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The Day I Met Seth Godin

Seth Godin Chat

In 2009 I was at a point in my marketing agency career that I knew I would have at least a small amount of staying power.

Not that I was necessarily a big shot, but being booked for two pretty sizable speaking engagements taking me to the exotic locales of Minneapolis and NYC gets you feeling pretty proud.

In Minnesota, I happened to be presenting about display advertising in the session prior to Seth Godin. We were sitting next to each other in the speakers lounge as I spent a few minutes focusing on my notes. Actually, he sat next to me in a fuss as he was frustrated with the connectivity and the lack of attention he was receiving from the event hosts; he disrupted me from my meditative state.

Recognizing him immediately, I took the opportunity to introduce myself. We shook hands and I asked where he was from, ‘New York’ being the answer. Procuring traditional small talk, I mentioned that I would be in NYC within the following few weeks to sit on a Behavioral Retargeting panel.

‘What do you expect the weather to be like?’ I coyly asked.
In response, he spouted the canned snark, ‘I have a deal with the local weatherman that they can’t talk about Social Media, and I don’t predict the weather.’

Well, great, I had one chance to make friends with the most recognizable Digital Marketing talking-head in the country and I piss him off.

I’ve thought long and hard about that interaction since and wondered where it all went wrong. Buddha might say that it didn’t go wrong at all since I learned something. It went wrong.

In some imaginary world, I impress Mr. Godin into believing I am his heir to the digital marketing throne, he legally adopts me, I shave my head and am groomed into his protege. Afterwards I sell 1 million books worldwide with my face on the front cover and get frequent calls from CNN for my valuable input.

What went wrong?

The answer now is as clear as day, I gave him an opportunity to retort a canned response with my objective question. Had I asked him to produce a subjective statement, he would have likely been more engaged and able to offer real insight. Lo and behold, I would have simply needed to ask him what his favorite midtown Pizza is. That’s it! It’s not an answer I can easily Google and find out for myself in 2 seconds because I will be flooded with differing opinions. Seth’s midtown pizza recommendation would illicit a response based on self-discovery, of which is one of the strongest sharing influences.

Yelp is full of independent reviews from people that have discovered their new favorite (or least favorite) restaurant, but nobody keeps a running tally on individual weather reports. People are passionate about responses that could have a reasonable amount of contest or debate.

The same holds true when seeking blog or social engagement. You can enhance the response rate of your content by seeking reader responses that are fed by self-discovery and or debatability.

What is the best pizza in your neighborhood, anyways?

The Day I Met Seth Godin

In 2009 I was at a point in my marketing agency career that I knew I would have at least...
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