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Seth Godin on why marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department

This has been my favourite marketing lecture for a few years now so I'm not sure why I haven't posted about it yet. It's a really stunningly good talk from marketing expert Seth Godin, who you may know from his TED appearances. It's an hour long, but surprisingly easy to watch all in one go.

The talk was delivered in 2008 to a conference of software developers, but his expertise and message cuts right across multiple industries and has huge relevance to the film business and particularly to you and me. I strongly feel the industry will soon be divided into people who understand this stuff and succeed... and those who don't, and repeatedly fail to stand out in the marketplace.

His basic thesis is that as content creators we have to give up forever the idea that we can just make our product and then hand it off to someone else to figure out how to sell it. Any film producer who's laboured for years and/or put their own money into making a film, only to fail to sign a sales agent or find distribution will understand the significance of this.

But I'll go further: with global online distribution at our fingertips we now have an unprecedented opportunity to reach audiences just as large as any Hollywood studio's. Not that we need to of course – our budgets are far lower – but by getting people to talk about our films, and share them using (for instance) the Distrify player, we create the option of opening up huge markets.

Self-distribution aside – what does your sales agent want you to bring them every single time? Simply put they want something they can sell to their buyer. And their buyer wants something they can sell to their buyer, and so on down the line. If you always give your customer something they think they can sell, you will always be able to make money. This simple concept alone, if understood universally within the film industry, would revolutionise the supply-chain and create a lot more prosperity for everyone virtually overnight.

And what's the best way to achieve this? Create something remarkable. Literally something that, while in some vague genre sense feels comfortably familiar, is simultaneously something that people feel compelled to remark upon. Similar but Different. Build it into your film from the outset. I'll let Seth take it from here, as he explains why marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department:

This is how the studios do it. This does not apply to us.

We all live on Highway 11. Do something remarkable.

Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.