ICON14: Seth Godin’s Invisible or Remarkable: Marketing that Matters

(Notes from presentation by Seth Godin)

Seth Godin

Instead of looking at the world and saying ‘What can I make that I’m good at?’, look at the world and say ‘What is needed?‘ Entrepreneurs leverage other people’s work; Freelancers have to leverage their own work. Which path do you want to take?

Mass marketing doesn’t work anymore. This is the curse of old time marketing. Making average things for average people doesn’t work anymore. There are too many sources to cover. Everyone has the same access as you do. You can’t flood the whole market with ads. Microsoft can buy a billion in ads and make less than a billion in total revenue. There is more music than ever, but the music industry is dead.

So what do you do?  Show up Differently. Treat different people differently. This makes you an individual marketer. The old way was to market to the normal people, but the bell curve of normal is now flattening. People who were normal, by something ‘different’ then start listening to people in the same market, and end up on the fringe by being extreme in that particular market. Yet this person was considered ‘normal’. (the chart he used made this point easier to understand)


This is the Connection economy.

1. It is built on Coordination

2. It is built on Trust – You trust people like yourself

3. It is built on Permission – once someone eagerly shares their email with you, it means they would like to hear more from you.

4. It is built on the Exchange of Ideas


It is underpinned by generosity and art. People want to be connected by people who are genuinely sharing and who are doing work that they love, not just to make money.

[Tweet “”The value of any network goes up when the network expands. -Seth Godin””]

Marketing used to be Likes, Buzz, Spin, Hype, and Ads

Now it is about Story, Tribes, Community, and then Price


The value of any network goes up when the network expands.”  Twitter only works if it is being used by everyone.


You can’t charge more if your service is the same as everyone’s, you don’t want to be in a race to the bottom in price, but you also can’t raise your price because information is free.   What do you do? Instead you have to be different. You need to be unique. If you go far enough to be separate from everyone else, it actually works now. It’s actually Required now.


Scarcity goes deep in the feeling of how to run a business, but the market is now built on Abundance. People are part of Tribes. People want to do what other people are doing.   You don’t need to invent the tribe. Just show up to lead them. Once there is a map, there is no generosity or art anymore. People aren’t willing to pay attention anymore if it wasn’t just for them. If it wasn’t for Kryptonite, Superman wouldn’t be interesting. If you want to speak, speak. If you want to write, write. You can give away all of your industry secrets. The guy who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck. You have the opportunity to leap, because only leaping with danger will matter. We only root for people willing to risk themselves. It’s ALWAYS too soon. When the printing press was launched, only 8% of people could read. The car was launched when there was no roadside assistance.  There is a huge difference between being ready and being prepared. You will never be fully prepared. The voice telling you not to do something can be ignored.

[Tweet “The Market is now built on Abundance. – Seth Godin”]

You are here. You have the same tools as everyone else. Important work is shipped before it is ready. There is a shortage of hubris. Resistance is essential now. Listening to everyone else when you were in a clan kept you safe, but in business it makes you just one of the sheep.


People need to do something scary. We are raised to believe if you get off a plane that has been delayed, it’s your fault, but if you stay on the plane and wait until you arrive (eventually), it is the airlines fault.  Now, you have a platform to make something different. You can make art. You can make a difference, not just a living. Fly much closer to the sun, but you don’t need to do it alone. Bring passion to the world, and ask ‘How can I be more generous?’ ‘How can I make art?’

[Tweet “You can make a difference, not just a living. – Seth Godin”]

Entrepreneurs always try to find the cheapest person to do the work, and therefore they think that they themselves should do it. If they do it themselves, is that really the cheapest? Is it free? What did you just give up to do it yourself? If what you do isn’t really accepted and doesn’t make any money, it isn’t because your work isn’t ready. It is not successful because you are not trusted enough yet. If you are trusted, people come to you for help. Remember people buy people they know, like, and trust. They don’t just buy the product. Make it easy to have people share about what you do.


Think of the weirdest person you can think of, and ask them what they need to be successful. If you can help them, then you can scale from there. The only stuff that becomes a best seller is stuff that no one expected. Seth’s slide deck makes no sense by itself. He doesn’t share it because it has to go with the presentation. He tries to find things that have no words but are interesting.

[Tweet “The only stuff that becomes a best seller is stuff that no one expected. – Seth Godin”]

Having a job doesn’t mean you don’t have to care. It doesn’t mean you don’t get the freedom to make a difference. It’s a choice to go to a meeting and either think ‘how will I survive?’ or ‘ how can I finally make a difference that will help?’ Generosity doesn’t mean FREE or lowering your price.  It means giving things to people that solves their problem. A generous person says “Here is something and I hope it will help you.”  Show up ‘fully human’.


These notes are from Seth Godin’s presentation at ICON14.  Nearly all of the content are in his words or paraphrased.  I’ve added only minor bits for clarification or example.  For more notes from ICON14, please check out my InfusionCon Notes category of posts.

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