are not gonna achieve what you seek to achieve. To be honest here, what we have to begin by saying is, who would miss me if I was gone? Who will say to me thank you for bringing me this? Some skeptical people say, that's impossible. No one wants life insurance. My answer is, so then don't make life insurance. Let someone else do that. You get to pick what you do. Do something worthwhile because it's gonna take blood, sweat, and tears to go to the next level. If you're not who it's for, and what it's for, and obsess about that because we don't do marketing to people. We do it with them because they have a choice now. They didn't used to have a choice. With so many things a click away, they have a choice. If they're not gonna pick you, then you're out of luck. I love your simple three sentence marketing template. I feel like for our audience and for most people, especially if they're uncomfortable with marketing or they're still trying to get over that other thing, I feel like I talk about this a lot in B-School as well. Part of my job with my B-Schoolers is to help them unlearn a lot of the icky, aggressive associations that they have with what marketing even is. Giving people a simple template I think can be helpful for a lot of folks. Oh, this is how it is. Do you want me to read it or do you want to go from there? I change it every time so you go first. Okay. “My product is for people who believe blank. I will focus on people who want blank. I promise that engaging with what I make will help you get blank.” It's so simple. But if people started there, it switches the entire perspective. There's all this empathy involved, which empathy it doesn't have to be mushy and soft. Empathy can simply be a willingness to let people be who they want to be and not insist that they be who you want them to be. The template begins with “if you are the kind of person who believes blank,” if you're the kind of person who believes in authority over affiliation, if you're the kind of person who is an optimist not a pessimist. All these different things, different people believe. I might not believe what you believe, but I'm okay with what you believe. You want a certain kind of change. Then this thing I'm bringing you, I promise you will help you reach your dreams and goals. Let's think about Harley Davidson. I don't have a Harley. Do you have a Harley? I do not. It's not for me. That's because I don't believe blank, where believe that having a 15 thousand dollar heavy motorcycle will make me feel more complete or part of that group. I don't want that. If they go to people who do want that, then they say here's our next one and that's why they don't make a competitor to the Vespa scooter. Because they could and it would work, but it wouldn't address the dreams and desires and hopes and fears of the people they seek to serve. They don't make scooters. They make big motorcycles. Big motorcycles. When I think about the extraordinary success you've had leading the people that you lead, you don't spend any time at all worrying about the person on Wall Street who's not tuning in. It's not for her. You're right. Right? It's not for her. That's okay because there's so many people. You and I have big followings, which is such a privilege. 98% of the people in the United States have never seen your show, never read my book. 98%, fine. Nobody knows who the hell we are. It's perfect. Yes, totally. Absolutely. I want to talk about positioning as a service. This was one of my favorite examples. I actually shared when I was reading the book over the weekend. Two of my friends I shared your example of the piano teacher with, because I think it's so genius. I know that folks watching the show and I heard this. I was speaking at an event in San Francisco and a woman stood up and she started talking about it. She's like, but there's so much noise out there. How am I going to stand apart? I thought when I read your ingenious idea about the axis and specifically the piano teacher. Can you share that? Because I think people will see themselves in a whole new perspective. Traditional marketers if you went to business school or whatever, talk about differentiation. They talk about how do I cut through the clutter and the noise? That's selfish. That says I've worked hard. How do I get people to me? Let's throw that out and say that person you seek to serve, they have a problem. Their problem is just too much noise. Their problem is they don't know what to pick. The problem is they've got a kid they want to educate in music but they're not sure how. Can I offer them a service to help them see what their choices are? Now it's generous. In the case of the piano teacher, what I know is that no one drives more than 20 miles to go to a piano lesson. Let's call it five miles. That's the circle of people who can send someone to take a lesson with me. Then I can create axes and I can have as many as I want but two is all that will fit in my brain. I get to pick what the edges are. Some of the edges could be cheap and expensive. Some of the edges could be kind or eastern European in their strictness. Some of them could be focusing on jazz, some of them could be focusing on classical. You can look at an axis this way and an axis this way. If you draw oh this one, this one, this one, this one, there's someone who's already over here, there's someone who's always over here, but there's no one who offers this combination. On your behalf, I will live in this corner. If that's what you're looking for, great. If I talk to you and I realize it's not what you're looking for, I will eagerly send you to that other teacher because I am here to help you get what you want, not to persuade you that you are wrong. Yes. That shift is so important because it gives us this feeling of sufficiency, which is not that I have to clear everything off the table so I can go public one day. It's there's enough as long as I stand for something. I can ignore the critics because the critics are critics because it's not for them. Thanks for letting me know. There's someone over there who's for you. This is for someone else. Yes. I loved it. I was sharing with my friend too with the piano teacher example. If someone gets excited and passionate about being really rigorous and says, you know what? If you want your child to have the best chance of winning in a competition, you want the practice to be like this. It's about discipline. It's about showing up. It's about winning, whatever that means. I'm the teacher for you. On the other end of the spectrum, let's say you're a piano teacher and you're like, it is about the holisticness of the experience and the creative expression and your child is gonna love playing.