Seth Godin, on marketing, audience and getting noticed

Seth Godin, whose work inspires the heck out of me, had a recent blog post about audience.

He poses a list of questions for marketers, about how to make focused change by first determining who exactly you are trying to reach.

If you can’t answer this specifically, do not proceed to the rest. By who, I mean, “give me a name.” Or, if you can’t give me a name, then a persona, a tribe, a spot in the hierarchy, a set of people who share particular worldviews.

It reminds me of conversations we’ve been having in my newsroom with reporters: Who’s your audience? Where are they already talking? How can you reach them? What do you hope your story will accomplish? What can the audience do with your story, or in response to it? (Here’s a post I wrote recently about those questions.)

Seth has defined marketing as “the art of telling a story that resonates with your audience and then spreads,” and after listening to a recent interview he did with the show “On Being,” my view of marketing has expanded substantially. (On that show, he talked about it as trying to get noticed.)

Don’t journalists want their work to get noticed? Don’t most of us believe the work we do matters, in ways big and small?

After his list of questions to ask about who your product/message is intended for, Seth closes with this:

Now that you know these things, go make a product and a service and a story that works. No fair changing the answers to the questions to match the thing you’ve already made (you can change the desired audience, but you can’t change the truth of what they want and believe).

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