“Reach your existing customer base. Not with repetitive noise, but with genuine, personal, useful messages that they want to receive.”
SETH GODIN is the author of 17 books about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing and leadership. His blog, simply titled Seth’s Blog, is one of the most popular in the world.
In 2013, Godin was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame, one of three chosen for this honor. His latest book, The Icarus Deception, argues that we’ve been brainwashed by industrial propaganda, and pushes us to stand out, not to fit in.
Recently, Seth answered a series of questions for Local Splash about small business marketing.
Local Splash: With so many channels competing for a customer’s attention, how can small business owners reach their target audience?
Seth Godin: Maybe you shouldn’t. Perhaps, instead you could consider two alternatives:
- Reach your existing customer base. Not with repetitive noise, but with genuine, personal, useful messages that they want to receive.
- Make a product that your target market cares about and talks about, so you don’t have to reach them, they reach each other.
LS: If you were starting a new business tomorrow what one thing would you do to help in your success?
SG: I’d invest heavily in creating a remarkable product or service. I’d focus on doing the difficult part (invention and storytelling) and let someone else do the ‘easy’ part of operations.
LS: In your book Poke the Box, you talk about being remarkable. How do you define “remarkable?”
SG: “Worth making a remark about.” It’s not up to you, it’s up to the audience.
LS: You are an influence to so many people, who has influenced you?
SG: Everyone from Madame CJ Walker to Gandhi and King. I care a lot about people who have led when it wasn’t convenient. I’ve read tens of thousands of books, and keep coming back to pioneers like Zig Ziglar and Frank Herbert, Brene Brown and Isaac Asimov, Cory Doctorow and Eric Hoffer.
LS: Any final advice to the small business owner?
SG: It’s one thing to define yourself as the owner of a small business, but then embrace the ‘small’ part and stop trying to pretend that you’re a junior version of Kodak or Walmart. Small is the new big, if you act that way.
Or, define yourself as the owner of a business about to get big. And then figure out what the really hard work that will lead to scale might be. Do that. If it’s easy, you probably shouldn’t be working on it.