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Seth Godin at Avaus’ Luncheon: Everybody Works for the Marketing Department

“Knowing how to sell things is all that matters today, knowing how to make things ceased to be critical a long time ago”, said Seth Godin at the Avaus Marketing Innovations hosted luncheon at the Nordic Business Forum in Stockholm on January 24th. But now, selling is getting exponentially harder because markets are more fragmented, and consumers are no longer looking for brand #1, according to Godin. “The most popular brand of beer today is “Some Other”, and it’s the same in many other categories.”

Godin compared marketers to fishes that are about to move to the next evolutionary level. “They have been expert swimmers, but now they have to learn how to walk”, Godin said. Digitalisation has been ongoing for more than 20 years, but many companies are still at a loss about what to do next. “The building is on fire, so should we have another meeting?” Godin asked his audience.

Brand building, at scale, does not work the way it used to. And many things marketers once excelled in, are no longer important, according to Godin. Companies need to understand that everyone, including the CEO, works for the marketing department. As there is no average customer anymore, they have to figure out entirely new ways of addressing their customers and providing unique value, according to Godin. “If I started a business today, I would ask myself if I can have an SMS-based relationship with 2000 people?” Godin said.

Godin sees two paths for the future of marketing. One is data and algorithm-driven, increasingly automated, in which fewer and fewer humans are directly involved. The other route is “Poetry – making magic happen. It involves seeing things people haven’t seen before” says Godin, who personally subscribes to the latter.

Avaus’ Swedish Country Manager Emma Storbacka moderated the session with Seth Godin. She confessed to being a marketer as a result of reading Godin’s “The Purple Cow”, as a student at business school in early 2000.


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