Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Godfather.

I do not say use the term "marketing guru" lightly or frequently. Suffice it to say however that Seth Godin is an absolute genius when it comes to marketing. Not only is he insightful and enlightening on an ongoing basis but his true gift is clarity of communication and making his points with brevity while still remaining entertaining and engaging.

This is not always easily accomplished and I believe Woodrow Wilson expressed it best when he said upon being asked how much preparation he would need to write a speech, "That depends. If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation. If fifteen minutes, three days. If half an hour, two days. If an hour, I am ready now."

Have followed Seth pretty regularly for about 10 years now...since the late 1990's, going back to his Yoyodyne days and the publishing of his book, Permission Marketing. His concepts definitely resonated with me then as I was working in Member Acquisition Marketing with a pre-IPO dotcom in the San Francisco area at the time. And the amazing thing is that while he continues to publish new books they - with a few exceptions - still keep delivering against expectations, at least for me anyway.

Tonight I am re-posting two of my favourite Seth’s Blog posts here. If you enjoy them and it turns out you have been living under a rock, ie. you are not already reading Seth's musings frequently, then do yourself a favour ASAP by going here now and then returning often, OK?

(And sorry Seth, but for some reason Blogger does not support TrackBack URLs linking to your blog so I am using the Permalink version here instead)

Personal branding in the age of Google

A friend advertised on Craigslist for a housekeeper.

Three interesting resumes came to the top. She googled each person's name.

The first search turned up a MySpace page. There was a picture of the applicant, drinking beer from a funnel. Under hobbies, the first entry was, "binge drinking."

The second search turned up a personal blog (a good one, actually). The most recent entry said something like, "I am applying for some menial jobs that are below me, and I'm annoyed by it. I'll certainly quit the minute I sell a few paintings."

And the third? There were only six matches, and the sixth was from the local police department, indicating that the applicant had been arrested for shoplifting two years earlier.

Three for three.

Google never forgets.

Of course, you don't have to be a drunk, a thief or a bitter failure for this to backfire. Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you're on Candid Camera, because you are.

The panhandler's secret

When there were old-school parking meters in New York, quarters were precious.

One day, I'm walking down the street and a guy comes up to me and says, "Do you have a dollar for four quarters?" He held out his hand with four quarters in it.

Curious, I engaged with him. I took out a dollar bill and took the four quarters.

Then he turned to me and said, "can you spare a quarter?"

What a fascinating interaction.

First, he engaged me. A fair trade, one that perhaps even benefited me, not him.

Now, we have a relationship. Now, he knows I have a quarter (in my hand, even). So his next request is much more difficult to turn down. If he had just walked up to me and said, "can you spare a quarter," he would have been invisible.

Too often, we close the sale before we even open it.

Interact first, sell second.