Published by Portfolio on September 15th 2015
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I like this time when things are slow enough to start demolishing my To Read tower. That’s why I’ve just read a book from 2011 – We Are All Weird by Seth Godin.
Like all of Seth’s work, it’s a quick, light read, while challenging the status quo. Any good marketer has already moved beyond mass advertising, and onto “weird”. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many good marketers.
In this book, Seth gives some colorful examples to show that we now need to target tribes, and markets have shrunk to become more discerning. He takes the standard market bell curve and shows how since 1977 the curve has flattened as more “weird” or non-normal customers have changed the distribution. While reading this, I wondered if the curve has changed or if we just need to acknowledge multiples “normals”.
He uses the term weird to define anything different from the typical normal. Remember those days when we actually watched television on a TV, and on the station’s schedule? That’s normal. Normal is rushing to the mall from Thanksgiving dinner to ensure you get the best deals because we’ve been conditioned to do so. This is the kind of behavior that we, as marketers, have grown to love. It’s predictable. It’s reliable. It’s now also dying.
Amusingly, in We Are All Weird, Seth does the ultimate “normal” thing for business book authors. The last chapter is the ranty, soapbox chapter that doesn’t seem to fit, but authors seem to insist on. I only skimmed it. It added new ideas when the book was concluding, but didn’t add value. You can skip it.
I do love the use of a traditional theory to show why we need to change our thinking, and even three years later in a fast-paced industry not enough have got the message.
Who Is We Are All Weird For?
Probably not for social media marketers, because that’s a group that understands how targeting and human behavior has changed. This book would help traditional advertisers, and those doing marketing but either hasn’t got a marketing degree or has studied marketing. An hour reading will help them understand the underlying theory.
We Are All Weird is another book confirming my marketing ideologies, and I think I need to break from that. If anyone can recommend any good marketing books that will challenge my worldview, please let me know.