January 12, 2008

Seth Godin on dealing with influencers and listening to the market

From a Seth Godin interview conducted by the SEO-oriented Eric Enge:

They need to find the thirty bloggers matter, and months before they need them, give to them. Post comments, link to them, talk to them, engage them as a member of the community, and then when they roll something out those bloggers trust you. An example is Boing Boing, which is one of the three most popular blogs in the world, and there is a piece of software that just came out that helps you track appointments and stuff like that.

Cory Doctorow wrote a rave review of it yesterday on Boing Boing. Why did he do that? Because they showed up an hour ahead in time and begged him? No, because he’s known the founder for a long time, and the founder actually asked him a lot of advice about how to make the software better, and he gave it to them. So, he has a sense of relationship and ownership, so when the software comes out, of course he is going to say something about it. That time investment, and that respect is an asset that people at a traditional company might not have earned.

Certainly the company/analyst relationship fits into that paradigm.

Godin went on to take a related point to an extreme:

The thing that’s going to be hard for a lot of people is it represents a shift in power, that the reason most people become marketers is because it is fun to be in charge. It’s fun to put on a show; it is fun to have influence that comes from money. What we are seeing in the new marketing is that the opposite is true. People who are succeeding tend to be the ones with no money, because having no money makes you humble and being humble makes you work with the marketplace better.

But while extreme, that’s not entirely wrong. For example, the technology industry has advanced to the point that large firms have huge economies of scale, and startups keep succeeding even so. (E.g., see my coverage of Netezza or Qliktech.) And this year’s presidential campaign has, so far, been friendly to insurgent candidates such as Mike Huckabee, Barack Obama, a rebounding John McCain, or even Ron Paul.


One Response to “Seth Godin on dealing with influencers and listening to the market”

  1. Many levels of influencer — long tails, tall tales : Strategic Messaging on February 2nd, 2008 2:15 am

    […] no doubt, influence each other. On the other hand, he also argues for a more classical, top-down, influence-the-influencers approach as well. Guy Kawasaki buys into an extreme form of the Watts […]

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