Make Change Happen: Seth Godin Stresses Importance of Innovation


Seth Godin

Seth Godin addresses the audience during his opening session at Convening Leaders 2019 in Pittsburgh. (Jacob Slaton)

Do work that matters for people who care. Create change. That’s the role of business events professionals, according to marketing guru Seth Godin. Godin captivated the crowd Jan. 7 at Convening Leaders Main Stage presentation, “You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See.”

Sounds simple enough. But when your audience is presented with so many choices, how do you make your event stand out? It’s not enough to offer the lowest prices, which Godin said will eventually devolve into a race to the bottom.

“You might win, or worse, come in second,” he said. Raise your prices? In a “sort-by-price” world, Godin said, your organization is likely to never come out on top.

“When people make a choice, the choice is about the story,” he said. “We don’t sell breakout sessions, we don’t sell the program, we don’t sell the venue. We sell the way it makes us feel to be in the room, to be part of something, to be seen.”

Godin is the author of 19 bestselling books, including the groundbreaking Purple Cow. His latest is This is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See.

Creating a story that resonates with your audience will help create a sense of community, which is integral to an event’s success. Build a culture, a tribe, he said. Figure out where your audience is and meet them where they are.

“The Beatles did not invent teenagers, they just showed up to lead them,” Godin said.

Also important — find the smallest viable market and focus on that instead of marketing to everyone, he advised.

“You do work that matters for people who care, and you have no chance of influencing the people who don’t,” he said.

Don’t be afraid to innovate. It’s risky, Godin conceded, but you must embrace the risk of failure. Without failure, you’ll never become successful.

“All innovation is doing it wrong again and again until you get it right,” Godin said. “But once you’ve gotten it right, your tribe will become your most loyal advocates. You won’t need to worry about a social media strategy by then. Take the Mona Lisa, for instance. The famous painting is an Instagram star, yet she doesn’t have her own account. She’s popular because she’s worth talking about.”

Godin reminded the audience of what’s at the core of their work: “What you do is make stories, make a difference,” he said. “On your very best day, what you do is make change happen. If there is no change, what’s the point?”

Convene content partner Ascent wrote this story.

Seth Godin

Professionals need to take the time to get to know your audience, Seth Godin said. (Jacob Slaton)

Why Aren’t You Dating Your Audience?

By Michelle Russell

The measuring stick for most events’ success is greater attendance, but that’s not what you should aim for, Seth Godin told the Convening Leaders audience on the Main Stage yesterday. “All your bosses keep saying, ‘more, more, more,’” Godin said, but “mass is the definition of average.”

Better to focus on the smallest viable market when considering the audience for your event and its design. Two questions you need to keep in mind, he said: “Who’s it for?” and “What’s it for?”

Reaching out to many with a generic marketing approach is akin to proposing marriage to every person you meet on Tinder, he said. Instead, you need to take the time to get to know your audience. “Why aren’t you,” Godin asked, “dating the people you seek to serve?”

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