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Five Questions For Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the popular author of seven bestselling books including the just published “All Marketers Are Liars”: He also produces a widely read “blog”: and e-books like “Knock Knock”: .
*One Degree: For online marketers, I think of your books as the “big five” (“Permission Marketing”:, “Unleashing the Ideavirus”:, “Purple Cow”:, “Free Prize Inside”:, and now “All Marketers are Liars”: But Permission Marketing was written over six years ago. When you look back at the earlier books, do you feel they still hold true or would you have written them differently knowing what you know now?*
Seth: I think I would have been more cynical. Permission Marketing was right on, but I couldn’t imagine how fast spam would spread or how hard it would be to eradicate. Unleashing the Ideavirus was practical and accurate, but people hurried to take advantage of honest person to person networks.

So far, Purple Cow and Free Prize are holding up okay, but I wish I could do a better job of explaining the practical steps of edgecrafting.
*One Degree: It seems like the relationship between online publisher and reader is often adversarial. Instead of charging the reader directly, publishers come up with new ways to create ad supported content like site registration, pop-ups, Google AdSense, ads in feeds, etc. Then readers find new technologies to defeat these efforts. Are we in for a continual, escalating arms race between publishers and readers or can we find a way out?*
Seth: Yes, indeed it’s going to be a continuing arms race, because we’ve trained surfers not to pay. Thus, as long as it’s free, the publisher only wins when she can monetize the attention. In order to do that, all sorts of attention toll booths show up.
*One Degree: Do you think that companies getting the “ROI religion” is going to change marketing for the better?*
Seth: It changes everything. In a good way, mostly. It means that marketing is a profit center, not a cost. It means that smart, careful marketing will get support, while sloppy marketing will fail. It means that it’s easy to scale. The bad news is that some of the longer term, thoughtful, artistic story telling that’s important will probably go by the wayside in organizations that measure too much.
*One Degree: I was moderating a panel session recently where a CEO said he was too busy to blog. I was shocked when I asked the audience if he was making a mistake and _no one_ agreed with me that this was short-sighted. Do you think blogging, reading feeds, and generally participating in the blogosphere is a good use of a CEO’s time?*
Seth: I think there are different kinds of CEOs. A CEO who obsesses about finding and managing six key people probably doesn’t need to blog as much as a CEO who realizes that being a point of permeability and contact and influence with various marketplaces (Wall Street, retailers, consumers, etc.) realizes that blogs are a godsend. An authentic blog from a connected CEO is a huge marketing bonus. It’s also a great way to keep in touch with your employees.
The worst kind of CEO blogger is someone who uses PR pablum produced by the twits who refuse to take a risk and want everything to sound the same. Not worth the journey.
*One Degree: Are marketers the only people who don’t know that “All Marketers are Liars”?*
Seth: Apparently. A lot of marketers are quite bruised about my new book’s title. Hey, I don’t make this stuff up… I just write it down.

One Comment

  1. Rich...!
    Rich...! May 29, 2005

    Nicely done.
    On the “too busy to blog” theme, I get that a lot when I mention books (business and otherwise) that I’ve read. People roll their eyes and tell me that they’re too busy to read. It infuriates me, but at the same time it’s a good thing, I’m glad not everyone has the upper hand. This applies to blogging too…!

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