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January 1, 2006

Seth, truth, and marketing

Seth, turn your comments on if you want to be part of the conversation.

Doesn’t New Marketing have communication at it’s core?

Yet why does New Marketing evangelist Seth Godin have his comments turned off on his blog?

Does this mean that he doesn’t want to be part of a dialogue?

A while back I had to contact Seth to warn that trackback spammers had filled his blog with spam. Perhaps he finds moderating his comments against spam too difficult?

If so, how can he expect to uphold his own principles, when he’s clearly flouting them himself?

What is marketing?

The reason for the above is because Seth asks a Quick Question:

Is marketing the art of tricking people into buying stuff they don’t need?

Or is it about spreading ideas that people fall in love with?

Without the ability to comment on his site, it seems very zen to ask questions if you don’t expect an answer.

It’s a good rhetorical question, though, and an interesting debate within marketing itself.

Marketing, as a discipline, wants to decree that you cannot sell where a need doesn’t already exist.

But that doesn’t mean to say that the product or service itself is needed on it’s own merits.

Christmas shopping should provide anybody with examples enough of that, whether it’s giving or receiving products where no actual need exists - other than to buy something - anything.

Obviously, the ideal is to create new customers who need - and love - your product. Apple have turned this into a reality quite beautifully.

However, an ugly truth in a lot of marketing is that consumers are sheep and marketers the shepherds - the sheep can and will be manipulated in simple ways to buy stuff that they may not need, but can be encouraged to want, through a combination of advertising, pricing, and availability.

You don’t need great products, or customer love - just a need to purchase something - anything - then court then on basics such as low pricing, limited offers, and other sales gimmicks.

Many retailers are more than aware of this, with their practice of placing small items - such as chocolates and drinks, in a supermarket - in order to boost sales.

So, when it comes to justifying marketing, a requirement to boost sales and increase profits will work in different ways in different market verticals. Both of Seth’s posits are true, under different circumstances.

Ideally, the marketer wants to think that they work with the best products and services - but that doesn’t mean to say that their customers will share the same perception. Heck they may not even feel a need for those individual products and services. Marketing already knows how to sell to that attitude.

That’s a sad ugly truth about marketing.



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2 Comments »
  1. He leaves his comments off for the same reason I do. At this point, so many people have a blog that if they want to comment on a post, they can put an entry in their own blog and trackback to the original.

    It solves a few problems. One, it causes the person to take a higher degree of ownership of their comments.

    Two, it solves the problem of comment spam.

    He was part of the conversation, as you are, by posting and allowing people to trackback. Heck, it brought me to your blog, so the trackback provides a larger reach for you as well.

    Comment by Mark Scholl — January 3, 2006 @ 3:26 pm

  2. Good points, but I think comments off on any blog is effectively closing an avenue of dialogue.

    After all, not everybody has a blog - so allowing trackbacks only immediately excludes non-bloggers from the conversation.

    Comment by Administrator — January 3, 2006 @ 4:04 pm

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