By Joe Pulizzi published January 14, 2008

Seth Godin: “Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left” and 10 New Marketing Lessons

Just sat through an hour teleseminar (Seth’s Meatball Sundae Book Tour) produced by Author Teleseminars and Elizabeth Marshall, that included Seth GodinMichael Port and David Meerman Scott. I’m a regular reader of Seth’s and David’s blogs. If you are at all in the marketing game, get their RSS feeds.

The second last question on the call was from me, where I asked about the role of content marketing and its effect on traditional media. Seth was not familiar with the term content marketing, and fortunately David was there to define it as “the creation of valuable and relevant content yourself (instead of using traditional means).”

Okay, here’s the big answer by Seth…

“[Content Marketing] is all the marketing that’s left.”

Seth went on to say (I’m paraphrasing) that teaching your customers and giving your customers the resources to believe you is new marketing. They become a fan of yours because you teach them something that makes them feel better about the world.

For someone like me that lives and breathes content marketing, needless to say I was pretty excited about his response. If you are not creating your own content that gets people talking about you, what are you doing?

Here are a series of 10 other key points from the audio seminar:

  1. The old way of marketing is where producers talked at customers with consistent interruption. New marketing is about connecting with customers.
  2. Today’s new marketing is a bigger opportunity than any revolution that came along before (Factory, Industrial revolution) because people only need access to ideas, not access to large amounts of capital.
  3. Instead of spending $5 million on advertising, spend $5 million on a great product that people want to talk about.
  4. There is a difference between how many and who. Old marketing was about how many. New marketing is about who. If 12 people are coming to your blog, but they are the right 12 people with large amounts of buying power, that’s what matters.
  5. Permission transferred is permission lost.
  6. Your content: Who is listening? Make something for them. If you make something that solves their problems, they’ll talk about it and tell others.
  7. The gatekeepers have changed. Today’s technology has enabled the destruction of old gatekeepers (have a message to tell and can’t get it out… create a blog then) and the creation of new gatekeepers (those that have 1,000 friends on Facebook).
  8. Figure out why the target needs to pay attention to you? Find information they desperately need (books, blog, research, surveys, etc.) and give it to them. This is the heart of new marketing.
  9. Telling an authentic story means living an authentic life (i.e., Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO really does love coffee). In the new marketing world, you can’t fake it, so you have no choice but to be real.
  10. All one has to do to understand new marketing is to start a blog. Write stuff that people want to read instead of dictating to them. You learn the lesson quickly!

Content marketing is not easy because you actually have to listen to your customers and know what their challenges are. You cannot solve your marketing woes through buying advertising space. You must make a connection to your customers, and get new customers, by focusing on their true pain points and healing them with information (okay, a bit over the top, but true none the less).

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Learn how to create great content that makes a difference to your customers at Junta42.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • Jay Ehret

    Good recap, Joe. I was listening too and here are a few more takeaways from this terrific listen:
    11. Requiring proof of ROI on new marketing is bogus. Companies aren’t tracking ROI on everything else they are doing.
    12. The customer’s default frame of mind: “I don’t trust you.”
    13. The purpose of a business book today is not to try to sell books, but to have a souvenier of ideas you want to spread.

  • Joe Pulizzi, Junta42

    Jay…thanks for the additional three points. I especially like your #11. Seth went into some detail on this, saying that most companies actually don’t want to measure their return on historical purchases (like the ROI of the reception area or specific TV sponsorship). Yet, new marketing they want to measure like crazy. Once measured, what do they actually measure it against when the majority of initiatives actually aren’t measured. Interesting.
    Thanks again for the post Jay!

  • Stephanie Diamond

    Wonderful post Joe! As always Seth makes us think. Another takeaway for me was that he said very simply, “you need to write things people want to read.” Wouldn’t blogs be much more valuable if people thought about what others want to read, instead of what’s on their mind that day? Content marketing is it!

  • Joe Pulizzi, Junta42

    Thanks Stephanie!
    You are right, whether written down or not, all authors (bloggers or businesses) need to ask themselves a set of questions about whether their target customers will care. Like Seth said, “Will someone find value in this?” is as good as any.
    Most bloggers get this…most businesses don’t.
    Thanks again

  • David Meerman Scott

    Hey Joe,
    It was a fun event. I appreciate Seth and Michael inviting me. Your question was a good one and I’m glad that I immediately knew what you were asking (and was able to put “Joe” and “Content Marketing” together to make the assumption it was you!
    Thanks for writing it up. I was too busy to remember what was said.
    Best, David

  • Joe Pulizzi, Junta42

    Thanks David…although I always love listening to Seth, next time I’d like to hear more of you.
    Well done!

  • Kevin Dykes

    Another great post from you Joe – thanks for summarizing this event & providing the take-aways. We are working with a number of “expert” owned small businesses to help them begin to utilize the power of educational content & true convserational “company cross-section” content, rather than the usual marketing copy blather. While this approach is so obvious to those of us who have been involved in the online marketing world, this is a whole new perspective for so many small companies.
    I’ll be emailing a link for this post to our customer list this morning.

  • Joe Pulizzi, Junta42

    Kevin…thanks. Love your site.
    You are right, these initiatives are especially substantial for small businesses since their organizational structures are better suited for the direct communication, flexible structure model that new media and content marketing bring to the table. Definitely an opportunity that many companies still don’t get.
    Keep doing what you are doing!!!

  • home business leads

    By creating and distributing your own content, you can control every aspect of communications with your target audience. You are no longer hidden among hundreds of ads in a magazine. Instead, you are the magazine. You engage your audience in a thoughtful conversation rather than positioning yourself as one of many companies trying to make a sale. You allow your target audience to look at you and say: This company is valuable. It’s compelling. It’s relevant.

  • Pawan

    I just posted an article on how content marketing can contribute to thought leadership, but only if correctly executed. Many times organizations put out content for the sake of it, and not really to provide a valuable perspective or insights.
    Here’s the full article:

  • Remington Begg

     Content is definately key in todays marketing world. This post simply reinforces that Inbound Marketing is a growing trend that will shape the future of marketing. Have you seen the Zero Moment of Truth?

    • Joe Pulizzi

      I did Remington…it’s a great piece.  

  • Rob TheGenie Toth

    A search to confirm that Seth Godin quote led me to this gem from 2008 (mind boggling!) … what a great comparison of how advertising/marketing has shifted and evolved.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Rob….this IS an oldie but a goodie. Glad you found it.