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Justin Cannon

Seth Godin v Dr Byron Sharp

On the surface these two guys seem to be at odds BUT are they?

Let’s get the credentials out of the way.

Tale of the tape

Seth Godin

@ThisIsSethsBlog 617K Followers

22 Books written

Best Book- Godin, Seth (2008). Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us. Portfolio Hardcover. p. 160. ISBN 1-59184-233-6.

Personal Blog- http://sethgodin.typepad.com/

Core Marketing Philosophy

For fifty years, advertising (and the pre-packaged, one-way stories that make good advertising] drove our economy. Then media exploded. We went from three channels to 500 hundred, from no web pages to a billion. At the same time, the number of choices mushroomed. There are more than 100 brands of nationally advertised water. There are dozens of car companies, selling thousands of combinations. Starbucks offers 19,000,000 different ways to order a beverage, and Oreo cookies come in more than nineteen http://flavors.In the face of all this choice and clutter, consumers realized that they have quite a bit of power. So advertising stopped working.

One insight is that marketing with permission works better than spam. In other words, delivering anticipated, personal and relevant ads to the people who want to get them is always more effective than yelling loudly at strangers. PERMISSION MARKETING addresses this issue.

Once an idea is in the hands of people who care about its success, it may be lucky enough to benefit from digitally augmented word of mouth. I call this an ideavirus. Modern ideas spread online and off, and this is faster and more effective than the old-fashioned centralized way of selling. UNLEASHING THE IDEAVIRUS is the most successful ebook of all time and you can buy the paperback for about $10. Feel free to look for the ebook online as well. It's free.

It's remarkable products that get remarked on. That seems obvious, but it flies in the face of the way most goods and services and business items are created and marketed. Boring is invisible. PURPLE COW is all about this.

The thing that makes something remarkable isn't usually directly related to the original purpose of the product or service. It's the FREE PRIZE INSIDE, the extra stuff, the stylish bonus, the design or the remarkable service or pricing that makes people talk about it and spread the word.

The controversial ALL MARKETERS ARE LIARS isn't about lying at all. It's about telling stories that people want to believe. It's about the fact that people want bottled water, not tap, iPod Nanos, not Rios, and politicians who talk straight, regardless of the consequences... But most of all, it's about authenticity.

Marketing is now called leadership. You can lead a tribe of people, connect them, commit to them and create a movement.

Dr Byron Sharp

@ProfByron 8,732 Followers

1 Book written & 100 refereed conference papers and journal articles

Best Book- Sharp, Byron How brands grow: What marketers don't know. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Personal Blog- http://www.byronsharp.com/

Core Marketing Philosophy

Thank you to https://www.linkedin.com/in/amieweller/ for a great summary here

https://www.slideshare.net/zanaida/how-brands-grow-a-summary-of-byron-sharps-book

So what is the big clash?

Seth:

One insight is that marketing with permission works better than spam. In other words, delivering anticipated, personal and relevant ads to the people who want to get them is always more effective than yelling loudly at strangers. PERMISSION MARKETING addresses this issue.

Byron:

There are two great articles that come at this conflict very insightfully:

In Seth’s Corner (With Qualification)

Mark Ritson - http://www.marketingritson.com/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/markritson/

https://www.marketingweek.com/2016/04/12/mark-ritson-ditching-targeting-for-mass-marketing-is-going-back-to-the-dark-ages/

In Byron’s Corner (Without Qualification :)

Byron Sharp

https://www.marketingscience.info/dont-shoot-yourself-with-target-marketing/

The Common Ground

They both believe in having a brand that is distinctive & memorable.

Seth uses the term remarkable. He says, it's remarkable products that get remarked on. That seems obvious, but it flies in the face of the way most goods and services and business items are created and marketed. Boring is invisible. PURPLE COW is all about this.

Byron uses the term distinctive with the purpose of building memory cues and structures in customer’s minds.

Seth wrote an article recently titled “In search of the minimum viable audience” his thesis is the solution is simple but counterintuitive: Stake out the smallest market you can imagine. The smallest market that can sustain you, the smallest market you can adequately serve. This goes against everything you learned in capitalism school, but in fact, it's the simplest way to matter.

In effect he is saying it is hard to be remarkable if your product, service or content is aimed at a broad audience, as the messages end up becoming washed out and well….unremarkable.

He says “It's easy to talk about in the abstract, but difficult to put into practice. Just about every brand you care about, just about every organization that matters to you--this is how they got there. By focusing on just a few and ignoring the non-believers, the uninvolved and the average.”

BUT my take on this is that counterintuitively by ignoring the average, the average will want to buy, use or read your stuff anyway because they don’t want to be average, they buy the The North Face Jacket & Gear because they know real hikers & mountain climbers do and even though they will only wear that Jacket to buffer them from the extreme conditions of the Chapel street or Bondi Campbell Pde draft, they want it anyway because it’s the best.

Where they Diverge

But this where they diverge because Seth seems to think that from this base of brand remarkableness you create highly niche content, targeted specifically at the minimum viable audience or Tribe, and that will be enough to set in train what he calls, digitally augmented word of mouth or an ideavirus that will be enough to propel a large enough audience & customer base to be commercial.

Byron thinks the data of how brands grow debunks that approach, he thinks that from that base of brand distinctiveness you find a way to tailor that distinctiveness into advertising that talks to as broader an audience as you can, through mediums that those audiences engage with.

He says, “Sophisticated mass marketing doesn't mean targeting everyone, nor does it mean treating everyone the same. It means understanding the heterogeneity in your market, and then catering for only the differences that matter in order to maximise reach while not eliminating the benefits of scale. This is hugely different from deciding that your brand can't appeal to a large part of the market – a surprisingly defeatist strategy that hides under the title of "target marketing", and results in many marketing briefs telling media agencies that the brand's target audience is less than a fifth of the people who actually buy the brand and category.”

So in my view Seth & Byron’s real point of difference is how you choose to leverage your remarkable or distinctive brand to have as many people as possible to consume as much of your product, service or content.

Byron broadcast and be willing to interrupt average people who fall into the 4/5th’s of the possible consumers of your offering.

OR

Seth keep talking to the 1/5th and hope that word of mouth will find the 4/5th’s without you having to interrupt them.

There are a lot of CMO’s of big global brands who claim that the idea of word of mouth travelling that far, fast enough leaves their brands at risk of losing share of mind and susceptible to being picked off and the targeter’s camp say that by doing that in the long run a brand will lose relevance to its core audience because it’s distinctiveness will be eroded by virtue of talking to everyone.

My View

Seth can have his cake and Byron can eat it too.

Here’s how:

  • Make sure your brand is distinctive and remarkable
  • Create messages, content & advertisements for all relevant mediums that communicates the distinctive & remarkable image effectively to the Minimum Viable Audience
  • Then market that targeted message to the 1/5th AND the masses and allow the 4/5th’s to discover you too, you don’t have to change the targeted message/creative, just broaden the targeting of the audience you serve it to.

The problem I have with the ideavirus’s capacity to get it to the 4/5th of possible customers who do want and could buy your product but your media buy doesn’t target, is that the science of how virility works in the digital world is different to the way it works as a living organism.

I posted a blog recently called Going Viral it highlight’s an audio interview with Derek Thompson the author of Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction and Derek in this review article calls out a concept called “Dark Broadcast” which makes ideavirus sound a lot like old media broadcast in disguise.

Extract:

The book’s best and most original contribution is a chapter that patiently demolishes the idea that cultural products ever actually “go viral”. The disease model, in which people infect other people who in turn infect others, simply doesn’t explain massive hits. Word of mouth is not that powerful, even on social media. Behind an apparently “viral” wave of popularity, Thompson demonstrates, there is always a massive old-fashioned “broadcast” by one or more star influencers or organisations (Justin Bieber, the New York Times) who already have an audience in the millions, or a “dark broadcast” to a similarly huge audience that marketers don’t know about, for instance the fanfic community.

So next time you on share a piece of social content, you may just be participating in the world of the Dark Broadcast.

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