Marketing Is A Matter Of Farming & Other Lessons From Seth Godin In A Recent Conversation

Image by Brian Bloom

“That it’s believing that ‘the grass is always greener’ that you get in trouble,” Seth Godin told me as we chatted about the meaning of connection and the power of building growth.

The subject matter had pertained specifically to artists. We were on a podcast targeting DIY musicians and entrepreneurs in the creative space. For artists, musicians, and those in the creative business world we all struggle with the notion that “the grass is always greener somewhere else.”

Have you ever had any of these thoughts:

If only we had an extra thousand (times 10) followers on our social media accounts, then we’d have the impact we need to grow.

If only I could get another few thousand listens on my Soundcloud or Reverbnation page, then other media would make note of me. Then I could get better gigs and sell more music.

My Spotify rank is too low. I wish I had an audience like (name a band in the mainstream), then it would be easier to get more fans.

We spend our time as artists playing apples to apples with someone else who seems to have more of what we want. The grass is greener for them. They live in the world we wish we had.

It turns out none of these assumptions are true.

What if real growth was easier than reaching a massive audience, and more practical that trying to become an “overnight” sensation? This method of growth is both practical and empowering when taken through the methods of one of marketing and businesses best minds, Seth Godin.

In his seminal book, Purple Cow, Godin articulates the idea that what creates buzz and attention are things that are attractive because they are unusual. In a sense, the uncommon is what creates a following. Those who want to fit in find themselves chasing behind real innovation.

To create a following, embrace the idea of being a Purple Cow, meaning be remarkable. Be uncommon. What is remarkable and uncommon is what gets people talking about you, spreading the word. As the word spreads, your audience grows.

In Tribes (which builds on the idea that as word spreads, your influence does too), Godin talks about the power of great leaders. This notion goes far beyond just having a following. There is a responsibility for the leader of a tribe to guide people in a direction that benefits them. Powerful storytelling plays a huge role here.

Our desire to grow stems on the ideal that what we create and work on is remarkable enough to be embraced, celebrated and adopted by the people we want to reach. However, we have to be specific about who these people are, at least as we start out. This is why niche marketing has become such a powerful method of marketing growth in the past few years.

The more specific you are with the audience you are trying to reach, the better your storytelling is on why you (or your product) is the right fit for this audience, the more powerful the conversion is.

Specificity isn’t a matter of searching for new people as much as it is a matter of cultivating the connections you have

Have you advertised your page, band, or business on social media sites like Facebook in an effort to grow your reach only to find that it’s harder to get a response from your new fans? This is what Seth referred to as “hunting” in our conversation.

We want growth, so we go out into the darkness and shoot our marketing weapons out into the masses, hoping to hit something. Sometimes we land a trophy. Sometimes we don’t. What we really want is an increase in influence. Rarely does a mere social media following or page view count give us this reward.

“What happens instead is you find 10 people, just 10 people, who care so much about what you do they tell someone else. You find 20 people, just 20 people, who would miss you if you were gone. Then you repeat it, and you repeat it and you repeat it,” Seth concluded in our talk.

This is what creates the concept of “overnight sensation.” It’s not a matter of luck. It’s a matter of farming, of cultivating the connections you have with the people whom you matter the most to.

How strong is the soil you’ve nurtured with your audience? That’s the communication channels we have. Who are the people who would feel the pain of not having your artistic creation? These are the people to plant more into, the ones who produce the kind of word-spreading that creates change for the growth you seek.

In the end, our success is a matter of harvesting from the seeds of remarkable creation. Get the full conversation with Seth Godin and incredible truths presented here.