Seth Godin – we need to create better art and aggregate the weird – ICON14
- Tishin Donkersley
- On April 24, 2014
If you’ve ever listened to Seth Godin’s lectures or read his work you know that this speech at Infusionsoft’s ICON14 was going to be eclectic, fast pace and filled with weird – and that’s what makes him Seth.
Godin is the founder of squidoo.com and the author of 17 books, including the bestseller Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip and Purple Cow.
As one in the tech industry, the thought of weird isn’t so foreign, in fact by being weird, and then executing on outlandish ideas, is why we have Infusionsoft, Twitter, Oculus Rift, Tinder and Farmville. For the traditionally groomed audience, Godin’s “the weird is the new cool” concept is one mindset they needed to begin to embrace.
Godin talked about how so many business owners were bred into an industrialization type of thinking-you do what your boss says, think a certain way, play by the old rules, and all will be ok. Not so much in the 21st century. With off-setting and humorous pictures to illustrate his points, Godin walked us down the path of weird and how catering to a different crowd, and their interests, can make you more successful in business.
“I want you to see the stuff that is around you a little differently,” he began.
It’s time to play a different game in business and break out of the traditional business mold that we’ve been accustomed to and take on a new mindset, Godin said.
To the ICON crowd of marketers and entrepreneurs he asked, “Are you going to be an entrepreneur and create something bigger than yourself or keep doing things the same way?”
Godin explained that it’s harder for marketers to break through the noise barrier to gain people’s attention; sure you can advertise, yell, scream or hire expensive agencies, but “you can’t buy attention cheaply anymore and it’s harder to get their attention the way you used to… so there has to be another way,” he said.
Today’s marketing plans also have this curse and businesses, large to a one-man show, are still being led by the not so magic spell…“We have branded ourselves to death,” he said.
By example, just look at any grocery isle, it’s a mess, and companies are spending millions of dollars on a box, logo or new wrapping and then spending more money on ads to grab your attention to buy their product-but is it working?
With this much noise in the marketplace, what can you do to maintain your current customer’s attention and gain more? Godin offered the idea of catering to your customer differently by shifting your message to focus on the weird – meaning, talking about things that your customers like, are interested in and solves their problems.
“You need to treat different people differently. The only people who will choose to listen to you are the people who will in fact CHOOSE to listen to you…they are looking for people to solve their problems, offer relevant information and provide complete information to the solution,” he stated.
The customer itself is changing, and they are tired of the average product and being talked or advertised to in an average “normal” way-they are seeking that “difference” in the marketplace. Godin explained that in this economy, this world as it stands, it’s turning into the “connection economy,” and is being built on several pillars:
*Coordination – the ability to coordinate the work of people
*Trust – you need to trust people and talk about your business
*Permission – you have the privilege to market to people who want to be marketed to
*Exchange of ideas – share your ideas with people without the fear of someone stealing it – and no, don’t shove an NDA in their face, there’s a million of ideas out there
*Generosity – no one wants to connect with someone who is always taking
*Art – is what we call it when we are choosing to do work that matters
Customers are looking to connect with a community of value. So for companies, Godin said, it’s ok to “be different [and say] no, we don’t do that here.”
Godin also challenged us to take risks, even if it’s without a playbook to guide us. He expressed that you need to begin to appeal to the groups of the weird and build a community around their interests; with these actions he said that what you are really doing is organizing a tribe, a culture, and finding a way to lead this group of customers in a different way.
So being weird, and different, isn’t so weird after all. For companies, it’s about digging deeper and looking at the customer as an individual and asking about their interests, what problems you can solve and how can your business cater to that weird in order to do something that matters? With this mindset, you and your company can create more art.
For entrepreneurs who have pondered taking that risk, leaping off the cliff to a new venture or stretching your arms a little farther, Godin said to ignore that little voice in your head that says “don’t do it.”
“That voice is wrong and it’s only wrong if you let it be wrong,” Godin said. “You have an opportunity to leap – and leaping with danger is the only kind of leaping that matters.”
If you’ve said to yourself, “I’m not ready,” Godin rebuts with, “You might not feel ready or think your product is ready, but it’s that leap that makes us want to show up. There’s a big difference between being ready and being prepared, and you will never be ready, but don’t let you hold you back.”