This Is Marketing by Seth Godin (Book Review)

I don’t have a business degree and have never taken a marketing course in college. Everything I learn has been through podcasts, books, articles, blog posts, and a few videos on Lynda or Linked In Learning, as it’s now called.

Seth Godin’s books have been invaluable to me over the past eight years since I discovered him online. His insight, encouragement, and knack for getting to the core of each idea he talks or writes about has been invaluable in my actual everyday life, before I started a business.

When I was a stay-at-home homeschooling mother I read Seth’s books and blog. His message about “work that matters” has always inspired me. I’m an INFJ, so doing work that matters is pretty much as important as breathing. On page 14 of his latest book, This is Marketing, Seth Godin writes:

“Marketing is the act of making change happen”.

And he shows us how we can use the principles of marketing to share our meaningful work with the world and bring about change. All through this book, and, indeed, all of Seth’s work, you will hear him talk about doing “work that matters for people who care” and that we, as marketers, are meant to serve people and add value.

This is not the way marketing was seen in the past. It is no longer considered a good marketing practice to selfishly demand that people (who don’t know us) give us their time and attention as we try to sell them something. Instead, we are to start by showing up consistently, bringing our best to people, and serving them.

Then, if we earn their trust and we become part of a “tribe” or community of people who share interests, we can offer what we have. And they might actually choose to listen to our message and, possibly, to buy from us. One very important point Seth makes in Chapter 20 “Organizing and Leading a Tribe” is this:The tribe doesn’t belong to you, so you don’t get to tell the members what to do or to use them for your own aims.” (p. 230)

I hear a lot about “building your tribe” and “growing your followers on social” from successful influencers, but Seth is right: if you are lucky enough to have a group of people who want to listen to you, that’s great! But you don’t own that community–you are there to serve them, not use them.

I’m jumping around a bit, but Chapter 9, “People Like Us Do Things Like This” is about people’s desire to fit in and their perception of status. Seth explains why it is so difficult to bring about change. I found this chapter super helpful to understand why marketing can be so difficult.

Chapter 10 is about the creation of tension, as a marketer, in order to bring about forward motion, and, thus, the change we want to make. He explains “pattern match” and “pattern interrupt”. This was helpful in understanding what to do about the resistance people have to change.

Other valuable and practical insights can be found in his chapters “A Better Business Plan”, “The Funnel”, and “Status, Dominance, and Affiliation”.

I always appreciate the generosity with which Seth shares his wisdom and the clear way he explains marketing principles so that anyone can comprehend them. Throughout the book, just like in everything else he shares with the world, Seth’s message is about being generous and doing your best work. Not perfect work, just your best. And then ship it. And then tomorrow you can make it better.

If you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner, or involved with marketing in any organization, including non-profits, you need to read this book. Buy it here or at your favorite bookstore or borrow it from your local library, but definitely put it on your TBR list! Oh and one final book nerd note: at 5.3 inches by 7.3 inches, the size of this book feels just right to hold in my hands.

There are Amazon affiliate links in this post. This means if you choose to make a purchase through a link, the cost to you is nothing extra, but I will receive a small compensation. This helps me pay for the costs associated with running this blog, as I am determined to keep my blog ad-free (you’re welcome!).

Weekly Inspiration (Links I Love)

This is where I will share my sources of inspiration from the past week: it could be from books, podcasts, blogs, films, artwork, food/recipes, etc. I hope you find some encouragement here as well!

Podcasts

The Brendon Show

The best quotes I heard all week and possibly all month so far are from Brendon Burchard’s podcast The Brendon Show. This is what he said in the episode entitled Best Of: How to Deal With Self-Doubt.

“We don’t think of doubt as a choice, as a decision”. (Brendon Burchard)

We think doubt just happens to us, Brendon says, “(but) You’re choosing it. Be aware: the next time you’re choosing doubt, say, ‘Oh, wait, I’m choosing doubt. Why am I choosing doubt right now? How is that going to serve me?’”

I honestly never looked at self-doubt as a choice before—I just assumed it was part of life. Thank you, Brendon for enlightening us!!!

If you struggle with self-doubt as an entrepreneur, creative, or just in everyday life, you definitely should listen to this episode and put these truths into action!

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/brendon-burchard/the-charged-life-with-brendon-burchard/e/60370867

Getting Bookish with Shawna and Lizz

I listened to a new podcast called Getting Bookish with Shawna and Lizz. In this episode they interviewed Tiffany who started a fire when she was interviewed on What Should I Read Next a few months ago and talked about her Literary Society. Of course hundreds of book lovers wanted to know what on earth was a Literary Society and how could they start their own.

In this episode, Tiffany shares all about Literary Society. I should mention that her interview with Anne Bogel prompted me to start the FLX Literary Society and our first meeting is on May 23rd! You can find out more on our Facebook page or email me at FLXLiterarySociety@gmail.com

Books

If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, or in charge of an organization, and you have never heard of Seth Godin, stop whatever you’re doing and go to his website. Subscribe to his podcast Akimbo and to his daily blog. Buy his books. Sign up for his courses. Seth is a genius in the entrepreneurial, marketing space. He will challenge you, open you to new ideas, push you to do good work and ship it. And then to do it better.

I just finished reading Seth’s latest book This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See. There is so much practical and inspirational food for thought and action to be found within these pages. I’m going to write a more in-depth review soon, but I had to mention in now.

Chapter 9-11 were quotable throughout and worth the price of the book alone. Some of what you’ll find in chapter 9: “Everyone always acts in accordance with their internal narratives. You can’t get someone to do something that they don’t want to do, and most of the time, what people want to do is take action (or not take action) that reinforces their internal narratives.

Marketers bring change and a lot of folks are resistant to change, Seth shares, and there are two ways behavior can be changed: our desire to fit in and our perception of our status.

I wish I had understood this twenty years ago! Anyway, I’m not going to tell you anymore before my review–go get yourself a copy and start learning how to market better.

I’m loving the quiet simplicity of Wendell Berry’s poetry collection Given. I shared one of these poems for Evening Poetry a few days ago and there are more to come.

If you’ve never picked up and read a Wendell Berry book, then crawl out from under your rock and get reading!

I am currently reading The Art of Loading Brush and even the introduction moved me. Another one of his I recommend is Our Only World. He is a plain-spoken, intelligent, reasoning writer with love for people and the planet. Everyone needs to hear what he has to say.

Instagram

One of my favorite accounts for poetry, book quotes, and photos from the UK is Sarah Clarkson’s Instagram. She is an author, book lover, and was homeschooled, so she is definitely a kindred spirit. I was inspired to start Evening Poetry because of her. During Lent, she would do a Live video each evening and read poetry. Her latest book is Book Girl, which is, well, about books and reading.

Another favorite is Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain Instagram. She has a Live video each week where she makes a recipe from one of her cookbooks. I am purchasing her latest cookbook, Eat What You Love, after checking it out of the library. I made a few recipes and there are dozens I want to try. For gluten-free, dairy-free folks, cookbooks like this are valuable and a real boost for when you’re feeling a bit glum about the work and monetary investment of this lifestyle. After a quick glance through the cookbook, I was inspired to keep it up!

OK, lovely readers, that’s some inspiration for your weekend. I’d love to hear what’s been inspiring you lately.