seth godin

Seth Godin, Entrepreneur, Agent of Change and Author of Meatball Sundae, addressed the attendees at SES Chicago 2007 in this morning’s keynote address. Marketing has irrevocably changed, leaving only the nimble willing to reinvent the marketplace from the ground up, as the new “gate keepers.”

Most old guard companies attempt to pile the new (sundae) on top of the old (meatballs) resulting in smelly combinations that simply don’t work. Seth calls this a “meatball sundae” and refers it a “monstrosity, an unfortunate combination of old and new that leads to pretty much nothing at all.”

“There’s something big happening but it’s gonna be messy” Seth proclaimed. “This revolution that we’re dealing with needs some architects for the change that’s happening. They are here in this room.

“Meatballs are reliable volume products that are marketed to the masses”. The Sundae, whip cream, cherry are the new methods including social media. It’s a smelly disconnect when you put them together.

Seth noted that very few of venerable meatball players became the next gen Sundae sellers. “Something fascinating happens when industries change. What’s happening now is bigger and more important than anything any of us are going to see for a long time.” The folks that are succeeding always seem to be new folks.

Seth’s trends.
Direct communication between marketers and consumers: Consumers are louder than ever before with results in amplified word of mouth and idea viruses.

Authentic stories Work: People don’t have enough time any more to read the fine print. Instead they grab a story. It doesn’t matter if the stories are true. It matters that the stories are consistent and feel good. The goal is to create caricatures of the brand that don’t blend in with every other product.

Speed is essential: The web taught people that you never have to wait for anything.

The long tail is the next trend: Amazon gets half their sales from books that Barnes and Nobel does not even carry. “When the web gives people infinite choice, people take advantage of it.” “If I can sit at my desk and spec out EVERY single attribute of a car, I will.”

If your job can be reduced to a manual, sooner or later your employer can find someone else to do it for less.

The dicing of everything: Google has taken the web and sliced it into molecules, atoms, and little tiny pieces. All of a sudden the notion that a company can control what messages are discoverable is bogus.

Infinite channels of communication: In 1980 there were 3 channels. Now, there are infinite channels.

Consumer to consumer relationships: for the first time ever people can directly interact with each other surrounding brand perception

There’s been a flip in the difference between scarcity and abundance. Things that used to be abundant, like free water, are now expensive.

The triumph of big ideas, which don’t necessarily have to be produced: The story spreads really quickly.

Who verses how many? If you were in the business of harvesting attention when attention was cheap, “how many” mattered a lot. But “how many” isn’t nearly as important today as “who,” and “why,” and “what brought them here.” Focused few are much more important that untargeted masses. The difference between buying a highly focused Google ad verses untargeted mass marketing is obvious.

The rich are different than the rich used to be.

There are “new gatekeepers” and “not gatekeepers”. Who you know matters much less that it used to. Great ideas can go viral on their own from obscurity.

Scarcity and Ubiquity: Information is free. The event of the signed item costs a lot of money.