Seth Godin: World's Most Wanted Marketer

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template
Ellie Mirman
Ellie Mirman



Seth Godin started talking about inbound marketing before anyone else seriously got in the game. He first coined the term "permission marketing" in 1999, only his first of many more marketing ideas to make a splash. Want to learn more about Seth Godin and his ideas? Below is a video of Godin speaking at the Inbound Marketing Summit on some of his ideas that continue to make marketers rethink how they do marketing. More details about Godin's background, ideas, and nationally acclaimed books follow.

Seth Godin on Purple Cows, Meatball Sundaes, and a New Era of Marketing - at the Inbound Marketing Summit

Seth Godin: A Brief Background

Seth Godin Godin showed an interest in entrepreneurial activities from an early age. He went on to get a degree in computer science and philosophy from Tufts University in 1982, followed by an MBA in marketing from Stanford Business School. Soon after graduating with his MBA, Godin founded Yoyodyne, one of the first online marketing companies. It was at Yoyodyne that Godin founded the idea of "permission marketing." In 1998, Godin sold Yoyodyne to Yahoo! for $30 million and became their VP of Direct Marketing until 2000, when he left to become a full time speaker, writer, and blogger. Godin also went on to found ChangeThis (now run by 800-CEO-READ), a website for spreading ideas through PDF files, and Squidoo , a community website allowing users to create pages ("lenses") for subjects of interest.

Godin has published more than 10 nationally acclaimed business and marketing books that have transformed the way marketers think about marketing. His blog has been ranked the #1 marketing blog by the AdAge Power 150 , and he has been called "America's Greatest Marketer" by American Way Magazine and "The Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age" by BusinessWeek.

Permission Marketing

Godin was the first to really start talking about permission marketing, and wrote a book of that title in 1999. Permission marketing refers to marketing activities that are based on gaining people's permission before you start to market to them. That means no tv ads, telemarketing cold calls, direct mail pieces - all what we call " outbound marketing " techniques. One way that Godin clarifies what constitutes "permission" is by asking, will that person be upset if they don't receive that phone call or email or piece of mail? Godin identifies 5 Levels of Permission in the book, and how marketers start at the lowest level (level 5, "situation") and work your way up - if you are good.

Ideas That Spread, Win.

In 2001, Seth Godin published his ebook, " Unleashing the Ideavirus ", which has since been downloaded by more than 2 million people, making it the most popular ebook ever written. The ebook discusses how to create an idea that spreads like a virus, how to leverage a powerful "sneezer", and how "hives" work to spread powerful ideas. Godin's main point: Ideas that spread, win. The classic example he gives is that of sliced bread. Sliced bread was invented in 1913 by Otto Rohwedder, but the idea was a complete flop until 1930, when Wonder packaged and sold the idea to the masses. You can see Seth Godin speaking about this sliced bread case study here and you can download the ebook for free here .

The TV Industrial Complex Is Over - Make Way For A New Era of Marketing.

Another major principle of Godin's advice is the end of The TV Industrial Complex." The basis of the TV Industrial Complex is interruption-based marketing: as marketers had the power (money) to interrupt people with their advertisements, and the more people they interrupted, the more products they sold. They then, in turn, used the profits from the products they sold to buy more advertisements to interrupt more people and sell more products. This process created lots of "average products for average people" and lots of clutter. The new era of marketing, of cutting through all the clutter, is to be unique, be remarkable.

Be Remarkable - Be A Purple Cow.

Seth Godin's example of the "purple cow" is something that continues to hold a key role in all of his presentations. The principle behind the "purple cow" is that you need to create something remarkable - simply meaning, something someone would remark about to others. If you were driving down the road and saw a cow, your reaction would be, "Oh, a cow." But if you were driving down the road and saw a purple cow, you would exclaim, "WOW, a PURPLE cow!" and you would immediately pull over, whip out your camera, and share pictures with your friends and family as soon as you saw them. The lesson here for marketers is to create something worth remarking about, and your business will naturally grow and your consumers will spread your ideas for you. Even companies with the most "boring" of products have the opportunity to be remarkable. Don't believe it? Check out this example of a toilet company creating something truly remarkable .

Seth Godin: A Full Bibliography

Seth Godin has published more than 10 bestselling marketing books, including:

- Permission Marketing (1999) - Transform your marketing to permission-based marketing in order to reach buyers more effectively, "turn strangers into friends and friends into customers".

- Unleashing the Ideavirus (2001) - How to create an infectious idea that spreads virally.

- Survival is Not Enough (2001) - Drawing from Darwin's theory of evolution, businesses must evolve and adapt in order to succeed.

- The Big Red Fez (2002) - Tips on improving your business website's design.

- Purple Cow (2003) - Transform your business by creating something remarkable.

- Free Prize Inside (2004) - Everyone in your organization is a part of your marketing team, and here are tips for getting all of them on board with your ideas.

- All Marketers Are Liars (2005) - How to tell authentic and powerful stories for your consumers. See the presentation: Why All Marketers Are Liars.

- The Big Moo (2005) - Companies need to focus on being remarkable, rather than trying to be perfect.

- Small Is the New Big (2006) - A collection of articles on various marketing topics.

- The Dip (2007) - What's causing your organization to get stuck, and when (and when not) to quit.

- Meatball Sundae (2007) - New marketing trends that have the power to transform your business, and how to build your business around them (instead of the other way around).

- Tribes (2008) - In order to succeed, marketers need to be leaders and create tribes of evangelists for their business. Learn more about Seth Godin's latest book, Tribes, from the launch of the book in NYC.


Internet Marketing Kit

We're committed to your privacy. HubSpot uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For more information, check out our Privacy Policy.

Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

Marketing software that helps you drive revenue, save time and resources, and measure and optimize your investments — all on one easy-to-use platform