Launching today, my new course on Skillshare: The Modern Marketing Workshop. A course for marketers in every organization.
Click here to find out the details. I think you'll find that this course has the power to transform the way you and your organization spread your ideas, engage with customers and most of all, think about what you make and why.
This is the stuff I learned the hard way. You can be smarter: you have this course.
Marketing has changed more in the last 20 years than any other business discipline. Far more than accounting, manufacturing, or management. Why are we relying on the same-old traditional textbooks? Why are CMOs cornered into decisions that make no sense? Why do leaders still talk about marketing and advertising like they’re the same?
This is my second class. The first Skillshare course I launched a few months ago has gotten a terrific response (their most popular course ever) and people let me know that they wanted me to add a different course, one that would address marketing the way it's done today. It turns out that just about everything we learned in school, just about everything our boss, our board and our co-workers believe about marketing is out of date.
You can see some of the reviews for the first class here.
The new course includes videos, new ebooks, worksheets and more (more than 75 pages of brand-new material and many hours of discussions and projects for you and your team.) I hope you'll devote the time to really dive into it, and you'll challenge your peers to do it with you.
If you sign up before the 13th, you'll be invited to join me for a live kick-off chat room session. Hope to see you there.
PS discount code seth2014 will save you a few dollars. Thanks.
[Skillshare's motto is terrific: "the future belongs to the curious." My favorite part about this course, and the reason I called it a workshop, is that it connects curious people. The course gets better when more people are taking it. The interactions between and among the curious attendees can last for months or years, an ever-virtuous cycle of creation and connection and teaching and learning.]
Whales have to eat a lot of plankton. A whale needs an enormous number of these tiny creatures because, let's be honest, one plankton just doesn't make a meal.
It's unlikely the whale savors each plankton, relishing the value that it brings.
The fabled Oreo tweet and the now legendary Ellen selfie are examples of whale eating plankton. Each retweet is so worthless to these whales and the brands that come from the TV world that they need millions of them, constantly.
They're hooked on tonnage, and will dumb down whatever they do to get more of it. To get mass in the social media world, you need luck and you need to pander.
I think our attention is more precious than that.
For most modern marketers, quantity isn't the point. What matters is to matter. Lives changed. Work that made an actual difference. Connection.
You are not a plankton. Neither are your customers.
In fact, most people switch for better.
Without a doubt, there's a slot in every market for the cheap enough, good enough alternative.
But rapid growth and long-term loyalty come from being better instead.
When your product or your service doesn't measure up, the answer probably isn't to lower your price or offer a refund to the disappointed customer. Instead, the alternative is to invest in making it better. So much better that people can't help but talk about it—and so much better that they would truly miss it if it were gone.
Here are some laws rarely broken:
As an organization succeeds, it gets bigger.
As it gets bigger, the average amount of passion and initiative of the organization goes down (more people gets you closer to averge, which is another word for mediocre).
More people requires more formal communication, simple instructions to ensure consistent execution. It gets more and more difficult to say, "use your best judgment" and be able to count on the outcome.
Larger still means more bureaucracy, more people who manage and push for comformity, as opposed to do something new.
Success brings with it the fear of blowing it. With more to lose, there's more pressure not to lose it.
Mix all these things together and you discover that going forward, each decision pushes the organization toward do-ability, reliability, risk-proofing and safety.
And, worst of all, like a game of telephone, there will be transcription errors, mistakes in interpreting instructions and general random noise. And most of the time, these mutations don't make things wonderful, they lead to breakage.
Even really good people, really well-intentioned people, then, end up in organizations that plod toward mediocre, interrupted by random errors and dropped balls.
This can be fixed. It can be addressed, but only by a never-ending fight for greatness.
Greatness can't be a policy, and it's hard to delegate to bureaucrats. But yes, greatness is something that people can work for, create an insurgency around and once in a while, actually achieve. It's a commitment, not an event.
It's not easy, which is why it's rare, but it's worth it.
People don't care about privacy as much as they care about being surprised.
Most people have used credit cards for decades—giving the credit card company tons of intimate data about their habits. We go to doctors and therapists and tell them our detailed medical and emotional histories. That's all fine because we believe we know exactly what's going to happen to the information. When we're surprised and a promise is broken, we're (rightly) furious.
If people actually cared about privacy (no one knowing what they do) then we would have given up on most connected activities generations ago. No, we were fine with some people knowing, as long as we realized who those people were (and what those uses were) in advance.
The outrage over privacy leaks and snooping is largely because it comes as a surprise. It's not what we signed up for and not what we expected. As marketers and governments continue to intrude, though, less privacy will become the new normal. Ask any teenager... few of them are particularly surprised or upset that they're leaving a trail online, it's always been that way for them.
Now that we've been desensitized, expect a huge stampede of apps, services and technologies that monetize and quantitize things that we used to think of as off limits. They won't tiptoe, they will leap, because the race is on to create value from information that used to be invisible.
The thing about surprising people is that once you do it, you can't do it again and again. As surprise fades, people will come to tolerate and then (eventually) look forward to organizations using the data we used to believe would never be used.
[Here's one scenario to give you a sense of how big the shift will be. When just 1% of all cars have a networked dashboard camera in use, then virtually every car and every driver will be under constant surveillance. When you cut someone off or run a stop sign, the system will know. Good drivers will take advantage of the information that's created to get much better prices on their insurance (why shouldn't they?) which will completely transform both the insurance industry and the safety of driving. We've always been awash in data about how everyone drives, but until now, it's never been collected and turned into information, and that information has value. Like it or not, the Wild West mentality of 'eat my dust' will be replaced by a privacy-free world of connected driving. Multiply this by healthcare, white collar work productivity and retail behavior and you quickly see a brave, new world.]
Who cares about privacy is a little like the weather. You can care about it, but it's not clear there's much you can do once surprise goes away and the engines of commerce and power kick in.
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