This is marketing
We are used to connecting marketing with ads straight away. Although it has been a long since ads are no longer a synonym for marketing; consequently, they also do not mean successful profit. How do we hack marketing if ads are not necessarily the way to go? The answer is simple: Empathy to see a real need and what matters for the customer. I believe this is the central message of “This Is Marketing”’s book. Please, do not get me wrong here. It is not as simple as said. It takes a lot of creativity and empathy. It is needed to leave our own experiences and expectations behind to be able to feel what the customer feels while struggling with the problem you want to solve. Sometimes even worse, creativity and empathy to even see the problem exists. Before reading this book, my understanding of a successful business was around the thought of the more, the merrier. If your solution solves the problem for one million people, you are one million times rich. This means that if you can cover the necessity of everyone, you will rock it. The marketing lessons right at the beginning of this reading journey, the marketing lessons break this assumption. Marketing is about narrowing the target customer and getting customized enough solution that works for this group. The turnover is the sense of belonging.
To sell a story where the customer feels to belong to something is more successful than selling a vast availability of solutions. In the book This Is Marketing, Seth Godin shows it with the example of a tent selling eyeglasses in a village. They brought low-cost products to a target public who needed this solution. Many colors, a fast exam to find the ideal lens, everything an older person would need to solve their eyesight issue. Still, only one-third of the clients reached out effectively to purchase the eyeglasses. They had the money, they had the product, they had availability, and they had the solution to their daily problem. So why are two-thirds still not buying? After spending some time reflecting on the situation, Godin realized the consumers did not have a sense of belonging. Beyond the tent going away in the next hour, nothing was unique about the 100 different color and size options on the table. It did not feel special anyhow for the old-aged people they were targeting. The tent sellers decided then to change the approach. No options are available anymore to choose from on the table. The customer comes, takes the exam, tests, and if the lens works for you, these are your glasses. The one you try, it is already your pair. From this point, it was not about choosing which pair of glasses fits the best to the budget or statically. It turned out to be about leaving “your” pair in the tent or taking “your” pair home. Successfully, they doubled the selling percentage. The narrative goes around about the project being made for you, not for any other client but you.
Targeting the group is one base step to success. Trying to be suitable for everyone is a failure mindset. Trying to communicate with everyone is nearly impossible. So why would one try to sell it to everyone? One more good example narrated in the book is about a great comedian giving his best in a standup comedy show in New York, and the audience was bored, not laughing at all. During the break of his presentation, the comedian got to know that the audience was a huge Italian tourist group who did not understand English. This is an example of learning who your client is. What they like, what they need, what they understand.
When stopping to sell a “what” and starting to sell a “why,” the business grows. Business growing means more money and opportunities. From this point, we can begin as entrepreneurs and marketing hackers to be open-minded about reaching a wider number of customers. Working on this network is another possibility of writing an essay and getting deeper on this theme, but I can give a spoiler. The fears of missing out. If so many people enjoy this product or service, why wouldn’t I? Again, marketing is working with people’s feelings and interpretations.
I like how much my assumptions are broken from time to time. Even if it is some valuable tool, concept, or business idea, I can find joy in learning the new. Every time I get challenged and conflicted, I end up learning. This Is Marketing book positively broke many assumptions I had, and I hope to use it in practice in my projects and personal marketing. Try to remember that if there is a place for a problem, there is a place for marketing. It helps to open up for creativity and find new solutions or ways of doing things. If you made it until here, you are all settled to give your first steps on hacking marketing. Good luck!
Godin, S. 2018.This Is Marketing. 1th edition. New York: Portfolio