Seth Godin in Seattle

Seth Godin, June 24, 2011 | Photo by Kathy E Gill (@kegill)

Seth Godin’s brain processes information at warp speed. Today, members of his tribe–myself included–got to see his brain in person. Well, we didn’t actually see his brain because that would be icky, but we got to see his brain in action. Meaning he answered questions for 2 hours straight.

The questions ranged from personal (e.g. how do you produce so much quality content every day?!) to thought-provocating (e.g. from Lara Feltin, Co-Founder and CEO of Biznik who asked about assets and freemiums). Here were some of my favorite quotes and take-aways:


“Find music for your listeners, not listeners for your music.” In other words, bring as much value as you can to people who are already engaged with your organization, rather than chasing after people who may or may not be interested. Susan Howlett and other fundraising thought leaders have been pounding the ‘retention’ drum for quite awhile. Seth would definitely second that.

“Let’s slather some Facebook on that.”  This was probably my favorite quote of the morning. Facebook is huge and nonprofits should be using it to its full advantage. However, Facebook isn’t a silver bullit. Yes, you’ve heard this before…but have you ever thought that maybe you’re using Facebook as a scapegoat for a poorly designed (or not done) marketing plan?

“You can’t build a brand on-line. You can build the privilege of getting someone’s attention.”  Seth is all about permission marketing. This is in sharp contrast to interruption marketing (think TV ads before DVRs and mute buttons), which was how all those mad men made bank. Permission takes time, yet it is enduring. For mission-driven organizations constantly worried about cash flow, this can be a tough pill to swallow. However, if you’re focused on bringing music to your listeners, it makes a ton of sense.

If you were there, what stuck out for you. If you weren’t there, anything you wish you could’ve asked Seth?