Seth Godin’s new book: Idealistic vs realistic

  • Seth says “It’s time to do something else with marketing. To make things better” but would consumers agree?
  • “Marketing has changed, but our understanding of what we’re supposed to do next hasn’t kept up’.
  • While Seth believes that marketing “needs to solve a problem” this isn’t always true.

I really like Seth Godin, but I believe that too often his idealistic approach to marketing is too far out there.

Yes, some product marketing is supposed to “solve a consumer problem” but the only problem I want solved when I buy coffee or ice cream is a good cup of coffee and some decadent ice cream.  Let’s look at today’s environment..

1ne: Private label sales are increasing by double digits and some retailers have even introduced premium private label products.

2wo: Companies that really don’t care about “social responsibility” are doing well, i.e. Facebook and Amazon.

3hree: A lot of brands are in trouble.  Just look at once marketing powerhouse P&G.

Where I really differ from Seth is the belief that consumers are not in love with most brands and would change brands in a heartbeat.  I have watched, time and time again, people shop at food stores and what I’m seeing is that price is becoming a bigger differentiator.

Apple has no empathy for its customers and one could make a strong case that they are not socially responsible by keeping company profits off shore but yet they are a top brand.   Starbuck’s who is seen as socially responsible is losing share and has been accused of age discrimination in the hiring of people in its stores.

On top of all this marketers are being asked to show proof that their marketing works.  A socially responsible brand may get a lot of mentions on Twitter, but if sales don’t move what’s the point?

When I helped a client introduce a new brand of gourmet chocolate we talked about the health benefits of chocolate and yes, we used interruption online ads to get the word out and it worked.  Perhaps the biggest sales booster was a great POP display and paying an allowance to get the product strategically placed.

I would like to see Seth work in a CPG company for awhile and conduct a meeting to talk about being a responsible brand.  My guess is he wouldn’t last long, but it’s good to dream.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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