Got Godin? Q+A with Marketing Superstar, Seth Godin

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A: What do you hope to take away from the whole Advertising Week experience?

SG:
I think that advertising is a much overlooked component of so many things, from how we elect the president to how we decide what color our hair oughta be. I want to be able, if I can, to wake people up enough for them to take a deep breath and look around and realize that maybe there’s a different set of rules. Something like that is useful because it gives people the freedom and the space to [implement change].

I think that advertising is a much overlooked component of so many things, from how we elect the president to how we decide what color our hair oughta be. I want to be able, if I can, to wake people up enough for them to take a deep breath and look around and realize that maybe there’s a different set of rules. Something like that is useful because it gives people the freedom and the space to [implement change].A: What’s your best memory of something you’ve seen during Ad-Week in the past?

SG: It goes back to my whole point about who you meet. I ran into someone that I met 9 years ago at a conference and that’s what happens if you do it right. It’s not about who’s up on the podium (unless it’s me!). It’s about what happened in the hallway. I think someone ought to run a conference where there’s nothing but a hall—just people milling around in a hallway, bumping into each other.

A: Anything you can offer in terms of your predictions for the coming year?

SG:
I think we’re going to see more and more symptoms of advertising falling apart. I think we’re going to see the whole TV thing. The upfronts are going to get harder, the ratings are going to continue to go down, the demographic of viewership is going to continue to get worse. And in the online space we’re going to see that a lot of the little hanging fruit that was easy to grab isn’t going to be as easy to grab because other people are with the program. You used to be able to buy an ad for a buck and now you gotta pay 5. So things are going to happen which will force people to get creative and try harder—which I hope will lead to better outcomes.

A: What are you working on right now besides preparing for your speech? New book?

SG:
I’m launching a major new dot-com in four weeks. It’s called Squidoo. I think it’s going to be surprising and significant and at the very least interesting. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever worked on.

A: And most importantly, who does your hair?


SG:
(Laughs) A guy who works for me turned to me the other day and said “Seth, your hair is getting a little long. I thought it was always just a billiard ball.” I ran home that night and remedied that problem. I’m too cheap to go to a barber. I have to confess I do it myself.

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