Tag Archives: Seth Godin’s definition of marketing

The Circles of Marketing and Making 1+1 = 3

product is the center of marketing - seth godin

Seth Godin’s Circles of Marketing

I am behind with my weekly blog post this summer but wanted to share some amazing thoughts on product marketing and telling your story.

Seth Godin recently put together a post that should be required reading for marketers. In the post, the circles of marketing, Seth writes,

And the innermost circle is the product or service itself. When the thing you sell has communication built in, when it is remarkable and worth talking about, when it changes the game–marketing seems a lot easier. Of course, that’s because you did the marketing when you invented the thing, saving you the expense and trouble of yelling about it.

Not a bad way to easily explain the definition of marketing and why product is so important.

So, after reading Seth’s article, I planned on talking about the power of baking story into your product. Instead, I recommend you watch this short video interview of Ken Burns, the famed documentary maker. The interview is on the craft of story and cinema but has some powerful insights for marketers. Quoting Ken on the subject of using stories to influence and drive change,

The common story is 1+1 =2. But all real genuine stories are about 1+1=3….Truth is we hope is a by-product of the best of our stories. And yet there are many different kinds of truth. And an emotional truth is something you have to build.

Here’s the video and the link to the full article on his 1+1=3 story telling approach:

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We Need A Definition of Marketing

Why do we need a definition of marketing?

  • We have an education problem. There seems to be a never-ending confusion on the difference between advertising and marketing. When you have companies like Forrester Research and uber-blogger/ VC, Fred Wilson propagating the wrong definition, you know we have a problem.
Isn’t there already a definition out there?
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. (Approved October 2007)
  • This isn’t necessarily incorrect but I would say that it is a definition by marketers for marketers. If you want to explain marketing to someone that doesn’t understand it, this is not going to help. The mainstream definition needs to be simple, to the point, and short.
So, what definition do you suggest?
Marketing is the name we use to describe the promises a company makes, the story it tells, the authentic way it delivers on that promise.
  • And then let’s follow it up with Seth’s explanation on the difference between advertising and marketing (from Mitch Joel’s most excellent podcast) just to make sure it hammers the point home:
Advertising is a price you pay for an undifferentiated product for the masses. Marketing is the way you avoid paying that price. You avoid paying that price by designing a product worth talking about.
That works for me, so now what?
  • My idea is that one of the ways we can get others to start understanding that there is more to marketing than advertising (or social media, or content marketing, etc) is by making sure that this definition turns up first when someone searches for the term. This makes sure that when someone is trying to get educated on the topic, they start off on the right foot.
  • So here’s the ask,
Please go to The Definition of Marketing and share the page, link to it, blog about it and anything else you can do to make sure that it gets lots of Google attention.
  • It may be a small act, but as Howard Zinn said, “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”
Why did you pick this definition?
  • It was the shortest and simplest that I could find from one of today’s leading authorities when it comes to marketing. Have a better one? Would love to hear your suggestion.
Image credit:  Jose Téllez
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