This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See

This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See

by Seth Godin

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#1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Instant New York Times Bestseller

A game-changing approach to marketing, sales, and advertising. 

Seth Godin has taught and inspired millions of entrepreneurs, marketers, leaders, and fans from all walks of life, via his blog, online courses, lectures, and bestselling books. He is the inventor of countless ideas that have made their way into mainstream business language, from Permission Marketing to Purple Cow to Tribes to The Dip.

Now, for the first time, Godin offers the core of his marketing wisdom in one compact, accessible, timeless package. This is Marketing shows you how to do work you're proud of, whether you're a tech startup founder, a small business owner, or part of a large corporation.

Great marketers don't use consumers to solve their company's problem; they use marketing to solve other people's problems. Their tactics rely on empathy, connection, and emotional labor instead of attention-stealing ads and spammy email funnels. 

No matter what your product or service, this book will help you reframe how it's presented to the world, in order to meaningfully connect with people who want it. Seth employs his signature blend of insight, observation, and memorable examples to teach you:

* How to build trust and permission with your target market.
* The art of positioning--deciding not only who it's for, but who it's not for.
* Why the best way to achieve your goals is to help others become who they want to be.
* Why the old approaches to advertising and branding no longer work.  
* The surprising role of tension in any decision to buy (or not).
* How marketing is at its core about the stories we tell ourselves about our social status.

You can do work that matters for people who care. This book shows you the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525540847
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/13/2018
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 96,113
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Seth Godin is the author of 18 international bestsellers that have changed the way people think about work and have been translated into 38 languages - among them Unleashing the Ideavirus, Permission Marketing, Purple Cow, Tribes, The Dip, Linchpin, Poke the Box, and All Marketers Are Liars. He writes the most popular marketing blog in the world and speaks to audiences around the world. He is the founder of the altMBA, the founder and former CEO of, the former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, and the founder of the pioneering online startup Yoyodyne. You can learn much more about him at

Read an Excerpt

Marketing is all around us. From your very first memories to the moment before you opened this book, you’ve been inundated by marketing. You learned to read from the logos on the side of the road, and you spend your time and your money in response to what marketers have paid to put in front of you. Marketing, more than a lake or a forest, is the landscape of our modern lives.
Because marketing has been done to us for so long, we take it for granted. Like the fish who doesn’t understand water, we fail to see what’s actually happening, and don’t notice how it’s changing us.

It’s time to do something else with marketing. To make things better. To cause a change you’d like to see in the world. To grow your project, sure, but mostly to serve the people you care about.
The answer to just about every question about work is really the question, “Who can you help?”

Author’s Note

Marketing seeks more. More market share, more customers, more work. Marketing is driven by better. Better service, better community, better outcomes. Marketing creates culture. Status, affiliation, and people like us. Most of all, marketing is change. Change the culture, change your world. Marketers make change happen. Each of us is a marketer, and each of us has the ability to make more change than we imagined. Our opportunity and our obligation is to do marketing that we’re proud of.

How tall is your sunflower?

That’s what most people seem to care about. How big a brand, how much market share, how many online followers. Too many marketers spend most of their time running a hype show, trying to get just a little bigger.
The thing is, tall sunflowers have deep and complex root systems. Without them, they’d never get very high.

This is a book about roots. About anchoring your work deeply in the dreams, desires, and communities of those you seek to serve. It’s about changing people for the better, creating work you can be proud of. And it’s about being a driver of the market, not simply being market-driven.
We can do work that matters for people who care. If you’re like most of my readers, I don’t think you’d have it any other way.

It’s not going to market itself

The best ideas aren’t instantly embraced. Even the ice cream sundae and the stoplight took years to catch on.
That’s because the best ideas require significant change. They fly in the face of the status quo, and inertia is a powerful force.
Because there’s a lot of noise and a lot of distrust. Change is risky.
And because we often want others to go first.
Your most generous and insightful work needs help finding the people it’s meant to serve. And your most successful work will spread because you designed it to.

Marketing isn’t just selling soap

When you give a TED Talk, you’re marketing.
When you ask your boss for a raise, you’re marketing.
When you raise money for the local playground, you’re marketing.
And yes, when you’re trying to grow your division at work, that’s marketing too.
For a long time, during the days when marketing and advertising were the same thing, marketing was reserved for vice presidents with a budget.
And now it’s for you.

The market decides

You’ve built something amazing. You have a living to make. Your boss wants more sales. That nonprofit you care about, an important one, needs to raise money. Your candidate is polling poorly. You want the boss to approve your project . . .
Why isn’t it working? If creating is the point, if writing and painting and building are so fun, why do we even care if we’re found, recognized, published, broadcast, or otherwise commercialized?

Marketing is the act of making change happen. Making is insufficient. You haven’t made an impact until you’ve changed someone.
Changed the boss’s mind.
Changed the school system.
Changed demand for your product.

You can do this by creating and then relieving tension. By establishing cultural norms. By seeing status roles and helping to change them (or maintain them).
But first, you need to see it. Then you need to choose to work with human beings to help them find what they’re looking for.

How to know if you have a marketing problem

You aren’t busy enough.
Your ideas aren’t spreading.
The community around you isn’t what it could be.
The people you care about aren’t achieving everything they hoped.
Your politician needs more votes, your work isn’t fulfilling, your customers are frustrated . . .
If you see a way to make things better, you now have a marketing problem.

The answer to a movie

Filmmaker and showrunner Brian Koppelman uses the expression “the answer to a movie,” as if a movie is a problem.
But, of course, it is. It’s the problem of unlocking the viewer (or the producer, or the actor, or the director). To gain enrollment. To have them let you in. To get a chance to tell your story, and then, even better, to have that story make an impact.
Just as a movie is a problem, so is the story of your marketing. It has to resonate with the listener, to tell them something they’ve been waiting to hear, something they’re open to believing. It has to invite them on a journey where a change might happen. And then, if you’ve opened all those doors, it has to solve the problem, to deliver on the promise.
You have a marketing question, and it’s possible that there’s an answer.
But only if you look for it.

Marketing your work is a complaint on the way to better

They say that the best way to complain is to make things better.
It’s difficult to do that if you can’t spread the word, can’t share those ideas, or can’t get paid for the work you do.

The first step on the path to make things better is to make better things.
But better isn’t only up to you. Better can’t happen in a vacuum.
Better is the change we see when the market embraces what we’re offering. Better is what happens when the culture absorbs our work and improves. Better is when we make the dreams of those we serve come true.

Marketers make things better by making change happen.
Sharing your path to better is called marketing, and you can do it. We all can.
For more on the ideas in this book, please visit

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This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Thomas_Marten 6 days ago
The book, “This is Marketing, You Can’t be Seen Until You Learn to See, by Seth Godin”, left me surprised, confused, and frustrated. The book is by the popular blogger Seth Godin, and had received tremendous hype and attention before its release by his followers. I personally found the book to be more philosophical and focused less on concrete information in many arguments. The book seemed to lack real facts, ideas, and advice that I could implement right away in my life. The author’s audience was his blog’s followers, and also anyone who would be interested in marketing or building a business, which encapsulates a large majority of people. The objective of the book is to aid people in marketing tactics, and in many other areas of the business world. The author discusses many arguments throughout the novel, covering a wide horizon of marketing topics. This includes how to market to different types of people, how to create and set a price that makes sense for the business owner as well as the consumer, how crucial organization is in every aspect of a business, and how one must create a story for people to care about the brand of a business. The author utilizes real world and personal examples of his own trials and tribulations in the business world throughout the novel, in hopes of demonstrating that his ideas work in real situations. A positive factor I enjoyed about the book was the multitude of these examples throughout, as it gave the reader a sense of understanding with each idea presented. An argument that the author presented that I did not agree with was how much emphasis he placed on the idea of the need of a “story” to be associated with a brand so that people care enough to purchase it. The examples of stories he provided were heartfelt and definitely helped propel consumers to care about the product, but I feel that he overvalued the idea of a brand “story” to the consumer. I believe that consumers do not place as much emphasis as Godin states on the “story” of the brand, but more on the quality and price of the product, and then maybe place secondary emphasis for the story of the brand. His argument was also not supported by facts but by more of philosophical ideas of people caring more about a brand because of its identity and story, which did not come across as concrete to me as a reader. I feel that the author did attempt to successfully reach the objective that he set out at the start of the book, but I personally think that Godin came up short in the factual explanation of his ideas. For me to truly believe in an idea and to use it in the business world myself, I need concrete facts and evidence for why a certain idea works effectively. While the author’s ideas do make sense in theory, and the idea of building up the story of a brand makes logical sense, without facts and numbers to back up these claims, I felt questionable on how valid these ideas really are. I have not read any other of Godin’s books or any of his blogs, so I can not offer a comparison to his other works, as this may be his style of writing. In conclusion, the novel presents many different ideas and examples throughout the novel, but does not provide enough concrete evidence for me to feel confident to put these ideas into action in the business world. The positives of the novel lie in the multitude of examples and explanations throughout, which help the reader to try and understand the points the author is attempting to make. I would rate “This is Ma
Jamrozm1 More than 1 year ago
In comparison amongst many others, Seth Goldin’s, This Is Marketing You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See climbs its way to the top and feels like the holy grail of all marketing books. Unlike many other marketing books which seem to be “How To” guides filled with recycled information from popular marketers, this book ingeniously ties marketing tips together with a large basis on human qualities and characteristics. In reading this brilliant work, I felt more empowered as a future employee/employer in the field of small business, a student, a person and most importantly a marketer. In this book, Seth Goldin breaks down the most important marketing strategies from a small scale that can lead to a big gain. This book will benefit any person with a desire to make a positive and meaningful impact for a particular purpose. The biggest thing that stood out to me while reading this book was the way Seth Goldin challenges the reader to view marketing in such a non-traditional way, almost as a quest. Seth Goldin emphasizes creating a story around your product or service for a small group of customers to believe in. With true passion and purpose behind your product and its unique story, customers will reciprocate this same energy and tell the world about your product. Seth Goldins’ message around marketing is clear: clarify the change you would like to make in the world and day by day work effortlessly to make the change a reality for the group(s) you are targeting. As stated, “Marketers make change. We change people from one emotional state to another. We take people on a journey; we help them become the person they’ve dreamed of becoming, a little bit at a time” (81). Seth Goldin continues to emphasize the same underlying theme throughout the book, as marketers, our job is to spark the same emotions we feel will make a positive change on the world and pass that to our customers, who will in turn pass on the same message to anyone who will listen. In other words, marketers make change happen, positive change in a customers life which will inspire that customer to believe in and promote a marketers product. Another main idea tackled by Seth Goldin is pricing. Seth Goldin begins Chapter Sixteen by stating, “ There are two key things to keep in mind about pricing: Marketing changes your prices. Pricing changes your marketing” (179). Price alone is such an important factor in marketing, as before consumers even look at a product, the pricing automatically creates an assumption about a product or services’ presumed quality. It is important to keep this idea in mind when pricing your product as “your price should be aligned with the extremes you claimed as part of your positioning” (179). As we all know as consumers, pricing determines quality and value in our minds as low-cost products are associated with being inferior to more expensive products and we make this presumption solely off of a price tag. As Seth Goldin often eludes to, price is a story and “low price is the last refuge of a marketer who has run out of generous ideas” (182). Any price must be perceivable as a story and as a marketer seeking impactful change, providing the cheapest prices comes with a negative story. Racing to charge bottom level prices means there is no innovation or change attached to a product, it lacks the purpose to make an impact on the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Godin has done it again! This is an intelligent must read for all marketers.