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This is Marketing Book Summary – Seth Godin

What you will learn from reading This is Marketing:

– How to build trust and permission with your target market by positioning yourself correctly.

– The surprising role of tension in any decision to buy (or not) and how to use it.

– How marketing is about social status and the stories we tell ourselves.

This is Marketing Book Summary:

This is Marketing Book Summary is the go-to guide for marketing in the modern age. Marketing shouldn’t be difficult and this book cuts through the complexity to give you simple ideas that will improve your marketing immediately. 

It explores the role of status and worldviews in marketing and how to tailor your message to different worldviews. If you’re interested in marketing or how to persuade don’t miss this book. Also check out the Blue Ocean Strategy Book Summary as an accompanying guide.


Change your Marketing mindset:

Your work is to make a change. Instead of talking about prospects or customers call them students instead. 

Have the courage to realise “this is not for you” means you gain respect and save time. 


Create a simple marketing promise:

My product is for people who believe…….. 

I will focus on people who want……. 

I promise that engaging with what I make will help you get ………… 


Look for people with specific worldviews:

George Lakoff – Worldview is the shortcut, the lens each of us uses when we see the world. It’s our assumptions and biases and yes, stereotypes about the world around us. 

Match the worldview of the people being served. Show up in the world with a story they want to hear, told in a language they’re eager to understand. 

Example: Starbucks set out to serve someone with a precise set of beliefs about coffee, time, money, community, opportunity and luxury. 

Remember you need to be meaningful to a few and invisible to the rest.


Two simple steps to creating your market:

  1. Map and understand the worldview of the culture we seek to change.
  2. Focus all our energy on this group. Ignore everyone else. Instead, focus on building and living a story what will resonate with the culture we are seeking to change.


Think like this — “People like us” “Do things like us” 


Create your own value category and be clear on it:

The expense might be easier to measure, but it’s never clear that more of it is always better. 

Categories aren’t linear ‘stylish’, ‘fashionable’, ‘status’. Not easy to measure. 

You must create or own a category and educate on it’s importance. 

Speed  Price  Performance 
Ingredients  Purity   Sustainability 
Obviousness  Maintenance costs  Safety 
Edginess  Distribution  Visibility  
Trendiness  Privacy  Danger 
Experimental  Limited  Incomplete 
Elitism  Imminence  Difficulty 
Safe  Powerful  Beautiful 
Worthy  Responsible  Connected 
Smart  Hip  Ease of use 


10 things good stories can do for you:

  1. Connect us to our purpose and vision for our career or business.
  3. Allow us to celebrate our strengths by remembering how we got from there to here.
  4. Deepen our understanding of our unique value and what differentiates us in the marketplace.
  5. Reinforce our core values.
  6. Help us act in alignment and make value-based decisions.
  7. Encourage us to respond to customers instead of reacting to the marketplace.
  8. Attract customers who want to support businesses that reflect or represent their values.
  9. Build brand loyalty and give customers a story to tell.
  10. Attract the kind of like-minded employees we want.
  11. Help us to stay motivated and continue to do work we’re proud of.


Make it Personal:

Phrases like – “Here I made this” personalises your work. Making it personal creates more of a connection. Which is what you want. 


Ask – What are we really selling?

We sell the feeling of having status and connection, not tasks or stuff. 

People might decide that they want a white leather wallet, but they don’t want it because it’s white or because it’s leather; they want it because of how it will make them feel.  

That’s what they’re buying: a feeling, not a wallet. Identify that feeling before you spend time making a wallet. 

Common Words associated with dreams and desire:

Adventure  Belonging  Affection  Community 
Creativity  Physical Activity  Delight  Power 
Freedom of movement  Reliability  Friendship  Respect 
Health  Romance  Learning new things  Safety 
Nostalgia  Sex  Obedience  Strength 
Peace of mind  Tension  Control  Reassurance 
Security  Sympathy  Avoiding new things  Freedom of expression 
Good looks  Luxury  Participation  Revenge 


Tension, what is it, and how to create it:

Pattern interruption requires a jolt (tension). 

If you want someone to hire a gardener who has never hired a gardener you need a pattern interrupt. When life interferes new patterns are established. 

This is what tensions feels like. The tension of being left behind. 

And marketers that cause change create tension.  

The tension of “if I learn this, who will I become?” 

Tension is the promise that we can get through fear to the other side. 

All effective education creates tension because before you learn something you become aware you don’t know it yet. 

When you arrive on the scene with your story, with the solution you have in mind, do you also create tension? 

The very existence of an alternative which is better in a certain metric (which you care about) creates tension that you could be missing out. 



Remember we are all Status conscious. We ask these questions subconsciously without realising:

Where do we stand? 

What does the tribe think of us? 

Who’s up and who’s down? 


Six notes about status:

  1. Status is always relative – It’s not where you are on the absolute scale, it’s about perception relative to others in the group. 6 is bigger than 4 but lower than 11.
  2. Status is in the eyes of the beholder – If you are seen as low status by outsiders but as high status in your own narrative, then both things are true, at different times, to different people.
  3. Status attended to is the status that matters – status is most relevant when we try to keep it or change it.
  4. Status has inertia – we’re more likely to work to maintain our status then we are to try and change it.
  5. Status is learned – The cohort we are with can influence our perception of our status in very little time.
  6. Shame is the status killer – The reason that shame is used as a lever is simple: it works. If we accept the shame someone sends our way it undermines the narrative we have.


Questions to ask about your marketsstatus worries:

The people you’re seeking to serve at the moment, what are they measuring?  

What is the narrative that resonates with the audience the most, who eats first? or who eats next to the emperor? 


Seths’ Modern business plan:

Truth – make it clear how you see the world, visceral stories, we can agree on assumptions. 

Assertions – How you’re going to change things, create tension by telling stories.  

Alternatives – what happens if the change doesn’t happen? How much flexibility does your product or team have? 

People – who is on your team? who is going to join? 

Money – how much you need etc.. 


Direct marketing – simplified:

Ad exists to get a click. 

The click exists to either make a sale or earn permission. 

The sale exists to lead to another sale, or to word of mouth. 

Permission exists to lead to education and to a sale. 

That’s it. 


Brand Marketing – Be specific and stable:

Be specific, very specific. 

If you’re buying brand marketing ads, be patient. Refuse to measure. Engage with the culture. Focus, by all means, but mostly, be patient and consistent. If you can’t afford to be consistent and patient then don’t pay for brand marketing ads. 

Evolutionary forces have made us associate trust with frequency. The familiar is normal and the normal is trusted. 


Re-Thinking the need for SEO:

SEO is the practice of ranking high in the search results for a generic term.  

The path isn’t to be found when someone types in a generic term. The path is to have someone care enough about you and what you’ll create that they’ll type in your name. 

On the other hand, a smart marketer can build a product or service that’s worth searching for. 


Do what matters and don’t rush:

How many people would reach out and wonder (or complain) if you didn’t send out that next email blast? That’s a metric worth measuring and increasing. 

Once you earn permission, you can educate. You have enrolment. You can take your time and tell a story. Day by day, drip by drip, you can engage with people. 

Not talking means focusing on what you do when no one is watching, one person at a time, day by day.