Why magazine publishers need to read Seth Godin’s This is Marketing

If there is one book that needs to be read by everyone working at a niche magazine publisher, it is Seth Godin’s This is Marketing. And this is why.

If there is one book that needs to be read by everyone within your magazine publishing team, it is Seth Godin’s This is Marketing. And this is why.

It’s no secret that Seth Godin is a marketing god. He’s authored more than 20 books, runs marketing seminars and workshops that attract people from all over the world, has a renown daily blog, and hosts a podcast. 

If you work in publishing and you aren’t familiar with his work, you should be. 

His latest book, This is Marketing: You can’t be seen until you learn to see, focuses on the basis of marketing – how to tailor your products and services by listening to your clients’ needs, then how to entice them to buy. It ties together Godin’s theories from his previous books to lay the foundations for building a successful business.  Most of these theories align perfectly with the way that niche magazine publishers do business. 

The information is easy and accessible to read and relevant to all roles working for in magazine publishing: sales, editorial, business development, subscriptions, management, design. It’s information that can be applied: 

  • In-house to polish your own marketing messages
  • By your sales team to better understand your advertisers’ needs and how their packages could be tailored for maximum impact with your audience 
  • By your design team in determining the best design elements for reader engagement
  • By your editorial team in crafting on-point native advertising campaigns 
  • By your subscriptions team to drive higher conversions
  • By your BD and management teams to drive new products or brand extensions. 

Let’s dive in to the biggest takeaways for niche magazine publishers. 

Think about the problem you want to solve, not the product you want to make 

Godin explains that people are driven by emotions. They don’t want to buy your product – they want what it will do for them and how it will make them feel. How will it affect their status in their community? 

He also says that you need to create ‘tension’ to disrupt existing purchasing patterns to sell your product or service. Think about the change that you hope to make, and how this will impact your prospects and ultimately, the culture around what they do. 

Your brand story and marketing messages should focus on this. As should your advertisers’.  

“The way we make things better is by caring enough about those we serve to imagine the story that they need to hear. We need to be generous enough to share that story, so they can take action that they’ll be proud of,” says Godin.  

“Every step of the way, create and relieve tension for your members to meet their goals.” 

Focus on the smallest viable market 

Hone in on the smallest number of people required to make your product profitable. Focus on perfecting how your product meets their needs and fits with their worldview.  

Godin asks: “How few people could find this indispensible and still make it worth doing?” 

By targeting your market in this way, you’re aiming to create a small group of cheerleaders to promote your brand. Give them the tools to make it easy to spread your idea. 

“If every member brings in another, within a few years, you’ll have more members than you can count,” says Godin.  

Show up regularly, consistently, and be generous 

Godin states that it is important to show up – year after year – in a regular and consistent way “to organise and lead and build confidence in the change you seek to make”. 

He says this should be done with humility to earn the trust and attention of your market, and the permission to follow up with them, and warns against ‘spamming’ explaining that the best way to earn attention is to respect your market – give them information that is helpful. 

Continue to focus on your smallest viable market, and look to grow by “going deeper” – look at more ways to serve your existing clients, rather than seeking for more 

“The good news is that we don’t need to rely on the shiniest, latest, digital media shortcut – we have even more powerful, nuanced, and timeless tools at our disposal,” Godin says.  

Do your advertisers get it? 

I don’t need to spell out how closely Godin’s style of marketing aligns with the marketing techniques available to – and offered by – niche magazine publishers. If you are a magazine publisher you’ll get it right away. 

But you may need to highlight the benefits to your advertisers: focus on a targeted market, aim for permission marketing, earn attention and respect by providing value. All goals that you can help with. 

As Godin says “Persistent, consistent and frequent stories, delivered to an aligned audience, will earn attention, trust and action.” 

Seth Godin’s This is Marketing: You can’t be seen until you learn to see is available to purchase here

Full transparency: this is an affiliate link. I earn a small commission on any books purchased using this link. I only promote products that I’ve read, or tried, and feel would be useful in running your business.

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Lyndsie Clark
Lyndsie Clark
Targeted Media Services Network Founder and Editor Lyndsie Clark aims to celebrate and support Australia's print and digital media brands that serve highly engaged, targeted audiences.

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