As regular visitors to this blog will know, I’m a big fan of Seth Godin.
There are a million online descriptions about Seth, so if you don’t know much about him I’d suggest that you spend a few minutes on Google to find out more. Suffice to say that I find Seth’s words very inspirational, poignant and philosophical.
So when I heard that Seth had published a new book, We Are All Weird, it didn’t take much for me to hit the ‘Buy” button on Amazon.
We Are All Weird expounds on Seth’s premise that the age of one-size-fits-all mass marketing is dead – or dying. In the “old days”, manufacturing (and therefore marketing) was more concerned with producing goods and services that the ‘vast majority’ could use (and buy). No-one was concerned with the peripheral market sectors that existed around the ‘sweet-spot.’
Today, thanks to a number of social, technological and cultural factors, we as consumers have the luxury to think of ourselves as “different” from the norm. Special, eccentric, kooky, atypical: Weird, to use Seth’s description. We like to have choice, to associate with people that have similar tastes and values that we do. Thanks to technology, it’s now easy to find those people.
Seth argues that, as marketers, aiming our efforts at the “masses” is a futile exercise. The incumbent players that occupy the “middle-of-the-road” are masters at their craft, own their market space, and can snap you like a twig with the vast marketing budgets at their disposal. By producing and marketing “mass” products or services, you’re selling the same stuff as everyone else. There’s no differentiation in the minds of your audience, so the vendor with the loudest voice wins.
I had really enjoyed a previous book of his, Linchpin (and not just because there’s a mugshot of me on the book’s dustjacket – which there is!) As a result, I had high hopes of of his new work. Perhaps too high, as it turns out.
It could be the fact that, since I am already quite familiar with his ideas, I’m not Seth’s target market for the book. But I found that even at a svelte 97 pages We Are All Weird is overly long for the (nonetheless important) point that he is making. If you’ve read Seth’s blog, read some of his other books, or watched any videos of him online, then you (like me) have probably already absorbed as much as you’d take away from reading this.
Don’t get me wrong: the message of the book is sound. It’s important and it’s argued well. It just seems to me that it could have been said in half the time. We Are All Weird feels like an expanded blog post rather than a book.
I wish that I’d bought the Kindle version, priced at a respectable €5.99 / $7.99 rather than paying €18.03 / $16.50 for the hardback.