This is the second installment of a five-part series on the notes I made while reading This is Marketing by Seth Godin. This is Marketing provides a holistic view of the purpose and function of marketing with insights into how it can be leveraged to do great work in a changing world.
After reading the book, I grouped my notes into sections and expanded on the points so I could better understand the ideas and have a reference to use in the future. I share them with you in hopes they get you as excited as I am about Marketing and Brand Development, and maybe introduce a new idea or two that helps you down the road.
Strategy & Price
This part of the series is about understanding strategy, offer positioning, and how pricing will affect both of those things.
Strategy, Goals, and Tactics
Seth says “Tactics are a list of things you do. Strategy is work the tactics seek to support. The goal is what you think will happen if your strategy works.”. It is important to understand the differences of each of these pieces to ensure that your marketing plan will be robust and able to handle the changes that will come once you get started.
Your goal should be a fixed point you are working towards — something your work will make happen if the right people see it. Your strategy is the first layer of work you are going to do. It is not a task list of items, but a larger direction of movement for the list of items you will make. Your tactics will then be the list of items you will complete, to actually make the strategy happen, to reach your goals. This list can change all of the time, as long as those actions are in line with the strategy you have outlined.
An example of this that Seth uses is Coca Cola in the 1990’s. Their goal was to get more people to drink Coke. Their strategy was to run tons of ads to convince people that Coke is part of the culture and everyone is drinking it. The tactics were the content of the ads — they would change every time.
When you pick a strategy, you have to make sure you give it enough time to actually unfold. A lot of people make the mistake of changing strategies when their first set of tactics fail. The key is to find new tactics to enable the strategy to succeed.
Dominion vs Affiliation
A key decision on positioning in the market is the idea of Dominion vs Affiliation. Dominion is the position that you are the market leader, the best in the industry. Affiliation is the position that you are a member of a community or team of people who all think a similar way and share similar goals. When choosing how you will position yourself, it will be dependent on how your ideal clients think. Do they see themselves as leaders — the best in their field? Or do they see themselves as team players, who just want to be associated with others?
To win with the position of Dominion, you will need to do great work and act like you are the best. Your messaging will need to be of a leader who is blazing a trail and showing everyone else what to do. Whether it’s true or not (hopefully it is), your clients will identify with their need to be the best, and come to you.
To win with the position of Affiliation, you will need to help others do great work, and focus on building a community — because only the community can give you the status you desire. Your messaging will be that of helping others, creating connections within the community, and establishing your positioning within a group of people. Your clients will identify with the fact that people like them work with people like you, because that is what the community is saying, and they will come to you.
When engaging in business-to-business (B2B) sales there will be one question that the buyer has to answer: “What will I tell my boss?”. When the buyer of your service is not the final decision maker, then the person you are selling to must also be able to sell your idea to their boss. They need to fully believe that the reasoning they give for choosing your service will be satisfactory to their higher-ups, and make them look good.
Your marketing should help them answer this question. Your marketing should help them understand that if you buy my service, then you can tell your boss this. Your marketing is the chance to finish the narrative for them — to give them an amazing story to tell about why they chose you. Was it because you have the best customer support in the industry, with 5-star reviews? Is it because you have zero-downtime giving clients piece of mind that your service will always be stable and available?
However you finish the narrative, make sure it is a story that evokes emotion in the buyer. A marketer out of ideas will always go with price — we are the cheapest! The only problem is, someone else can always be cheaper.
Pricing & Free
Seth says “Marketing changes your pricing, and pricing changes your marketing.”. Price is a signal that lets clients know where you stand in regards to the value you offer. A cheap price is another way to tell people you are scared — you’re scared that you don’t add any value so you have to compete on being the lowest price in town.
While a higher price requires a higher level of trust with a client before they will engage, the client can also help you when trying to justify their decision to work with you. If someone sees the value in your offer, they can make themselves trust you based on your higher price because they know they must trust you to be willing to spend so much more money.
You can bring in the idea of free, but you want to be using it in a certain way. You want to use free as a platform to build trust and awareness, so you can sell your products later on. This can take the form of simple education, instruction, or another creative avenue relative to your industry.
Combining Two Offers
Seth says it’s possible to combine free with an actual offer of service, if you do it right. The goal is to create free ideas that spread and pair them with an expensive expression of those free ideas which are worth paying for in the eyes of the consumer.
A great example of this is a chef who gives away recipes for free, but the experience of eating her food, in her restaurant, and the atmosphere that creates, is expensive.
You should not be relying on discounts and price cutting to drive your business — it is not sustainable. You have to be brave with your business and the change you want to make with it.
Check Out The Other Parts Of My Journey
The Journey to Better Marketing (Part 1) — Why & Who
By understanding why you do the work you do, and who your work is for, you can create situations that allow you to do…
The Journey to Better Marketing (Part 3) — Creating Experience
By understanding the differences between brand marketing and direct marketing you can create better experiences for…
The Journey to Better Marketing (Part 4) — Building Community
By understanding what community is and how to build it, you can create a space for those you are trying to serve to…
The Journey to Better Marketing (Part 5) — Driving Growth
Building a community around the change you wish to create allows you to provide a place for those you serve to come…
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Want the full 8 pages of raw notes I made? Shoot me an email and I’ll send them over.