What I Learned From Seth Godin

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I learned a lot from Seth Godin when I attended a one-day workshop in his NY office with nine other men and women entrepreneurs about five years ago.

Not only is Seth a brilliant marketing guy, but he has a huge heart.  He’s kind and extremely generous with his wisdom.

Each one of us were laser coached by Seth about a marketing challenge we faced with our business.  This was one of those experiences that I will treasure for a long time.

Key Points Seth Talked About:

  1. We’re in a revolution (the Internet has changed everything)
  2. Telling stories is critical to marketing your business.
  3. Market your business like a religion.

We’re in a revolution. Factories and mass production were the focus of the industrial age.

The Internet has changed everything.  Anyone can start a business these days and become an entrepreneur.

We’re in a shift from breadth to depth.

Figure out how to go deep with your niche as opposed to trying to reach the masses. Seth’s book – We Are All Weird is all about this.

What’s revolutionary about this time from an economic standpoint is that the cost of customer acquisition is going down to zero.

With the old mass media model – the cost of advertising, PR and marketing made customer acquisition expensive.  Now mass media is no longer a scalable, predictable way to engage with the public.

From now on mass market success will be an exception – like the black swan.

The old model of marketing was mass media. Everyone wanted to be on Oprah.

Now you can have your own show – whether you are on Facebook, Youtube or you have a podcast.

Pick yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to pick you.

Now what we’re competing for is people’s time and attention.

Knowing your people is fundamentally cheaper. You want to connect to your people in a trusted way. The value you offer has to go way up!


The story you tell yourself and the story you tell others is intrinsically related.  Telling stories captures our imaginations.

A great story that is true will separate you from your competitors.

Great stories make a promise and the more audacious, the better.

  • Trust is one thing that you must build with your stories – your blog and your delivery of what you do.
  • The best stories agree with what the audience already believes and makes the audience feel smart and secure that they were right in the first place – it validates them.
  • Great storytellers tell stories that match their customer’s worldview.

What is a worldview?

Seth says it refers to rules, values, beliefs, and biases that an individual brings to a situation. For instance, if you had a horrible experience buying a used car then your lens (beliefs or thoughts) about buying a car is now different.

A consumer’s worldview affects the way she notices things and understands them.

If a story is framed in her worldview – she’s more likely to believe it and listen.

A consumer’s worldview affects the way she notices things and understands them.

If a story is framed in your customer’s worldview – they are more likely to believe it and listen.

Match the worldview of the people showing up. What kind of show will you put on?

  • First impressions start the story.
  • Great marketers tell stories we believe. They tell us stories that get us to notice changes – then consumers quickly make a prediction.
  • The authenticity of a story determines if it will survive long enough for that consumer to tell others – that is viral.

The two elements that must come together are:  The story you can confidently tell and the worldview the buyer tells herself.

When those align, you win.

A frame is a way you hang a story on to a consumer’s existing worldview.

Don’t try to change someone’s worldview.

How to win in business: You identify a population with a certain worldview, and frame your story in terms of that worldview.

Seth encouraged all of us to go to the edge of our scariest place in our business because that is the real thing.

Market Like A Religion

Think of your marketing as if you’re starting a religion because religions are made to spread.

You get your Deacons, your Bishops, your Cardinals, your Evangelists to spread your message.

“The Bible is written in such a way that people can’t rest until they’ve shared it,” said Godin.

You want to build a brand into a cult.

lululemon_logoLululemon is a cult. It’s one of my favorite brands.

Your niche is the tribe you build and the story you tell.

With Starbucks it wasn’t the coffee – it was the experience.  Seth said in the early days  he would go to Starbucks and look around to see who he knew.  People go in there to work and not just buy coffee.

There are signposts along the road and it’s key to begin to see them.

Seth has said that the next generation will make it’s living by solving a problem.

What’s the problem your business solves for your customers?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  If you liked this post, please share it.  If you want more actionable tips and trainings each week, sign up at sheroldbarr.com

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  1. Sherold, I LOVE this blog post! Passion is the name of the game, and you and Seth nailed it. Years and years ago, I went to a state school known for their engineering program, and was over in the ill-respected English department because of my addiction to people’s stories. Ended up a social worker and then a coach. I never in a million years thought my time would come, but STORY is where it’s at now. I love the message of, don’t go wide, go deep. Thanks for sharing your takeaway from what was, I’m sure, a phenomenal experience. ~Allison Hulett

    1. Allison –
      It was a truly peak experience that I will never forget. He was gracious enough to allow me to interview him a couple of days later. Stay tuned – I hope to post the interview I did with him on his book, “We Are All Weird,” next Monday.

  2. Such a great post here Sherold, I love Seth! Ok, I have fully embraced the storytelling side of my business. It hasn’t always been comfortable, especially revealing the vulnerable side of me (the edge of my scariest place), but the response has been tremendous. I’ve found that readers are connecting with me in a deeper more meaningful way. Also it is hard not to be affected when complete strangers comment on and share my work, and also tell me how they have been inspired. That is not just good for business….that is good for the soul.
    So wonderful that you experience this day with Seth. Thank you so much for sharing it!

    1. Scott – I love that you are in B School with me. I love that you are sharing vulnerability. It’s terrific that you are sharing and getting feedback. I am
      working on finding that part of me that will help my people resonate more with what I am saying/doing. Thanks for writing.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing Seth’s wisdom. It’s also a great reminder that I just need to keep sharing my story. And so true about problem solving.

    My business solves the problems of fatigue and chronic illness. And it is my story that inspires people to work with me.

    It’s funny because I just got an email last night from a friend who was sharing my story in a class of her’s to inspire her participants to use food as medicine. The gospel of green and gluten-free. Now talk about religion 🙂

    1. Laurie – I am a green juice, gluten-free girl myself. I love that you are helping people understand what they eat can make or break how they feel and how it impacts their health. Thanks for your comments.

  4. Amazing post, Sherold! Thank you for sharing the insights and wisdom you learned with Seth Godin. There are so many great nuggets here that I’m going to re-read this post several times. I love the focus on storytelling to match worldviews, depth and not breadth, and lastly, trust. All so very important! xo, Michelle

  5. I love this quote, Sherold: “The story you can confidently tell and the worldview the buyer tells herself.” It makes total sense to me.

    I’m taking notes and working on my ideal clients’ worldview and my frame. I’m seeing it come together in a new way and I’m liking it!

    Thanks for letting us in on the Seth scoop!

    1. Jenny – my favorite B School buddy! Yes this is so true. I bet you are doing so well. I am applying for Marie’s Mastermind. I’m going for it.
      Also my new site is in construction. Got some new videos for opt ins. Redoing that opt in because it doesn’t work. Would love to stay connected as we grow.

  6. Seth is one of my absolute favorite business resources! His views and wisdom are so clear and targeted. There are so, so many nuggets of wisdom in this post that it is hard to pick just one…but I think my favorite is “Your niche is the tribe you build and the story you tell.” It’s not about the product you deliver but about the experience and how you make people feel. Thanks for sharing your experience and insights!

  7. Jennifer – thanks for reading this. I love me some Seth too. What a guy. He has so many great one liners. I love marketing your business like it’s a religion. Danielle LaPorte does this so well. Oprah has a religion going on too.

  8. I am a newbie to internet marketing so I’ve only been reading Seth for about a year. I must say I am always surprised at the ways he can tap into something I’m feeling or thinking over and over.
    I’m so excited for you that you were able to experience this day with Seth. I hope this isn’t your only post about it 🙂

    1. Sammi – i interviewed Seth on video and that is coming on Monday. I will use another example in another post regarding how I listened to him say go – make something happen and I did. So stay tuned. Thanks for commenting!

  9. What a great share – thanks so much Sherold! There are several “ah-ha’s” in this post. “Pick yourself. Don’t wait for someone else to pick you.” is very powerful. Simple, but powerful and I am in a place of being able to fully receive this right at this moment.

    I also love “market like a religion”….fantastic.

    I have now absorbed both of these and am implementing. Again, thanks for sharing and what a wonderful opportunity!

    xo, Tina

  10. Denise – I am enjoying your blog and travels here in the US. Are you in Kendall’s programs? I love her work. Thinking of signing up for Marie’s mm.

  11. I love talking about fear and funny enough I did a silly video around fear last Friday (http://youtu.be/Z4FACEFao7g). Sneaking that fear can be. How it all of sudden overtakes our body and makes us feel smaller. I love how you broke down everything and asked the questions you asked. It is definitely something to face with open loving arms instead of running away. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and educating people on fear.


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