Alternative marketing thinking

iCONTRACT

Building A Tribe. The New Face Of Marketing.

Seth Godin gets it. And again. And this time it’s about the job marketing people have do in today’s connected world.

Marketing is now about leadership, he says, about leading a tribe, about assembling and connecting and interacting with a group of people on a mission. Marketing is creating a movement.

You can see that movement at work for Apple. (We discovered this nifty little visualisation feature on iTunes through a tribe we follow called Geek Dads). But you can also see it in the US presidential election and in the impassioned pleas of Basecamp users in search of a new feature or in the way emerging churches market themselves.

The new tools of social media don’t work when you just spend money on them, they work when they inspire passion in people (real people). And that passion is generated by great products and visionary leadership.

Seth gives Grateful Dead for pioneering the concept of tribes. In addition to grossing hundreds of millions of dollars during their career, the Dead helped us understand how tribes work. They didn’t succeed by selling records (they only had one top 40 album). Instead, they succeeded by attracting and leading a tribe.

And he believes that humans are hardwired to form tribes. We need to belong. One of the most powerful and successful survival mechanisms we have at our disposal is to be part of a tribe, to contribute to (and take from) a group of like-minded people. We are drawn to leaders and their ideas, and we can’t resist the rush of belonging or the thrill of the new.

We want to belong not to just one tribe, it turns out, but to many. And if you give us tools and make it easy, we’ll keep joining. Tribes make our lives better, and leading a tribe is the best life of all.

Seth moves on to leadership and talks about how the barriers to leadership have fallen. Ten years ago, if you wanted to publish a book, you needed to find a publisher that would say “yes” to your idea. No publisher, no book. Today, of course, you can publish a book all by yourself. Just visit Lulu and you’re done. Without someone to say yes, all that’s left are unpublished writers who tell themselves no. Leadership is now like that. No one gives you permission or approval or a permit to lead. You can just do it. The only one who can say no is you.

He believes that the brave but cheap leadership that leads to passionate movements always (always!) defeats the top-down, mediocre, slow-moving and very expensive techniques we all grew up with.

Here are some people who decided to take leadership in their own hands. Jud Laipply Noah Kalina Rhodri Marsden. Alex Tew and a million more…

This story has been wholly adapted from this change this manifesto by Seth Godin.

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