Have I told you that I admire Seth Godin?

Seth Godin’s Purple Cow

In an earlier post, I had talked about “dropping names” and I’ve been astonished by the folks that I’ve encountered online – people like Robert Scoble, Geoff Livingston, Shel Israel, Jim Long, Loic Le Meur, and even Dave Winer. Not to go on a tangent or anything, but I happened to come across Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s book Naked Conversations and found out that the Dave Winer I “know” on Twitter is the same one they’re talking about in the book – the “father of blogging” or something to that effect. Nevertheless, this guy is huge in the online community and I’m “friends” with him?!? I’m totally awe-struck to say the least.

But the one reason why I started this blog was because of my interest in seeing how marketing could evolve in its processes and attraction with the Internet. Yes, it does seem now in 2008, that idea seems rather antiquated, but it’s not as if this concept is a done deal. By all means, it’s evolved over the past few years – from website development, email marketing, online advertising, and application development to where it resides today: social media – podcasting, YouTube’ing, Facebook, MySpace, blogging, user-generated content, and so much more. Marketing has a plethora of ideas at its disposal and I think that there’s much more to be explored. Why? Because marketing is no longer a field that resides solely within one community. With the economy what it is and businesses suffering or not doing as well as they should, the online realm is mighty attractive these days for its low-cost execution and community environment. And why not? There are sites like WhyGoSolo.com that would be ripe for the picking for travel destinations or perhaps community groups to take advantage of. Craigslist would be an excellent opportunity for local businesses to get their word out about their events. Hell, even Seesmic is a good place for businesses to conduct their PR efforts or perhaps even communicate with their audience. Isn’t that basically what marketing is? Communication? Social media can do it well and there are so many avenues to choose from.

But what I’d like to talk about here is who does it best. I used to work in an interactive agency and co-worker who was in charge of branding passed along this article. My eye caught two words: Purple Cow and I passed it off as something that would be rather pointless. But a few weeks later, I stumbled upon Borders and picked up a book by an author who I had never heard of and it was called…Purple Cow. I read the book and was immediately hooked by this guy’s message. Marketing is totally about getting beyond the clutter and creating something unique – so unique that people just have to stop and stare at what this fascinating thing is. The author of this book? Why Seth Godin of course!

I’ve read several of his books and while I consider him an excellent marketer, I’m not sure if I would place him in the tech level as Guy Kawasaki or similar folk, but each person I’ve “encountered” online or in books have their own strengths and I don’t doubt Seth’s knowledge of the online realm for one second (in fact, he’s created an interesting social network himself called Squidoo where you can create “lenses” of things you’re passionate about and share with everyone else) . Seth has published several outstanding books that really continue with the Purple Cow theme. What they say to me is to stop believing in the traditional way of doing marketing and reach out and adapt the new marketing to your needs. If you haven’t read his latest book Meatball Sundae, I highly recommend you do because it talks about how companies should learn to adapt things like blogs, YouTube, and other aspects of the Internet into their culture.

Follow Seth Godin on Twitter or visit his website. If you hear about Seth and he is speaking near you, go ahead and book that ticket. It’ll be worth the money – consider it an investment.

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the stories of the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently the Technology Editor at Flipboard, where he observes what's happening in the space while also identifying new topics of interest. In addition, he co-hosts the weekly internet show "The Created Economy," which focuses on what's happening to creators and influencers. Previously, he was a reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding. Ken also has a newsletter you should also subscribe to called "Filed."