10 Best Quotes from Seth Godin on PR and Marketing

By on April 10, 2014

Seth Godin, simply put, is America’s marketing sweetheart. This shouldn’t be surprising given the fact that he popularized the idea of permission marketing and is an impassioned preacher of keeping the love alive between brands and their customers.

If you’re a fan, you’ll know that what makes him particularly inspiring, besides his thought-provoking insights and his ability to overcome failure after failure in business, is the high value he places on relationships.

Unlike most traditional marketers, he focuses on people first and in building that special relationship with them rather than just getting the numbers.

His blog, Seth’s Blog, is a huge success and, thus far, he has also written fifteen books. Among them are Tribes, Linchpin, Free Prize Inside, Purple Cow, and The Dip. All bestsellers.

These should tell you why I’m also a big Seth Godin fan.

But what really stands out for me, when it comes to his marketing and public relations philosophies, is his deep understanding of the impact of social media on market behavior. That, and his keen appreciation of the exciting yet challenging environment that technology is creating in and around that market every day.

Plus, there are his quotes — catchy, insightful, and always a breeze to share.

Here are ten of my favorites and my own thoughts on them.

#1: “Marketing is a contest for people’s attention.”

#1 Top Best Quotes from Seth Godin on PR and Marketing

Marketing continues to be not about you, your product, and all the other awesome things that you are and have.

It’s still about them.

As a matter of fact, with technology increasingly getting in the hands of more and more consumers, it’s correspondingly becoming increasingly about them.

A good marketer knows this and adjusts to the ever-changing terrain without losing sight of what needs to be done to get people’s attention.

#2: “You can spend your time on stage pleasing the heckler in the back, or you can devote it to the audience that came to hear you perform.”

There is just no pleasing some people. When you put yourself out there, there will always be this small bunch of noisy people who would like nothing better than to use your venue to showcase their dislike of anything and everything you do….

…and for reasons that will not even remotely resemble constructive criticism. Ignore them.

Focus your valuable time and energy instead on the people who love what you do, are there to support you and want what you have to offer.

#3: “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”

#3 Top Best Quotes from Seth Godin on PR and Marketing

One of the things that Seth Godin advises is: if you have to copy, don’t copy from a competitor; copy from someone from a different industry instead. This will help you stand out in your industry

#4: “The problem with working with a coach isn’t that we don’t know what to do. The real problem is that we don’t want to change our mind.”

The above quote is not exactly a marketing or PR quote but I think it’s quite relevant in the practice of both.

The thing about getting things done is that there is just no shortcut to it. There is no grey area. You either do it or you don’t. So, for some people, the obvious choice is to just make up their minds and be doers. That’s great. After all, doing something is better than not doing anything.

But, what do you do when what you have decided on just doesn’t work as well as it should for you?

The answer is simple: change your mind.

Don’t let the thought of being wrong again scare you. Do your due diligence and change course. The more you know where you can be wrong only brings you closer to where you can be right.

#5: “The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate.”

It’s usually more efficient to go for what is the easiest to do…

…that is, if your goal is to just get the small stuff addressed without any bigger goals in mind. But if you want to be involved in things bigger than yourself, then initiating — starting things — is the way to go.

#6: “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”

This is something I don’t agree with completely. I can give you a long list of things I still keep buying and it’s not because of relations, stories or magic.

However, these are also the very same things that I would happily replace with something else the moment someone else strikes up a relationship with me and sells me on some stories and magic. I doubt marketers would want any of their products or services on that kind of list.

#7: “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make but about the stories you tell.”

Let’s face it, the more we are bombarded with products to choose from, the more fickle we become about the choices we make every time we buy.

But for products that tell us stories and provide us with reasons to keep coming back for more, the purchase of that product becomes a user experience worth going through over and over again. This is what marketing is now all about — the meshing of the brand’s story with that of the customer’s in order to come up with a pleasant, meandering tale or an epic saga.

#8: “It’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back.”

What goes around, comes around. Love begets Love.

Well, there’s all that…

and the fact that your competitors, if they’re smart, are mostly just waiting for you to take things a little bit too far with your customers and…BAM! Guess whose customers they will be after that?

If you don’t love your customers enough to try and keep them, a competitor will be more than happy to do that for you.

#9: “Marketing that works is marketing that people choose to notice.”

#9 Best Quotes from Seth Godin on PR and Marketing

To put it simply, if people aren’t paying any attention to you, you’re not marketing anything. Not a single thing. And, if you get on that tricky slope where people start tuning your message out, it can really go all downhill from there.

#10: “Finding new ways, more clever ways to interrupt people doesn’t work.”

Work with your market, not against them. Interruption marketing still works but, in the long run, the odds are in favor of you losing your market when you try to find ways to “trap” them instead of engaging them.

It makes good business sense to market the way your customers wants to be marketed to.

Those are our top 10 quotes from Seth Godin and it would be great to hear what yours are!

Do you agree with Seth Godin’s marketing and PR ideas?

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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