During Duct Tape Marketing's August 16 2006 podcast, the host, John Jantsch, interviewed Seth Godin, who has just published a new book, Small is the New Big, which is essentially a compliation of Seth's popular blogs.
The theme of this book is that big used to matter. Working for big companies used to be enviable, as big companies could defeat small companies with large marketing and advertising budgets. People were obsessed over the economies of scale and no one ever talked about economies of little.
However, Seth's view is that when treat people with respect and as individuals, you have the flexibility to react to different changes and circumstances, in a sense you are acting small.
Seth points out that it doesn't matter if you are a big or small businesses, rather he is saying that businesses must focus on how they act, and the way that they operate in their own economic environment. When you act small, you can eventually become big.
Therefore, Seth expresses that in his experience there does not seem to be any core relationship between the size of the business and how the business acts.
One of the significant changes over the past short while, in Seth's view, is that people will now seek out information that they think is either important or interesting to them. As there are more alternatives, people are pickier about what they will participate in. He notes that the minute that you treat the client or consumer like a cog in the wheel, you will find your customer/client immediately looking at another competitive alternative.
Seth makes an important distinction between markets and marketing.
Markets are of course the trading of cash and goods and marketing is the art of telling a story people want to hear and believe. Now with the advent of interactive social media, we are beyond the constraints of focus groups and other relatively inexact resources, and when your story (i.e. marketing) is sent out, it is considered, reviewed, commented on, often in a much broader and more interactive framework, mainly blogging and podcasting.
The challenge is to first craft a story that is authentic and real and then release it to the appropriate business environment, a group of people that want to hear it and have an ability to understand it.
In the process of telling your story/marketing, Seth points out that the story must be clear enough that it can be clearly understood. No one will spread your story/product to friends, if they don't understand it.
Seth uses the example of his own father's business which builds cribs for infants in hospitals. Although his business was growing big, his father had to think outside of the normal business parameters, as his cribs were so well built they were almost indestructible. Brainstorming, he went to one of the nurses at hospital who was a client, and asked her to imagine the perfect infant hospital bed. Those nurses gave his father a comprehensive input which resulted in a $10,000 crib.
This crib however had all the recent technological advancements built in, and while very expensive, the nurses using the bed were so impressed that they became its enthusiastic spokespersons and essentially its most successful salespersons.
The result is that this incredible infant crib has become his father's number one product line.
Seth demonstrated that it is a tremendous asset for businesses to think small and admit at times that you do not have all the answers.
All the best,
Ian and Suzana