Matter That Matters

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Bacon. The topic Seth Godin, blogger extraordinaire and marketing expert, chose to start his talk on the B.B. King stage presented by PPAI. Godin jumped from big topic to big topic, all pertaining directly to the importance of mattering. Yet if you would like to matter, you need to seize the revolution. The revolution is here, according to Godin. Last time a revolution lived in the advertising industry was in the 1950s. His visual slideshow complimented his many topics and kept the full room engaged in the hottest topics of business, management, marketing, storytelling and, well, everything.

The bacon topic did not last long. It grabbed the audience’s attention and quickly moved onto the next topic of action figures, which then lead to golf. In this smart man’s defense, he has great analogies as to why these random areas of life pertained to advertising. Godin is not enthused by golf, he pointed out its limits on excitement. He asked the audience to do their best golf clap. (You know the pitiful light hands touching action?) And then he requested an increase in volume and again and again and again. He went on to explain this was what advertising was: finding threads of interests, amplifying them and connecting them. Advertising is story telling, but with empathy, meaning, telling the story the way the audience wants to hear it! Godin used the example of Fancy Feast. Did you know it isn’t really for cats?! His punch line, “Otherwise it would have mouse flavor!” Fancy Feast is directed toward humans to feed their cats. The experiences of sharing an owner and pet could have in common.

Along the lines of pets he went on to explain, “Consumers are not goldfish.” Some advertisers dumb down the information for the attention span of a goldfish, as he put it. Consumers are smart and want to be informed. They want to hear good information that will help them in decision-making. We are not able to treat people differently, he said, but we don’t. Why?! Prior to the technology advancements and the newest revolution we were to talk to the masses. Average masses meant average products. This should not be the case. The industry has advancements they are not fully taking advantage of. However, the experience is what we are trying to sell, the product is almost irrelevant.

Godin explained his children were staring at a regular cow, when they were in France. An ordinary dairy cow held their attention for four seconds. What if the cow were purple? The children would run over to see the purple cow and touch it, so they could tell their friends, and his wife would have taken picture after picture to tell her friends of the remarkable phenomena that occurred. What makes the situation remarkable is yes, of course, a purple cow, but if his family would describe what happened rather than the cow (other than its color). It is the experience people will hear about, it is the experience they will want to experience. People want what other people have. People like doing what other people are doing, Godin explained.

We are part of ‘tribes.’ We are more comfortable when others are doing the same or similar actions. Godin broke it down saying, change, however, needs to happen. Creativity fuels change, but we are not to be afraid of creativity and the failures that come with it. “The guy who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck!” Godin pointed out. Godin advised to make a whole bunch of bad ideas, leaving your guard down, allowing space for a great idea to appear. “You need more bad ideas,” he said specifically.

Yet change always comes too soon it seems. Godin ended his talk about the timing of change, for example, the Guttenberg press came too soon because the literacy rates were very low at the time! Yet, you choosing to be creative and seeking a little bit of change means moving forward. Looking at something in a different light or a different angle is how to make a difference. Making a difference and a mark in time in this field is important. “We are all successful whether you choose to matter is up to you,” Godin concluded.

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