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Seth Godin's Simple Marketing Worksheet
7 March 2019 11:16am
We’ve been leafing through Seth Godin’s latest book, This is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn To See, this week. And it’s pretty darn good. A back-to-basics primer, it’s ideal for those starting out in the trade or for those so far down the marketing rabbit hole they’ve lost track of the foundational ways that marketing is supposed to help people.
Seth cuts through the fluff that so often surrounds the industry and brings things back to simple, elegant truths; insights you kind of already knew but had forgotten about or hadn’t managed to articulate them so clearly.
One of the best examples in the book is his Simple Marketing Worksheet.
This marketing worksheet has two main benefits. One, it (re)emphasises the core purposes of marketing - purposes that are always worth visiting before starting a new piece of work. And two, it acts as an ongoing project roadmap for success, to which you can refer during your work in order to keep you on the right path.
So, got your notepad and pen at the ready? Then let's begin.
Who’s the work for?
You don’t work for you. You don’t work for clients. You work for end users. Whether you're working on marketing strategy, web dev, design, or copywriting, you should gear everything towards the user.
Obvious, right? So obvious you might have overlooked it, in fact…
What’s it for?
Why are you doing the work in the first place? Brand awareness? Pure sales? Changing peoples’ attitudes?
And how do you define that success?
Just like the above, in the day-to-day grind it’s easy to forget what you’re doing something for. But your objectives should always be central to your decision-making.
What is the worldview of the audience you’re seeking to reach?
Related to ‘Who’s it for?’, this asks us to consider the cultural, political and socio-economic views of your target audience, and how this shapes your messaging.
What are they afraid of?
Also known as: what are your audience’s pain points and how can you alleviate them? One of the most important questions of all.
What story will you tell? Is it true?
Storytelling is at the heart of branding. It’s how we contextualise and understand concepts. Sure, I could just tell someone that rushing a job makes things go slower, not quicker. Or I could tell them the story of the tortoise and the hare. Stories resonate, they stick. So use them whenever you can.
Oh, and please try not to lie. This shouldn’t really need reaffirming with a quote from an industry legend, but here’s Bill Bernbach wading in on the subject anyway – ‘The most powerful element in advertising is truth.’
What change are you seeking to make?
You – or your client – are at point A and you want to get to point B. You need to define what the difference between point A and B looks like and then use that difference to determine how successful your work is.
How will it change your status?
Will the change defined above transform you from a start-up to an established player? Will it change how people think about you? Do your communications, branding, or tone of voice need to change as a result?
How will you reach the early adopters and neophiliacs?
If you’re creating something new, you need to appeal to those who love new things. Have you identified who this market is? Have you created a content marketing strategy that tells them your proposition? Have you offered any promotional material, discounts, or competitions to entice them onboard and turn them into brand advocates?
Why will they tell their friends?
Give the early adopters a reason to believe, to generate a buzz that does your marketing and selling for you. Tie it back into the story you’re planning to tell.
What will they tell their friends?
Ah, we’re back to the story again. (See how important that part of your strategy is?) Make it clear, make it shareable. The simpler your story is, the easier it is for people to remember and repeat it. And the less chance there is of your message being miscommunicated.
Where’s the network effect that will propel this forward?
There’s no point in telling a story if no one’s around to hear it, so work out how you’ll disseminate your message as you’re putting it together. The options are many: web content, social media, paid media, earned media, OOH, influencers, PR, colleagues, friends, family… pick those that will get the most bang for your buck.
What assets are you building?
What format will your story take? Blogs, video marketing, Instagram stories, banner ads, guerrilla marketing, brochures, VR content. This is your chance to get creative and stick in the memories of your audience. Make sure you take it.
Are you proud of it?
The most important question of all, perhaps. After all, that’s why you’re doing the work to start with, to create something to be proud of. In considering whether or not you succeeded, ask yourself questions like: did the process work? Did you hit all your opportunities? Did you make the best creative you could? Are there any lessons you can take into the next project? Is it something you’d be proud to tell your friends, family, or that bored-looking guy on the number 46 about?
Just remember: don’t judge your work based on whether you like it but on whether your customers like it.
So, there you have it. Your (not-so) quick and simple marketing worksheet to help you plan out your projects and refer back to during the process.
Sure, these are simple truths, but such truths are often the first things to be forgotten in the daily drama of marketing life.