Seth Godin Knows Marketing… And More

Posted by

It’s day two at the CMA – Canadian Marketing AssociationNational Convention and Trade Show (full disclosure: I am the co-chair of this event). And, after hearing Avinash Kaushik (Occam’s Razor, author of Web Analytics – An Hour A Day and Analytics Evangelist, Google) present yesterday, there we many people buzzing that his keynote was worth the price of admission (and, I would agree). Then, this morning Seth Godin took the stage. Beyond being recognized as a leading Blogger, author of countless best-selling business books like, Meatball Sundae, The Dip, Purple Cow, and more, Seth is an excellent presenter.

The top level stuff is there: strong presentations skills, high passion, great visuals, compelling stories that seem actionable, marketing insights that seem, obvious (but few are doing). No surprises there. Seth is a master communicator and, clearly, understands how Marketing connects. But, after the countless times I have seen him present live, I came to a new realization… and it’s one that I think speaks to the Black Belt level of understanding Marketing.

After Seth’s keynote this morning, I reviewed the notes that I was taking (which, for the record, I do on my BlackBerry) and I had a huge realization. The notes had nothing to do with what he was saying and everything to do with a fistful of creative sparks that were inspired by what he was saying. Stuff I need to get doing… now.

That’s a pretty amazing thing to be able to do as a Marketer (and a Presenter).

It’s one thing to be great at giving content about what Marketers should be doing. It’s a completely higher level to say a bunch of very insightful things that actually inspire newer and different ways of thinking. I know most speakers promise this, but the reality is that ninety-nine percent of the time, you leave with notes about what they said, and not what you’re going to do now.

That’s the biggest lesson I learned from Seth today: inspire by giving people inspirational ideas.

It was a good way to start the day.


  1. Mitch, you’re not alone on this. I alway’s carring something to notes the new ideas I get while reading or listening to Seth.
    Maybe there should be a label on his books: Warning: this book may give you ideas.

  2. There’s actually an expression for this in the Japanese martial arts – okuden or hiden secret teachings. The skill of a master instructor is to create an environment in which you relate to what’s being taught, but the lessons come from within, from your own mind and experiences. That’s the true meaning of esoteric – something that must come from within, a secret that cannot be imparted externally. A master teacher of the esoteric can create the conditions for you to have those experiences, but cannot give them to you directly.
    A classic example is an apple. Can you think of the taste of an apple?
    If you’ve had an apple, yes.
    If you’ve never had an apple, no. No matter how many words or expressions you use, you can never impart the taste of an apple to someone who has never had one.
    Okuden secret teachings are the same – and a sign of a true master teacher is that everyone in the room has a different but equally enriching experience, something in there for everyone. I guarantee that if I were in the room with you, I’d have different ideas and experiences come from within.

  3. You’re onto it Mitch – I often have things like this happen to me, at conferences, in seminars, listening to podcasts, even in church!
    Thanks Christopher for sharing the relationship to Okuden.
    I think most great teachers in whatever field, cause you to question and critique, they don’t just download knowledge into your brain.
    Inspiring is another stage altogether…

Comments are closed.