Book Reviews

This is Marketing by Seth Godin

this is marketing

About the Book

First of all, Merry (belated) Christmas wonderful people and I hope you’re as excited about 2019 as I am! It’s going to be epic; I can just feel it!

For today’s review, I wanted to bring your attention to the Godfather of marketing – Seth Godin.

What he doesn’t know about this subject isn’t worth knowing.

This is Marketing, his latest best-seller, is such a useful guide. It brings together some of his most loved concepts from his previous books and blog posts into one, easy-to-digest paperback.

I liked it a lot!

Here are some of its highlights for me…


Favourite Passages

  • “Marketing is the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become. It involves creating honest stories – stories that resonate and spread.” Chapter 1: Not Mass, Not Spam, Not Shameful…


  • “Time to stop making average stuff for average people while hoping you can charge more than a commodity price.” Chapter 1: Not Mass, Not Spam, Not Shameful…


  • The first step [in marketing] is to invent a thing worth making, with a story with telling, and a contribution worth talking about.// The second step is to design and build it in a way that a few people will particularly benefit from and care about.// The third step is to tell a story that matches the built-in narrative and dreams of that tiny group of people, the smallest viable market.// The fourth step is the one everyone gets excited about: spread the word.// The last step is often overlooked: show up – regularly, consistently, and generously, for years and years…” Chapter 2: The Marketer Learns to See


  • “Persistent, consistent, and frequent stories, delivered to an aligned audience, will earn attention, trust, and action.” Chapter 2: The Marketer Learns to See


  • “You cannot change everyone; therefore, asking, ‘Who’s it for?’ can focus your actions and help you deal with the nonbelievers (in your head and in the outside world).” Chapter 2: The Marketer Learns to See


  • People don’t want what you make. They want what it will do for them. They want the way it will make them feel. And there aren’t that many feelings to choose from… If you can bring someone belonging, connection, peace of mind, status, or one of the other most desired emotions, you’ve done something worthwhile.” Chapter 3: Marketing Changes People Through Stories, Connections, and Experience


  • “It can accidentally be set aside or intentionally camouflaged, but all effective marketing makes a promise.” Chapter 4: The Smallest Viable Market


  • “Specific is a kind of bravery. Specific means accountable. It worked or it didn’t. It matched or it didn’t. It spread or it didn’t. Are you hiding behind everyone or anyone?” Chapter 4: The Smallest Viable Market


  • “Once you’ve identified the scale, find a corner of the market that can’t wait for your attention. Go to their extremes. Find a position on the map where you, and you alone, are the perfect answer. Overwhelm this group’s wants and desires with your care, your attention, and your focus. Make change happen. Change that’s so profound, people can’t help but talk about it.” Chapter 4: The Smallest Viable Market


  • 1. Start with empathy to see a real need. Not an invented one, not ‘How can I start a business?’ but, ‘What would matter here?’// 2. Focus on the smallest viable market: ‘How few people could find this indispensable and still make it worth doing?’ // 3. Match the worldview of the people being served. Show up in the world with a story they want to hear, told in a language they’re eager to understand.// 4. Make it easy to spread. If every member brings in one more member, within a few years, you’ll have more members than you can count.// 5. Earn, and keep, the attention and trust of those you serve.// 6. Offer ways to go deeper. Instead of looking for members for your work, look for ways to do work for your members.// 7. At every step along the way, create and relieve tension as people progress in their journeys toward their goals.// 8. Show up, often. Do it with humility, and focus on the parts that work.”


  • “‘ Adherence to conspiracy theory might not always be the result of some perceived lack of control, but rather a deep-seated need for uniqueness.'” Chapter 5: In Search of “Better”


  • “When someone doesn’t act as you expected them to, look for their fear.” Chapter 7: The Canvas of Dreams and Desires


  • “When we seek feedback, we’re doing something brave and foolish. We’re asking to be proven wrong. To have people say ‘You thought you made something great, but you didn’t.’… What if, instead, we seek advice?” Chapter 8: More of the Who – Seeking the Smallest Viable Market


  • “Marketers make change. And they do it by normalising new behaviours.” Chapter 9: People Like Us Do Things Like This


  • “The best time to market a new app is when the platform is brand new. When you market to someone who doesn’t have a pattern yet, you don’t have to persuade them that their own choices were mistakes.” Chapter 10: Trust and Tension Create Forward Motion


  • “Along the way, this has pushed us to associate ‘trust’ with the events and stories that happen again and again. The familiar is normal and the normal is trusted.” Chapter 15: Reaching the Right People


  • There are two key things to keep in mind about pricing: Marketing changes your pricing. Pricing changes your marketing.” Chapter 16: Price is a Story


  • “Who’s it for, what’s it for, and how is status changed? What will I tell the others?” Chapter 16: Price is a Story


  • “The best reason someone talks about you is because they’re actually talking about themselves: ‘Look at how good my taste is.'” Chapter 17: Permission and Remarkability in a Virtuous Cycle


  • “The tribe would probably survive if you went away. The goal is for them to miss you if you did.” Chapter 20: Organising and Leading a Tribe



What Others Are Saying

reviews for this is marketing.jpg

(It’s worth noting that on Amazon, nearly all the reviews for this book at the time of posting were positive, but there was a highly critical one-star review from a clearly disgruntled individual.)


Star Rating:


This is a really solid book from Seth. There are soooo many useful takeaways and I particularly liked his discussion of positioning your brand at the extremes of what people want.

Highly recommend!

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