Commentary & Analysis
Marketing and Publishing Guru Seth Godin to Keynote PRINT 18
Seth Godin, world-renowned entrepreneur and marketing and publishing guru, will be keynoting this September’s PRINT 18. Cary Sherburne spoke to him about the changing role of print in today’s marketing and publishing landscape. Read on for some insights from one of today’s thought leaders.
By Cary Sherburne
Published: May 10, 2018
Seth Godin is a world-renowned entrepreneur, and a marketing and publishing guru who has a reputation for driving change and thinking outside the box. His keynote at PRINT 18, scheduled for September 30, 2018, is a not-to-be-missed event. Not only has he published 18 best-selling books, he brings a unique perspective to the post-industrial world in which we find ourselves. His favorite topics include the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership, and—most of all—changing everything. His opinions are often controversial but always thought-provoking.
At PRINT 18, he’ll be sharing his thoughts on thriving in the connection economy. He’ll look back (briefly) on a century of marketing, industrialism, and print, and paint a picture for how we can each make a dent in the future with the work we do. He’ll also conduct a book signing featuring his recent book, What to Do When It’s Your Turn (and It’s Always Your Turn). Godin shared some preliminary thoughts with us in a recent interview.
“Print is not dead. It’s not even tired,” he commented. But its role has changed. Print used to be based on two truths:
- Chopping down trees was an efficient way to distribute information; and
- We have information you need, but you can’t get it from anyone but us.
“Neither is true anymore. You argue that they are true, but as I said to the newspaper publishers of America 15 years ago, the canary is already dead; and you don’t want to be on the side of paper at all costs. You want to be on the side of, what do the people we serve need, and how do we get it to them?”
When asked how marketers should be using print, he stated, “I don’t think there is a one-sentence glib answer that is all-purpose. What we know is that books and brochures and newsprint still have Proustian and magical powers. That’s why we should use them, not because it is the best way to get some words to people.”
He adds, “Modern marketing is the practice of making something worth talking about, developing empathy for those you seek to serve and being in the market in a way that people would miss you if you were gone. There are lots of ways to embrace modern marketing, but there's no doubt that you'll be better off once you do.”
Among the words of advice you might hear from him are these:
- It’s time to stop making average stuff for average people while hoping you can charge more than a commodity price.
- It’s time to stop begging people to become your clients, and time to stop feeling badly about charging for your work.
- It’s time to stop looking for shortcuts and time to start insisting on a long, viable path instead.
He has strong opinions about what printers (and businesses in general) should be doing to ensure future success. Among other things, he said, “If you are answering RFPs, you are doomed. If your model is ‘you are as good as everyone else but cheaper,’ you are doomed. Because you have just signed up for a race to the bottom, and you might just win. The key is to understand how you can offer a series of benefits that justify a higher cost. If you can’t figure that out, you should shut your doors.”
One way to figure that out, he says, is to think about who you hire to provide services and which organizations you go to when you are willing to pay extra. “They are usually defined by one of two things,” he explains. “They are technically head and shoulders above everyone else, or they are kind and generous human beings that are a pleasure to deal with. The other alternative is ‘works cheap’—not a position worth defending.”
Godin promises the PRINT 18 audience will leave with actionable takeaways that can shape their personal and professional lives into the future. “If I could put it all in a memo, I would,” he concludes. “But bullet points just don’t work. If you are in the room, I will be able to help you think differently.”
If you are interested in learning more about Seth as you prepare to head to Chicago in September, visit him at SethGodin.com. You can also view the thought leadership video interview WhatTheyThink did with him three years ago at Digital Book World—still as relevant today as it was then!
One other note worth mentioning: When Godin published The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), Miami Herald columnist Richard Pachter had this to say:
The one possible weakness of this otherwise terrific little volume is that it is aimed solely at people who are creative, intelligent and want to succeed. Those who are mediocre, unmotivated or just coasting through life will probably not get much from Godin. He is not an elitist, but his message is squarely aimed at those who want to succeed or at least achieve excellence.
We know you’re in the group that wants to succeed. And we know you will be as thrilled as we are to have Seth Godin joining us at PRINT 18. We also know his talk—which will not be your ordinary boring keynote—will inspire you to reach new heights, both personally and professionally.
Register now for PRINT 18, which includes this free, thought-provoking keynote address by Seth Godin.