Interview with Seth Godin on Marketing and the Wedding Industry

Friday, May 07, 2010

seth godinBusiness expert Seth Godin was kind enough to answer a few questions for Think Splendid on social media and marketing as it relates to the wedding industry. Here is my interview with him:

Liene: The wedding industry is dynamic in that it has a very low barrier to entry, is full of incredibly creative people, is largely comprised of solo-entrepreneurs with small budgets without VC funding or loans, and the target client is a one-time sale (hopefully). When talent abounds and the cost to compete is low, what piece of advice would you give to wedding professionals who are looking to be indispensable or stand apart from the rest of the crowd?

Seth Godin: The single most important thing you can do is create a reputation that leads to the following conversation:

Bride, "I just got engaged!"
Friend, "Oh, you need to call [you]."

Once you realize that this is 90% of your future, you will act accordingly. Why would that friend mention you? Because you're pretty good? Pretty cheap? Pretty nice? I don't think so.

Liene: The explosion of professional wedding blogs, which are primarily photo-based rather than text-based, has brought with it some controversy as it relates to intellectual property. While many blogs have a strict submission policy in order to protect copyright, many others have been able to monetize their blogs through advertising by using photos for content that were "right-clicked" from a photographer's site or blog without permission and without paying for the photos. What are your thoughts on the effect of social media on the future of intellectual property and copyright? Is protecting intellectual property a losing battle?

Seth Godin: Well, you can probably monetize through theft a little, but it's hard to imagine someone actually making a significant living doing this. At the same time, it's quite true that there's no longer a lucrative way to charge for photo use online--there are just too many free alternatives. So, you can fight (and spend time and money doing so) or you can race to become ubiquitous. Hard to embrace, but in fact when you do it (see the Shepard Fairey Obama virus as an example) then you hit a home run.

Liene: What are some of the negative effects you feel social media has had on the way people do business, if any? Are there fundamentals from the "offline world" that businesses have forgotten along the way?

Seth Godin: Anonymous criticism is a bane. Drive by attention means conversion is more difficult. Gang warfare with bullies yelling at you is no fun either.

I think the first step is to ignore anyone who is anonymous. Focus on your fans. Elevate them. Pamper them.

Liene: Many people claim social media is about being transparent and as a result often share what is viewed as "too much information", both on a business and personal level. What are your thoughts on transparency and having boundaries online?

Seth Godin: We're still humans. Just because it's a keyboard doesn't mean there isn't someone at the other end, and yes, what you say and do stays out there forever . . . .

Liene: You update your blog daily and are known for saying "ideas that spread, win". Do you have any tips for staying focused and motivated to come up with quality content on a consistent basis?

Seth Godin: It's a little like eating lunch on a regular basis or breathing on a regular basis. Once you make it a habit, it's actually not so hard!

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