The Next Thing: Leadership
by Seth Godin
(from his blog)
A great article going back almost a year now. Provided courtesy of Chris Gale (we worked together for nearly 10 years through different businesses) – his main business is now http://www.blossomyears.co.uk/
Social medias growth in the last three years, though, gives marketers an inkling that there may be something else going on. Sure, they can run ads on Facebook, but they dont work. Social media, it turns out, isnt about aggregating audiences so you can yell at them about the junk you want to sell. Social media, in fact, is a basic human need, revealed digitally online. We want to be connected, to make a difference, to matter, to be missed. We want to belong, and yes, we want to be led.
My new book is called Tribes and it comes out today. I started to write a leadership book but discovered that I was actually writing a marketing book. (Either that, or I started to write a marketing book and ended up writing about leadership, I cant remember). Either way, what I discovered in writing it is this: The next frontier of marketing is in leading groups of people who are working together to get somewhere.
As someone who was buying millions of dollars of magazine ads just 24 years ago, this is a lot of change to swallow. And its also the biggest opportunity for good/meaning/success that I can imagine. More details are here.
Things have changed, far more dramatically than most people realize. Not just what marketers buy, but what the media does all day, and what marketers build, and what we get paid to do and what and where we pay attention…
Heres the wager: A year from now, 10/16/09, will you be leading a tribe of people? Will you be creating stories, connecting people, giving them a platform and making things better for people who care about each other? Im betting you will.
Leadesrhip is now the strongest marketing strategy.
Yelling with gusto used to be the best way to advertise your wares. There was plenty of media and if you had plenty of money, you were set.
Today, of course, yelling doesnt work so well.
What works is leading. Leading a (relatively) small group of people. Taking them somewhere theyd like to go. Connecting them to one another.
I say relatively because there are few products that need everyone in order to succeed. A tiny sliver of the market is enough. Bill Niman used to run Niman Ranch, a cooperative raising meat for fancy restaurants and markets. That was already a sliver of the huge huge market for meat. He moved on to start BN, a 1000 acre farm raising goats for a subset of that subset. Its enough.
Its enough if the tribe you lead knows about you and cares about you and wants to follow you. Its enough if your leadership changes things, galvanizes the audience and puts the status quo under stress. And its enough if the leadership you provide makes a difference.
Go down the list of online success stories. The big winners are organizations that give tribes of people a platform to connect.
Go down the list of fashion businesses or business to business organizations. Same thing. Charities, too. Churches, certainly.
Its so tempting to believe that we are merely broadcasters, putting together a play list and hurtling it out to the rest of the world. Louder is better. But were not. Now were leaders.
People want to connect. They want you to do the connecting.
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