Posts Tagged Seth Godin

Competition and the Consumer’s Mind


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Formulas, Goals, and the Battlefield

I usually agree with Seth Godin on most things, but this one is a bit too far out for me.  I’ve included the entire post on his blog below, it short, and also a link to his blog if you want to read any of the comments there.  So take a quick read and I’ll continue below:

Compared to magical

The easiest way to sell yourself short is to compare your work to the competition. To say that you are 5% cheaper or have one or two features that stand out–this is a formula for slightly better mediocrity.

The goal ought to be to compare yourself not to the best your peers or the competition has managed to get through a committee or down on paper, but to an unattainable, magical unicorn.

Compared to that, how are you doing?

– Seth Godin

Formula: Short Sale

I do agree with Godin that many companies sell themselves short.  Always trying to lower the bar in the hope of gaining a few customers.    Where I disagree with Godin on this is that it’s not because of the comparison to competitors, but rather a poor strategy for taking consumers away from those competitors based on the tactics that are short sighted.

Goal: Long Term Relationship

The tactics you use should be based on the principle that your company is seen as the better choice.  There are many areas a consumer could focus to answer this question.  It is your job to make the answer self-evident when it come to comparing your company to your competitors.

The Battlefield

We fight on the battlefield of the consumer’s mind.  It’s one of the smallest battlefield you will ever find yourself on, about 6 inches.   You should create campaigns that, hopefully, take up territory.  And if you do it well, you should hold more ground then your competitors.  The strategy is different for each company.  It is based on the position of your product in the market place and how our competitors currently stand.  We recommend following the “Marketing Warfare” strategies laid out by Ries and Trout.  So make sure your strategy fits your goals.

Because the last time I checked … your consumers aren’t looking to buy Magical Unicorns … and I’m fairly certain you haven’t hired anyone with unicorn making skills recently.

Good Hunting and would love to read your comments on this topic.

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Failure is not a Title


Not to long ago, I got into a pointless debate with my brother (you know the kind, where one brother takes one side and the other takes another and you’ll be damned if you let him win an argument) about the topic of people’s desire to change their lives.  We began talking about how “some people just don’t want to succeed” because they don’t try hard enough.

My point was that fear of failure is a strong driving force to those that want to change but don’t want to risk failure.  Even the thought of failure can drive someone to avoid a positive experience by suddenly finding hours of busy work. People wants to have a better life but the fear of failing at something drives them in a direction that produces exactly the opposite.  Then I found this post from Seth Godin and it rang true with me, they take the failure personal.

How else are you supposed to take it?

“Don’t take it personally.”

Image representing Seth Godin as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

This is tough advice. Am I supposed to take it like a chair? Sometimes it seems as though the only way to take it is personally. That customer who doesn’t like your product (your best work) or that running buddy who doesn’t want to run with you any longer…

Here’s the thing: it’s never personal. It’s never about you. How could it be? That person doesn’t truly know you, understand what you want or hear the voices in your head. All they know is themselves.

When someone moves on, when she walks away or even badmouths you or your work, it’s not personal about you. It’s personal about her. Her agenda, her decisions, her story.

Do your work, the best way you know how. Is there any other option?

via Seth’s Blog: How else are you supposed to take it?.

Learn not Burn

I would advise people to learn from the experience and not get hot over it.  I caught myself the other day taking this advice.  I had someone standing before me very mad (and yes your natural assumption is to assume ‘what did I do to deserve this?’) but I stepped backed and asked myself some questions in the heat of the moment while trying to listen to the person vent:

  • What is exactly going on here?
  • How did we get to this boiling point?
  • Did I really do something to bring this on?
  • How can I learn from this?
  • What can I do to make this a teachable moment and return the person to the topic of accepting my offer.

We do take things personal.  There is no doubt about it.  If we can learn that we are in a long process and not a one time event, we have the ability to step back and learn from each event.

This is why you’ll hear me say, “Failure is an Event, not a Title”.

Good Hunting

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Make Some Magic


How many times do you find yourself in a slump.  We  need to shake off the old and create a new way of generating new ideas.  We need to make some magic, create some sparks, razzle and dazzle, have some fun!  When I read this post from Seth Godin it got me to thinking:

An end of magic

Arthur C. Clarke told us, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Head back to the 1800s with a Taser or a Prius or an iPad and the townsfolk will no doubt either burn you at the stake or worship you.

So many doors have been opened by technology in the last twenty years that the word “sufficiently” is being stretched. If it happens on a screen (Google automatically guessing what I want next, a social network knowing who my friends are before I tell them) we just assume it’s technology at work. Hard to even imagine magic here.

via Seth’s Blog: An end of magic.

How to Make the Magic

This is a fun exercise to take your team or department through.  You can read about the process in one my previous posts “Exceptionalism: Focus on the Never“.  But basically, take several idea lists you’ve created and follow the “Innovation Bonus Exercise” in the above post.  Then take some of those ideas and create you own little science fiction episode of “Stargete”, “Sanctuary”, or “Startrek” in which your team runs accross a civilazation with advanced technology like some of the crazy  items on your list and they now have to revewrse engenere it to gain the benefits of the new found technology.

You might be surprised how many of the way-out-there crazy ideas turn into actionable realistic projects for your team to investigate further.

It’s a fun off-site day, especially if you have a bunch of techie scifi geeks on your team!

Good Hunting!

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Customer Experience Investment Opportunities (Revisited)


[Note: this is an older post but the “Ill Advised Investments” example came up in a recent meeting and brought a smile back to my face so I’m recycling the post.  I’ve also added another great quote from Godin as well]

I love the way Seth Godin’s mind works. In a resent post, “How much extra for nice?” brings up the critical point of how much we are willing to pay for better service but reminds companies that creating this environment costs a fraction of what people are willing to pay. The benefits can last longer.

I also read another great thought from Seth Godin as well:

No matter what your job is, no matter where you work, there’s a way to create a project (on your own, on weekends if necessary), where the excitement is palpable, where something that might make a difference is right around the corner.

Hurry, go do that.

Godin in “What are you working on?

Beneficial Investments

In a recent post, I identified three example of customer service excellence. How much money was budgeted to create this customer service environment? These types of examples have a lasting benefit that far outweighs the cost of implementing them. If companies can recognize this before dismissing these opportunities, the rewards have an exponential effect.

Some examples:

  • Hiring the right people
  • Having the right people perform jobs they love to do best.
  • Continuous improvement of the customer experience at all levels of the company
  • Reward excellence and avoid promoting people out of their natural strengths.

Ill Advised Investments

Although I agree with Seth’s premise, as consumers, here are some examples in which we should avoid paying extra to have someone be nice to us!

  • $100 to the Police Officer at a traffic stop – will only produce untold number of stories for your grandchildren around the campfire, sometime in the distant future.
  • $100 to $10,000 to the triage attendant at the local Emergency Room – will get you absolutely nothing at all except a lighter wallet.
  • $100 turned in with your exam – results may vary, but don’t expect them to be positive.

So do you have any beneficial or ill advised investments to share?

Good Hunting!

See also:

Great Customer Service and Peer Recognition

Customer Service Excellence Examples

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Anonymity Masks Pain


Seth Godin, a favorite author of mine, in his recent post “Proximity to pain” gives us some real world examples of how companies can charge higher (premium) prices when clients are in crisis (pain), but begins to compare apples with oranges, when he uses Yellow Pages and Google in the same light.

Execution over Pain

Yellow Page advertising and Google are successful because they have a business model that works given the current environment they are in.  They do not charge more, as with Seth Godin’s other examples, when you are in crisis mode and using their services.   Yes, they are positioned well for consumers to use, but no, the can’t capitalize on the great positioning in times of crisis.

Anonymous web sites level the playing field

Search engines or e-Yellow Pages have no way of knowing why you are using them.  And even if they did, can you image the up-roar if they charged 300% for ads that had the words “emergency towing service” in it because they assumed you were in crisis or ‘felt your pain’?

Better Web Examples

I would drop Google and YP and focus on web services that charge a premium for their services because they are associated with someone in crisis and they are respected enough (branded) that someone off the street would not perceive another viable choice given the need for expediency.  If you can create a web property that meets this requirement, you should have no problem charging a premium.  Here are some of my thoughts of companies that might make it to this level:

  • Crisis PR Firm
  • Disaster Recovery Firm
  • Immigration Legal Firm
  • Specialized Health Group (Rare or Time Sensitive practices)
  • Green PR Firm – just wait if the Cap and Trade stuff hits us.

If your web property can position itself close to the pain of your clients, you can charge a premium.  I agree with Seth Godin on that, I just don’t see YP and Google in the same light as an emergency road side towing service.

Good Hunting.

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