I had the pleasure of recently interviewing Seth Godin on my new podcast, What’s Next! Seth and I have been friends for years – and our banter about the role of marketing in today’s competitive business environment, customer experience as the new competitive battleground, and What’s Next! for marketers is not to be missed.
For me, pontificating about “What’s Next” is always a fun topic, but Seth is quick to bring me right back to reality and talk about today. He continues to be a strong proponent of the fact that ‘marketers tell stories – they don’t run ads’ and those stories show up in ways that are large and small. He also believes that the job of marketers is not to sell what the factory makes but to serve the people they aspire to serve.
An excellent example of this in action was a story Seth shared about eating at a diner in New York called Union Square Cafe, owned by Danny Meyer, who started Shake Shack. Connecting with customers and employees must transcend the brand and make its way into the fabric of who you are and what you do. At this restaurant, they have named a loaf of bread after a blog post that Seth wrote seven years ago called Sprezzatura. The Italian word, “sprezzatura,” means doing the important work and making it seem effortless, its flair and generosity all rolled into one. According to Seth, that’s the model Danny Meyer is building. The reality is every restaurant in New York has access to all the same ingredients and all the same staff so how can you come out ahead? You have to focus on more than the common denominators; the magic comes when your experience dwarfs your competition.
The best way to achieve sprezzatura is to get into the field, tell the story, and see how it actually works. From there, you can gauge what is working and what needs to change. Just like you can’t learn to swim from a book, you can’t learn to market (or sell!) without first getting out there and doing it.
The greatest sales force a business has is the customer advocating on their behalf. With Sprezzatura as the instinctive trait, the customer experience becomes the human side of your business and your business’ future.
Seth is passionate about the role marketing plays in spreading ideas but is quick to point out you have to show up every day, even if you’re not at the place where you will end your career. You still have to do the work you hope to do – who are you becoming is what’s important. You’re becoming the kind of person and marketer you’re proud of. And over time it will leave trails, and it will lead you to grow into somebody you’re glad you became.
Have a listen to our conversation and subscribe to the What’s Next! podcast on iTunes