Marketing guru Seth Godin believes that promoting to the generalized masses is now antiquated and that a whole new way of marketing by ideas has come of age.

Talk to the people who are listening and may be those people will tell their friends
Says Godin in an address at TED on How to Standout, “It’s not about interrupting people with big full page ads or insisting on meeting people. But it’s a totally different sort of process that determines which ideas spread and which ones don’t.”

Godin backs up his hypothesis by citing the concept of Otaku which is Japanese for “excessive fan.” Godin believes the new trend in marketing will be to promote the obsessed: i.e., fans, followers and early adopters. He notes, “Talk to the people who are listening and may be those people will tell their friends.” It’s a simple concept that we’ve all familiar with as we watch Apple, Krispy Kreme and music band Pearl Jam use the concept of Otaku to spread their messages through evangelists and ardent followers.


1. Be Remarkable. Change the way people think about a product, change the status quo, be a heretic. Be remarkably different, i.e. be worth making a remark on, and your idea will spread.

2. You Don’t Need Everyone. You just need those that care enough to pass the word on to get you the next round of viral communication. And ideally, you create a culture to grow and propagate your message. In short, create the circumstances to create a movement.

3. Be More Than Just “Very Good.” Anything less than great isn’t that important and doesn’t work because in the age of ideas as no one notices “very good.” Create something that matters.

For the full TED keynote, see:

See also a later related TED piece by Godin entitled The Tribes We Lead in which he recognizes the importance of crafting and telling a great story. Thanks for your insight Seth… we’re part of your choir.

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