14 Trends of New Marketing by Seth Godin

June 11, 2008 Business and Management 5 comments

New age marketing maven Seth Godin in action (courtesy of ashbuckles)

What is the future of marketing like? How can your company ride these trends?

To find out, I consulted my favourite marketing guru Seth Godin and his recently published book Meatball Sundae.

Also called “the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age” by Business Week magazine, Seth has been highly prolific in sharing his thoughts and ideas on how marketing should be shaped.

The main premise behind Seth’s ideas? That the old advertising-led, “holler and they will come” world of mass marketing is dead.

However, you can’t just plonk new media channels like Youtube, Facebook, MySpace and blogs over a traditionally mass produced product.

Instead, you need to revamp your entire organisation – culture, manufacturing, logistics, service – to fit the new world of making products and services that people desire.

So what are the 14 trends?

1) Direct Communication and Commerce between Producers and Consumers – People are increasingly buying direct from the makers, hence eliminating the intermediaries. Similarly, they want to be able to speak directly to the guy in charge.

2) Amplification of the Voice of the Consumer and Independent Authorities – This is what was termed the “Echo Chamber Effect” in Naked Conversations (Scoble and Israel), which magnifies and prolongs both positive and more often, negative feedback. Beware of what you do or say because there are no longer walls in the digital domain.

3) Need for an Authentic Story as the Number of Sources Increases – A cardinal rule in PR is to be sure that you have your facts right from the onset. Don’t fudge the truth because it will eventually come out. More importantly, lead rather than be led (especially by your detractors).

4) Extremely Short Attention Spans due to Clutter – Nobody is going to read through huge tomes anymore, and people want things in small bite-sized pieces. I guess this is also why Godin’s easy-to-read books are growing in popularity!

5) The Long Tail – This seminal idea by Chris Anderson dictates that single product domination is fading in most markets. Customers are rewarding companies that can provide diverse choices and cater to increasing tiny micro-niches.

6) Outsourcing – Probably nothing new to most of us. However, do beware of the issue of ethics and also hopping onto the bandwagon. You can’t outsource (at least for now) a unique and enduring service experience.

7) Google and the Dicing of Everything – The phenomenon of Google has changed the game in the consumer marketplace. People are not buying stuff in bundles or packages anymore. Instead, you need to take your products apart and sell widget by widget.

8) Infinite Channels of Communication – The chaos of conversations will get louder and louder, with the proliferation of multiple channels online and offline. To leverage on this, you will need to make your product worth talking about in the first place, as opposed to shouting out loud about a merely mediocre product.

9) Direct Communication and Commerce between Consumers and Consumers – Most of us would know the e-Bay effect (or Yahoo Auctions), where folks are increasingly buying from and sharing with each other.

10) The Shifts in Scarcity and Abundance – What used to be scarce like hard-drive storage, manual labour, long-distance phone service, and shelf-space, has now become abundant through globalisation and technology. Companies that get it will leverage the new scarcity – spare time (believe me this is totally true!), attention, trust, and sufficiently trained workers.

11) The Triumph of Big Ideas – Forget about Kaizen and continuous improvement. Instead look towards creating something – a product, service or experience – that will spark off the imagination.

12) The Shift From “How Many” to “Who” – This is related to the shift away from eyeballs, share of voice and GRPs to the key segment that you are reaching to. Speaking to the right audiences are far more important than speaking to a massive one.

13) The Wealthy Are Like Us – A phenomenon known as the “democratisation of wealth”, this trend looks at how people are no longer going for the middle ground. It is either something very cheap and affordable for “commodities” or an exclusive and premium experience. The bell-curve has shifted.

14) New Gatekeepers, No Gatekeepers – With the porosity of multiple media channels helmed by multiple messengers, one’s organisation must be flexible and adept enough to engage them. Nobody holds the golden key anymore, and success only comes if you learn to work not only with the traditional media channels, but new ones as well.

While I tend to agree with the general direction that Godin is pointing at, I am a little sceptical about some of his points like the fact that people no longer buy stuff in packages. Perhaps these points may be true in the US, but in Singapore (and maybe even Asia), bundling is still a pretty important strategy. Moreover, we still need a critical mass in the numbers reached, even if we are talking to the right audience. A market of one isn’t a market that can sustain an enterprise for whatever period.

What are your views on the New Marketing? Will it work in Singapore?

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. Hi Walter,

    I can’t agree buying packages is dying as well, especially in a modern world where we are exploring options to simplify things. Be it online or offline, solution providers are taking up the cue to provide more in a given space.

    I’m more aligned to the school of thoughts that consumers are wanting more flexibility within the packages rather than more sources. It’s really a pick-n-match kind of thing.

    The true New Marketing, I feel, is what consumers seriously want and not what we perceive them to want. That monopolizing trait is also limiting the choices of Singapore consumers. Companies must first be open-hearted to competitions before we can generate real value for consumers. I always enjoy understanding why a certain consumer leave a certain company.

  2. Hi Walter

    Gawd… is Seth still being hawked as a God for repeating the Cluetrain Manifesto. Is there nothing new under the sun? I mean he’s a great thinker when he’s on a roll, but these 14 aren’t his shining moments.

    15. There’ll be a massive shift in demand from companies that can give us MORE to companies that can give us LESS. As information floods us, we’ll seek reliable curators who can pick the diamonds from the zircons.

    16. Demand will continue to shift away from products that come in a dictated form towards products that can be hacked.

    17. The big brands are going to die. IPhones that 50% of the passengers on the train have? Whoopy Doo!

    18. We’re going to see a mass cleanout of Web 2.0 sites. Just how many video sharing sites or twitter clones do we actually need?

    19. Marketers will realise again that good advertising actually does work and we’ll see less and less of these “Seth says…” posts 😉

    20. Mass exodus from Facebook and MySpace. Time is too valuable to deal with the glut of time-distracting apps and feeds here. We’ll seek out social networking sites with better signal to noise ratios (if we haven’t already).

    21. We’ll discover that the wealthy are really nothing like us. As economies continue to see-saw, the rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer and the middle-class will be forever scrambling to keep up. Products and services for the extremely rich, like $8mil condos and superfast luxury yachts will just keep getting more and more extravagant, the rest of us will be wondering if we can afford the petrol taxes on our holiday airfare.

    22. There’ll be a throwback to traditional media. Sure, downloading a movie might be free, but isn’t it so much nicer to catch it at the movies with dolby and popcorn. The more we all feel chained to our computers, watching mpegs and listening to sub-par MP3s, the more we’ll realise that we’ve compromised quality for convenience.

    23. We’ll demand return on our dollar. Starbucks will radically revamp because we’ll realise that $6 for a bad coffee sucks and we’ll stop going. And they won’t be the only business to feel that shift.

  3. The bottom line is that you HAVE to build relationships. I just finished reading “Get Noticed, Get Referrals” by Jill Lublin. She explains building and deepening relationships in painstaking detail. The title of the book is a bit misleading in that she covers a lot more just business referrals. Jill also offers systematic advice on using focus to accomplish goals over an extended period…and to be certain, strong business relationships are built over time. If you want more brilliant business tips from Jill, you can sign up for her free newsletter and be notified about special promotions happening this week with thousands of give-aways. Just click here:

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