BOOK REVIEW: This is Marketing by Seth Godin

book review -- this is marketing by seth godin

THIS IS MARKETING: You Can’t be Seen Until You Learn to See

This is Marketing by Seth Godin is not a down-to-earth practical guide to marketing. It’s big-picture stuff and tends to chop and change ideas rather quickly. That said, I gave it 4 stars (the ideas in the book that is).

Marketing is not a battle, and it’s not a war or even a contest. Marketing is the generous act of helping someone solve a problem. Their problem.

I started out loving this book. It was filling my head with inspiring quotes and feel-good marketing idealism, but by the time I was 3/4 of the way through, I’d grown tired of the author’s global musings and craving some practical advice I could implement into my small business right away.

If you can bring someone belonging, connection, peace of mind, status, or of the other most desired emotion, you’ve done something worthwhile. The thing you sell is simply a road to achieve those emotions, and we let everyone down when we focus on the tactics, not the outcomes.

You can see from the quotes that Seth Godin challenges the idea of marketing as cheap advertising and quick sales, and seeks to raise the bar. It does contain gold nuggets of great advice (especially regarding permission-based marketing). But overall This is Marketing tends to read like twenty-three different blog posts that have been bound together — rather than a cohesive book that starts with an idea, then builds a convincing argument (and story) through each chapter.

I give the ideas in the book 4/5 stars, and the way the book is written 2/5 stars. Good writing isn’t pouring a heap of ideas out at random, and Mr Godin would have been better to spend a little longer binding his ideas into a cohesive piece rather than trotting out a book that reads more like a brainstorming session.

I”m not saying that just to be deliberately critical, I’d just like to see his ideas written in a way that would appeal (and be understood) by a wider audience. After all, great ideas can only change the world when the people at the other end can understand (and apply) them.

It doesn’t make any sense to make a key and then run around looking for a lock to open. The only productive solution is to find a lock and then fashion a key.

PS: I think very professional marketer in the world should read this book, but my review is directed at my audience of small business owners who are seeking more nuts and bolts information.

5 responses to “BOOK REVIEW: This is Marketing by Seth Godin”

  1. dipsviewpoints Avatar

    Great post , thoroughly enjoyed..
    Seth Godin’s great quotes are a great source of inspiration and motivation.

  2. Yacoob Avatar

    I’m one fifth through and feel the same so far. I love the ideas and philosophy, but it just feels like a giant collection of his blog posts and podcasts. Doesn’t feel like it’s building to something practical.

    Maybe I’ll be proven wrong by the end…

    1. Melinda J. Irvine Avatar

      Let me know what you think when you’ve finished. 1/5 of the way through I was still in love with it, but the last 1/5 was struggling.

      Not taking away from Seth Godin, but I was hoping for a more practical guide that I could set to work.

      Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Kerstin Avatar

    Thanks Mel for sharing this. I felt the same about the writing but great ideas for sure and worth a read because he knows what he’s talking about!

    1. Melinda J. Irvine Avatar

      Hi Kerstin, definitely worth the read. All the best for 2020. Mel.