Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

This is marketing by Seth Godin - (audio) book of the week


I keep telling myself I should be posting more book notes… and this time I re-read the book by my favorite marketing guy, Seth Godin and it’s called “This is Marketing” (Amazon or Audible). As mentioned, I read the book twice, after also attending his seminar, called “The Marketing Seminar”. This time around I think I finally got the gist of the book:

This is marketing by Seth Godin - (audio) book of the week

What is marketing for? To make CHANGE happen.

Just like me with Nozbe - I’m trying to convince folks that better productivity and efficient team communication leads to better results. But… this requires them to change habits - to stop using emails, to have fewer and better meetings. So as marketers we should ask ourselves these questions:

Who do you want your customers to become? What kind of promise are you making? Where do you want to lead them? What kind of change (in them) you want to make happen?

Modern marketing is about:

People like us do things like this!

Seth explains that it’s better to focus on psychographics instead of demographics. What do people like this believe? What do they share?

You can’t change everyone. Some don’t believe what you believe, and that’s OK. Have the courage to say: This is for you, but not for you.

This way you’re not wasting anyone’s time, but you’re focused on just delivering the best service and the best experience for your true fans and for the people you really want to (and can) change.

That’s the problem of Nozbe as I always believed that it’s for everyone but if it’s for everyone, it’s for no one.

How do you do marketing? By creating and later releasing TENSION!

Without tension there’s no change. I think I didn’t appreciate the concept of tension enough when I was reading this book the first time.

The idea is that we must make the customer feel a little uncomfortable so they feel the problem, the pain, the issue… and are willing to embrace change.

The key here is to be empathetic and not try to manipulate the customer. So there’s a fine line here.

Here are some helpful phrases to help bringing the change:

So the tension is, that you have to say to the customer that your product is for people who believe THIS and if you don’t, then it’s not for them. And then there’s tension. They either embrace the new belief or just go away.

Find a change worth making and find people worth serving!

How do you get people’s attention? You impact their STATUS.

How does your product make people feel? What’s their status? Are they smarter? Better? Better perceived? Or have more respect?… thanks to your product? How does it elevate their status? Among their peers? Customers? Employees?

How does your product/service make people feel?

I remember talking to one of our Nozbe customers - Sarah Harkleroad and she was explaining that thanks to our product, she has a whole history of interaction with customers and prospects, so when they call her after a while, she can quickly find their task in Nozbe and just pull it up, read the comments, and show to the customer that she remembers their last interaction perfectly! Nozbe impacts her status.

After tension, status it’s time for ENROLLMENT!

You have to enroll the customer in a journey together. Again, because:

People like us do things like this!

So they are on the same page as you are. They identify as having similar problems, similar struggles and are finding your solution to be the one that serves them the best.


How did I think of changing Nozbe narrative after reading this book?

Last year I wrote that:

Nozbe - a simple tool for business owners to get their business and family life organized.

Now after I’ve thought about it for a while, I’ve decided to change it to this:

Nozbe helps smart business owners simply maintain a work-life balance.

Here’s how I think about it:

Also, we want to make sure that these smart business owners are people like us and they believe that:

How do you make change happen?

This book is now one of the other books (like Essentialism) that I have to return to every once in a while to make sure I understand these concepts even better.

People like us do things like this.

And I need to make sure that I clearly define who are people like us and what are things like this.

Especially for a recovering people-pleaser I need to learn to make sure I make it clear who Nozbe is for and who it’s not for.

That’s the hard part.

I do recommend you get this book - you can use my links to get it on either Amazon or Audible.

P.S. Eight Marketing Maxims by Seth

Seth just posted this on his blog which kind of sums up his book:

Thursday, December 14, 2023 /marketing/