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Seth Godin

Seth Godin on how to group people for better results in marketing

Hurried Henry, Careful Carla or Bargain Bill?

In his new book This is Marketing, Seth Godin states that he returns again and again to the question:

Who’s it for?

He writes that this question has a subtle but magic power, the ability to shift the product you make, the story you tell, and where you tell it.

“Once you’re clear on “who’s it’s for,” then doors begin to open for you,” he writes.

After all, he writes, you have no chance of changing everyone.

“Everyone is a lot of people. Everyone is too diverse, too enormous and too indifferent for you to have a chance at changing.  So, you need to change someone. Or perhaps a group of someones,” he explains.

Seth recommends choosing people based on what they dream of, believe, and want, NOT what they look like.

In other words, he suggests in This is Marketing, use psychographics instead of demographics.

Grouping people based on the stories they tell themselves, or worldviews, is using the lens that each of us uses when we see the world, says Seth.

“We can make pretty good assumptions about how someone will react or respond to a piece of news or a work of art if we have evidence about their worldview,” he adds.

To illustrate this, Seth names three different personas we might encounter:

  • Bargain Bill who’s playing a sport when he shops at the same time he wrestles with his narrative about money;
  • Hurried Henry who is always looking at a shortcut and is rarely willing to wait in line, read the directions, or think it through, at least not when he’s travelling for business;
  • Careful Carla who’s suspicious about the taxi driver, sure she’s going to get ripped off by the desk clerk, and would never drink out of the hotel mini bar.

When answering Who’s it For? Seth suggests that we begin with the smallest viable market.

If you could only change 30 people, or 3000 people, you’d be choosy about which people.  Limiting scale focuses your energy on the makeup of the market instead.

To sum up, Seth’s words ring true: Specific is a kind of bravery.

“Specific means accountable. It worked or it didn’t. It matched or it didn’t. It spread or it didn’t. Are you hiding behind everyone or anyone?” he writes.

Whose problem are you solving?


Members of The Growth Faculty have the opportunity to have their questions answered by one of the world's most popular marketing experts by participating in the exclusive livestream webinar with This is Marketing author Seth Godin on Friday, March 22, 2019, at 8.30 a.m. Send your questions via The Growth Faculty Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or email them to  

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