Seth Godin discusses the death of one-size-fits-all marketing efforts

Seth Godin

During a rousing presentation at Advertising Week New York, author and marketing guru Seth Godin told the audience that one-size-fits-all campaigns made for the masses no longer make sense for brands in today’s world, a topic he has discussed at length in the past.

In his talk, Godin said that the “David Ogilvy” model of advertising has been busted since we live in a “world of clutter” where even water bottles have been branded to death. As the advertising industry undergoes a digital and mobile revolution, Godin said that the brands that will win moving forward will be the ones that deliver “anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them,” not the ones that try to sell “average products for average people.”

“When we think about great brands from the past 15 years, none of them were built for normal people and none of them were built with advertising,” he said, pointing to brands including Chobani, Spanx and Airbnb. “You cannot name one brand that was built from scratch in the last ten years on the back of TV. In 1965, you could name 400 brands. Now you can’t name one, and that’s what revolutions look like.”

He also discussed how the very concept of marketing has changed over the years and said that companies today need to make marketing an intrinsic part of their organization.

“Marketing is now what you make," Godin said. "That means you run manufacturing, you run customer service, you run product development. Any institution that does not have a marketer or someone with a marketing sensibility running those groups is a bad marketer. Because that is what marketing is today - building the product around the marketing and the marketing around the product.”

While he said that marketers can’t force people to become interested in a brand, he said that they can “find little threads of interest” by creating “remarkable experiences and remarkable services” for the right people.

“I want to argue that this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” he said. “None of you were in the ad business in 1950, and that was the last time the ad business had a revolution. In 1950, magical things were happening, and they’re happening now. But not if you insist on playing by the old rules.”

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