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This is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn To See

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A game-changing approach to marketing, sales, and advertising.

For the first time Seth Godin offers the core of his marketing wisdom in one compact, accessible, timeless package. This is Marketing shows you how to do work you're proud of, whether you're a tech startup founder, a small business owner, or part of a large corporation.

No matter what your product or service, this book will help you reframe how it's presented to the world, in order to meaningfully connect with people who want it. Seth employs his signature blend of insight, observation, and memorable examples to teach

* How to build trust and permission with your target market.
* The art of positioning--deciding not only who it's for, but who it's not for.
* Why the best way to achieve your goals is to help others become who they want to be.
* Why the old approaches to advertising and branding no longer work.
* The surprising role of tension in any decision to buy (or not).
* How marketing is at its core about the stories we tell ourselves about our social status.

You can do work that matters for people who care. This book shows you the way.

'A very accessible way into Godin's thinking . . . Godin writes in pacy, jargon-free prose and this book is interesting and useful for anyone who wants an insight into how, and why, we buy things or change our habits in any way ' The Financial Times

If you enjoyed reading this, check out Seth Godin's Purple Cow, a true business classic.

271 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 13, 2018

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About the author

Seth Godin

236 books5,844 followers
Seth Godin is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change.

Godin is author of ten books that have been bestsellers around the world, and he is also a renowned speaker. He was recently chosen as one of 21 Speakers for the Next Century by Successful Meetings and is consistently rated among the very best speakers by the audiences he addresses.

Seth was founder and CEO of Yoyodyne, the industry's leading interactive direct marketing company, which Yahoo! acquired in late 1998.

He holds an MBA from Stanford, and was called "the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age" by Business Week.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,196 reviews
Profile Image for Peter.
Author 2 books4 followers
January 18, 2019
I'm sure there were some important tidbits of marketing advice in this book, but it's so full of generalities and aphorisms that you can't find them. Godin writes in pithy, one-sentence paragraphs that rarely have any transition to the next paragraph. He's almost too cute for his own good. It's clear that he knows marketing, but he's too coy to get his point across to the general masses. Give me tangible tips, not proverbs.
Profile Image for BookOfCinz.
1,406 reviews2,375 followers
November 22, 2018
As someone who works in Marketing and Communications, I thoroughly enjoyed reading, learning and getting some reinforcements on things I already knew. I have been a practicing Marketer for the last 8 years and reading this book really helped to simplify and expand on issues I encounter on a daily basis.

This is a book about roots. About anchoring your work deeply in the dreams, desires, and communities of those you seek to serve. It’s about changing people for the better, creating work you can be proud of. And it’s about being a driver of the market, not simply being market-driven.

Having launched BookOfCinz this year, reading this from a Creative perspective really opened my eyes. It is so hard to stay focus in this Marketing world where numbers, likes and mass is the goal. However, this book reinforces the point that mass isn't everything and influence always wins.

If you are in the filed of marketing, I highly recommend reading this.

The relentless pursuit of mass will make you boring, because mass means average, it means the center of the curve, it requires you to offend no one and satisfy everyone. It will lead to compromises and generalizations. Begin instead with the smallest viable market. What’s the minimum number of people you would need to influence to make it worth the effort?
42 reviews
May 24, 2019
Book abandoned on Page 115 of 260

This is marketing? More like this is disappointment.

This was a book I was very excited to begin as I’ve heard Seth Godin is a guru of sorts for marketers. What ensued, however, was the most disjointed and frustrating stream of consciousness waste of time. The Ulysses of marketing perhaps? This book had absolutely no flow or narrative, despite the importance of a narrative being reinforced by the author on multiple occasions. Random subsections followed with no order or coherent manner: ‘what’s a car for?’ Followed by ‘too many choices’ followed by positioning as a service”.

Reading this book is like selected a random playlist of YouTube videos on marketing and playing them with no vetting for quality or topic, played on an endless loop. Even more appropriate, it felt like I was reading a poor script for a 90s infomercial - it’s almost a wonder this book didn’t end every chapter with “and this can all be yours for only 4 easy payments of $19.95”.

I don’t know what I was meant to take away from this book nor what Godin was trying to tell me. Examples were shallow with very little marketing theory applied to them, nor did it provide a substantial exploration of how the mentioned theory related to the case study.
Almost an entire page is devoted to Godin listing off attribute examples for axes on a spectrum. Do I really need a list of seemingly random words? I’m not as thick as this author clearly thinks his readers might be..

If you’re looking for a book on marketing, this is NOT the book to invest in.
Profile Image for Melania 🍒.
540 reviews86 followers
May 7, 2019

I’m aware of the importance of marketing and how much it impacts our everyday lives but I could never bring myself to care about it too much. That’s mostly because of the idea of ‘classic’ marketers that I associate immediately with this profession. They are known for being aggressive and pushing mediocre work at best most of the times.
That’s why what impressed me when reading this book and kept my interest enough to actually finish it were the core values the author is promoting :sincerity, transparency ,respect ,dignity. It seems to me that this approach is a game changer. The moment that the marketer will take a ‘humane’ approach, will actually understand the psychology of its target audience and also will be aware that not everybody is their target, Godin promises that only good things will happen. And I tend to agree
Profile Image for Laura Noggle.
677 reviews388 followers
January 7, 2019
Nice recap and refresher on where you need to be mentally in your marketing approach.

It's hard to write about marketing consistently (as Godin does), especially as it is always changing and slippery enough to define in general terms as is. Initially, I felt that this book was so similar to all of Godin's other books. By the end however, he had me, and I can honestly say I enjoyed this book.

It reminded me of a mini skirt—long enough to cover the subject, and short enough to keep it interesting.

Using examples from Apple to Elon Musk, Godin discuses marketing as an elusive fish, which, when caught correctly, makes all the difference in a brand's success.

I found this book encouraging, and recommend it to anyone running a brand.

"And if you're having trouble making your contribution, realize your challenge is a story you are marketing to yourself.
It is the marketing we do for ourselves, to ourselves, by ourselves, the story we tell ourselves, that can change everything. It's what's going to enable you to create value, to be missed if you were gone."
200 reviews8 followers
May 2, 2019
Wow, I am sorry to say but this is honestly A HORRIBLE book. There is just no other way to describe it. I gave up at the last 20 pages, I just couldn't finish it anymore.

Honestly, I couldn't STAND ANYMORE his gibberish.

Reading this book, You feel like it was written by a politician, because it brings absolutely ZERO VALUE and is just written as a mystery and philosophical novel, I don't know what Seth was thinking while reading this.

I truly feel regret because I wasted my time reading this book, I know a lot of people like Seth, he usually has some interesting takes, but for the love of God GIVE SOME CONCRETE ADVICE!

He just keeps writing in 3rd person and never give a concrete point or strategy how to achieve something. Stop giving me a bedtime story and teach me something.

I assume You can see through this review that I am quite flustered and salty by this book, and I can admit that you are completely right.

Don't spend a minute of your time reading this garbage, if you want to read some of Seth Godin's book, then check out the Linchpin.
Profile Image for Kirill.
Author 1 book10 followers
December 20, 2018
This book summarizes the current state of marketing according to Seth Godin. It references ideas that stood through time, like Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore, as well as a lot of things Seth wrote before. Tribes, Purple Cows. A small summary below (SPOILERS).

Lesson One: Find your smallest viable audience
We live in a world overwhelmed with information. Grabbing attention is hard and it costs money. Seek for the smallest market you can live with. Be specific. Trying to catch the whole market will make your brand and business bleak and appealing to no-one.
It is ok if your product don't fit someone. "It's not for you", you say and go away as long as there is an audience that likes it the way it is.

Lesson Two: The best marketing speaks to the narratives your audience tells themselves about status and affiliation
Speak stories to your audience. People interacting with your business must experience a story that transforms them in some way. It touches either their status or their affiliation to their tribe. It brings emotions and willing to share the story with others.

Lesson Three: Pattern match for early growth
Your smallest viable audience has habits. They have patterns they are used to. You may want to try to interrupt those patterns with better service or product. Instead, look to match those.

Lesson Four: Brand marketing vs Direct marketing
When you put a billboard on a street you do brand marketing. Running a Google Ads campaign is direct marketing.
Brand marketing changes culture. It can't be measured. It is expensive, strategic and long running. It makes your brand a part of a culture.
Direct marketing interacts with people. It can and must be measured. It converts money to attention. Some of the attention goes to action, which, in turn, can convert to new client.
Direct marketing is the way for early growth, but it is hard to make it cost efficient. If you do not target your audience, do not tell a story of status and affiliation and do not match patterns your funnel will be too costly to make sense.

Lesson Five: Price is personal
Price is the only way to compete without good marketing strategy. And this is the worst way to compete. People will to pay different prices depending on what they seek. It is not the product they buy, it is the experience that it gives them. Seth refers to the classic do demonstrate this: you do not buy a drill, you buy memories that emerge from photos on the wall.
Price depends on status and affiliation. Your client may will to may more to reinforce his vision of himself, or to fell closer to the community with shared interests.
Profile Image for Vera.
170 reviews4 followers
January 5, 2019
This is the first book by Seth that I've read and although there are some genuinely original and solid ideas in there, I often struggled with fluff. The one thing that stood out as a negative for me was that he didn't seem to carry out the case studies properly - he doesn't talk about the why or the how, so the case studies fail to do what they should. I did get some takeaways from it but didn't feel it had much to offer all in all.
Profile Image for Vanessa Princessa.
623 reviews56 followers
November 18, 2018
I read this book thanks to Blinkist.

The key message in these blinks:

With the rise of the internet and the fall of the monolithic mass media, marketers can no longer rely on advertising alone. Instead, they should take an approach to marketing that identifies people’s underlying needs and desires, develops a product that can fulfill them and uses value-positioning and storytelling to cultivate a core group of fans who are receptive to trying new things and can provide the product with it smallest viable market. To spur these fans into action and encourage them to spread the message about the product, marketers should create and relieve tension by challenging their statuses and leveraging network effects to create a bridge between the fans and the general public.

Actionable advice:

Use an XY graph to visualize your product’s value-position.

Take the product you’re trying to market and pick two opposing pairs of values. Then, draw an XY graph and write one pair of values on the opposite ends of the X axis and the other pair on the opposite ends of the Y axis. For example, on the X axis, you might write “affordability” on one end and “exclusivity” on the other. Then, on the opposite ends of the Y axis, you might write “sustainability” and “extravagance.” Now you can see the various territories you can stake out between the extremes of these four values that your customers might espouse. Try picking different locations on the graph and asking yourself, “How could I position the product here? What would make the product speak to this combination of values?” This will help you find a unique positioning for your product.

What to read next:

Purple Cow, by Seth Godin

As you’ve just learned, the task of marketing begins before a product or service is even conceived, let alone built or developed. Rather than coming after the fact, it needs to guide the design, manufacturing and implementation process from the very beginning.
If you’re intrigued by this idea and want to delve into it deeper, check out our blinks to another book by Godin, Purple Cow, where he argues that the path to successful marketing begins with the creation of remarkable products and services, which he calls “purple cows.” These can then be marketed to a target audience through innovative strategies, which you’ll also learn about.
So saddle up on your electronic horse and get ready to lasso your own Purple Cow!
Profile Image for Vanessa Angelina.
76 reviews3 followers
December 12, 2019
This book felt like a chore to read. I kept telling myself I should finish it because “I already started it” but I realised that life is too short to read shitty books. I didn’t learn anything from this book because the author writes in convoluted metaphors and gives no guidance on how to apply the concepts he’s trying to explain. He doesn’t land his ideas and the book itself reads like a collection of short notes that he’s put together on a napkin while seating at a restaurant. The book has no narrative, the paragraphs do not transition and have little (if at all) connection to each other. There were small tid-bits of info that made me think “Maybe this is where the book gets better” (particularly some of the case studies he uses to illustrate the point he’s trying to make) but that notion was ephemeral. Perhaps someone else might enjoy this book it but it’s definitely not for me.
Profile Image for Matthew.
306 reviews
January 1, 2019
I struggled with this one. On the one hand, there were a number of helpful concepts. On the other hand, those concepts felt so widely varied that it was difficult to find a thread or theme that wove the entire book together. I suppose that's the risk you run when you dive into an entire subject. Many of the chapters whetted my appetite for more, but didn't deliver.
Profile Image for Sputnik Sputnik.
Author 5 books9 followers
October 5, 2019
Don’t believe anything less than the five star reviews, his book is incredible. I’ve been in advertising and marketing for three decades now, I’m cynical, I’ve read certainly tens and possibly more than a hundred or so books on marketing, and his is easily one of the best ones I’ve ever ready - particularly for the times we’re in now.

I read a low review of this book (with several similar comments) saying it didn’t offer any specific advice. Are you freakin’ kidding me?!??? What did they want, Seth to write an actual campaign for them?!? Yes, it’s written in his usual riffy style, but love or hate it (I admit, I love it and have most of his books) this book is chock full of incredibly valuable pointers and insights. I mark my books with post it tags on the bits I want to revisit and I have about 32 markers in this 250-ish page book. And there were plenty more important bits I probably didn’t mark. (Some books I read are luck to get half a dozen markers!)

If you’re still not convinced this book is for you, all I can say is I genuinely believe this is a very ‘now’ book for a time when marketing is changing as much as it ever has. And if you’re thinking I’m being way too positive, if there is a weak point to this book, maybe it’s that sometimes, maybe even often, as marketers we don’t get a say in what we’re selling. So the idea we should make better stuff, is of little consolation or use, when you’re stuck marketing what you’re asked to - which I’ve had to do many times. But the ideas behind it still apply to us all. Worth every cent and every second you spend reading it.

Profile Image for Emily Fortuna.
227 reviews13 followers
June 29, 2019
Reasonable ideas, but in feel like the book could have been edited down substantially. It gets quite repetitive, explaining the same ideas in slightly different ways from chapter to chapter. I think the best way to read this would be to treat it more like a book of koans or poems — read one section a day or as occasional bathroom reading.
Profile Image for Janisse Ray.
Author 34 books219 followers
December 5, 2021
If you're in a place where you need to think about marketing, this is a great book to read. As for me, I'd much rather be in a place where I *don't* have to market anything. I believe the best life is the one lived far from the "attention economy" of social media & the computer. Sometimes I am forced to think about all this, which is why I read this book, and it helped me tremendously.
Profile Image for Natalie.
195 reviews
July 22, 2021
You should read this book if you like: Pithy wisdom, reading books about work, commencement speeches, aphorisms, single-sentence paragraphs

* * *

This book is full of generalizations and sporadic anecdotes, and isn’t specific to any industry. So although that could give it wider appeal, it also means that this information is surface-level helpful at best. That said, it does include some good advice:

• Stop insisting on your narrative while ignoring your target audience’s POV. Always ask “Who’s it for?” and narrow your scope. Find your smallest viable audience.

• Be okay with telling everyone outside of your target audience that your product/service is not for them. This demonstrates your ability to respect them enough to not waste their time/pander to them.

• Psychographics (what your target thinks/feels/desires) are way more important than demographics (who/what/where they are categorically). Spoiler alert: This is the premise of the whole book, basically. Your ultimate goal is to sell feelings and connections, not stuff.

• We talk about being good at what we do, as if businesses being good at their craft is the exception and not the rule. It’s not true, so stop doing that.

• Think of your competitors not as your competition, but as your customer’s alternatives. Identify where you might have an edge in the things they care about (e.g., price, sustainability, status, etc).

I dunno. This book was fine. There’s a lot of weird logic that feels like built in ego-protection, to help you justify your efforts at the end of the day, whether people like it or not. For example, if you give this book a bad review, the author would probably say, okay, you weren’t my desired audience anyway. (There’s a Harry Potter example in the book that supports this hypothesis.)
33 reviews8 followers
February 5, 2019
Should've been titled "This is terrible." This book is a collection of vague, half-formed generalizations you've heard better explained elsewhere. It's like he threw together a bunch of blog post DRAFTS and called it a book, banking on his name recognition and popularity. The glowing reviews are all from starry-eyed marketers who thought they'd get to meet/interact with Seth by reviewing it well! They got the book for free or in exchange for positive reviews. If anything, get this book from your library. IT IS ZERO PERCENT WORTH YOUR MONEY! If this was written by a first-time author, IT NEVER WOULD HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED.
Profile Image for Erik Rostad.
324 reviews117 followers
July 17, 2019
I was expecting more. There were some good tidbits of info and some models I plan to use to rethink marketing plans. Otherwise, it was a quick succession of ideas about marketing that didn't pack the punch I was looking for.
Profile Image for Ahmed  Elkholy.
242 reviews42 followers
December 13, 2022
كتاب شديد الجمال.

ترجمته العربية شديدة السوء.

لو احنا في عالم موازي وفي محاكمة للترجمات، الترجمة دي هتأخد أقصي عقوبة.

نسبة الفايدة من الكتاب بالعربي 40٪ من لو قرأته بالإنجليزي.

لكنه كتاب مهم جدا لبناء عقلية تسويقية.

Profile Image for Deion Malloy.
45 reviews
April 20, 2022
I have absolutely no experience with marketing and am interested in learning about it. If this is what you're looking for, this book isn't really going to help you. It's more like a collection of observations about marketing rather than any sort of explanation or aid in understanding. It's hard to follow and feels like wasted time because the same information is repeated again and again in different ways.

This gets one star from me because I struggled to finish it and definitely would not suggest it to someone else.
Profile Image for Citibila.
63 reviews130 followers
February 28, 2021
O lectura interesantă și pe întelesul tuturor. O introducere in lumea marketingului. Aveam totuși mai multe așteptări😄
Profile Image for Ammar Naaimi.
Author 4 books54 followers
February 6, 2022

"If you don't market the change you're going to contribute [to the world], you're stealing.

Alright, hold up, it clicked. This book has made a fundamental change in how I look at marketing.

This is Marketing by Seth Godin is snappy, interesting, and reads as well-intentioned. It discusses the principles marketing starting from the 'why we market' all the way to the 'how we optimize direct marketing on Facebook'. Despite this, the book never truly gets bogged down in the step-by-step details of marketing craft and lore. Instead, it keeps a strategic focus throughout.

The best part of this book is how quickly you can run through it. It uses short, punchy sentences to get mini-points across. I usually struggle with the kindle app on my phone, but this book made it easier.

All in all, I recommend this book to people who TRIED to market but don't have a very good grasp on it yet. This is your door to the marketing world, step through it to the great beyond!
Profile Image for Lorraine Haataia, PhD.
54 reviews21 followers
August 6, 2020
This is a discussion about marketing. Seth encourages marketers to stop and really think about what they're doing. This isn't a book with tips on how to grow your social media following. It goes much deeper into a thoughtful approach to marketing. There isn't one screaming message that comes out of this book. Instead, it challenges you to think more carefully about the people you want to reach and how to reach them to let them know what you have to offer. It's a more caring approach than most traditional books on marketing.

He defines marketing as "the generous act of helping someone solve a problem." This says a lot about his approach and his heart. He clearly states that it's evil to market cigarettes to children or to market anything to others which will cause them harm. But for most businesses that have something of value to offer to the world, marketing is something that comes from the heart. It's a method to help people solve problems faster than they might be able to do on their own or elsewhere.

From his blog, here are three questions that Seth encourages you to think about in relation to marketing:
Who are you trying to reach?
Why do they decide to support us?
What do you need in order to make this happen more often?

If you own a business, or you're involved in marketing in any way, this is a good read.
Profile Image for Diego Leal.
386 reviews10 followers
March 28, 2019
Seth really lost the touch.
It is like everything that he had to say, has already been said in his previous books.
At this point he is just regurgitating the same stuff, over and over and over and over again.
He really wasted my time here.
Profile Image for Diamond-Hope Kingston.
87 reviews12 followers
August 24, 2019
I really expected a lot from this book considering how much it's been fawned over. You have to unearth the points from a large heap of mismatch narration & the weird, thoughtless way it was compiled. It's a no from me.
Profile Image for Nicholas Kotar.
Author 38 books253 followers
April 27, 2020
Took me forever to finish this. But I'm glad I did. This is a kind of philosophy for the intelligent and ethical marketer. Not many specific and actionable tips, but it's not that kind of book. It's a book to savor and think about and let sink inside you. Loved it.
Profile Image for Alexandra Ciarnău.
32 reviews28 followers
February 2, 2022
Although this book may be found interesting by some, if you are a marketer you will find it utterly boring and full of generalities.
Profile Image for AJ Kallas.
123 reviews32 followers
October 21, 2022
A few good nuggets in an ocean of cluttered, pithy aphorisms.

In other Seth Godin books, I have been unimpressed by excessive examples and uninteresting anecdotes. But he has good stuff. He has BIG things to say. That is what is so frustrating when he then says so little.

An anomaly is his book "The Dip", which can be read in less than 2 hours. Because of its length, it is focused on its message and helping the reader.

So if you want to get the most out of This is Marketing, read a summary; don't read the book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,196 reviews

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