Jolina Pettice

60 Minutes with Seth Godin and a Meatball Sundae


The Search Engine Strategies conference in Chicago is coming up in just a little over a month and I was given the awesome opportunity to participate in a call with Seth Godin and Kevin Ryan of Incisive Media yesterday where Seth discussed in his new book, Meatball Sundae.

What is a Seth Godin Meatball Sundae you ask? Basically, a meatball sundae is “the unfortunate result of mixing two good ideas”. There are abundant opportunities with today’s online mix of tools that include everything from social networking to social media, SEO, blogs, behavioral advertising and viral techniques that have performed well on their own, but combinations without thinking about the consequences can be disasterous. The problem is that many companies try to use these tools without first getting their organization and products in sync with them. The result is what Seth Godin calls a “meatball sundae”, ie a big, ineffective mess.

As Seth and I are both going to be at SES Chicago (although he’ll be there as a keynote speaker), I thought this might be a good time to pick his brain and become the best of friends! He’s really quite entertaining, so I’m looking forward to his keynote at SES!

Within the webinar, Seth discussed the lessons ‘or threads’ from his book and one really got me thinking….

Horton Hears a Who

In the famed Dr. Seuss book, Horton Hears a Who!, Horton is an elephant who hears a small spec of dust talking to him. The spec is actually a tiny planet, home to the city ‘Who-ville’ and people called Whos. Although Horton can’t see the Whos, he pays attention to them and gladly agrees to offer them protection, even against the ridicule of all the other jungle animals.

One of the threads Seth shared with us today was the need for marketers to shift the focus away from ‘how many’ to ‘who’. Seth went on to explain that too many marketers are obsessed with how many page views, referrals, visitors –and not focused enough on who is seeing that message.

Like Horton, we need to recognize that focusing on the Whos will take a business to the next level, even if the other search marketers laugh at us at first.

Seth summed it up nicely: “Focus on making sure the right people see the right message and there are no limits for your company. Continue to hound on reaching the masses – the same masses who happen to be trained professionals at ignoring you – your business will suffer.”

So how do we do this? We take a lesson from Horton the elephant and pay attention to the Whos!

Look at your online sales pipeline and identify who filled out forms, who converted and where did they come from.

If it’s from industry forums, social sites or PPC then focus efforts on increasing exposure in those online channels and less on driving a quantity visitors from online channels that aren’t converting.

You may not reach as many people, but you’ll reach the ones primed to purchase your products/services.

To learn more about Seth Godin’s perspectives , be sure to sign up for the Chicago Search Engine Strategies conference where Seth will be giving a keynote presentation on Tuesday, December 4 at 9:00am.

Here’s more info about SES Chicago.
When: December 3-6, Dec 7: Training
Where: Chicago Hilton

Fellow SEO blogger Lisa Barone was also on the call and has an excellent write up here.

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  1. Avatar Preston Hill says

    Great post Jolina!

    I agree. I hear all the time about the 50, 60, or 70 thousand page visits per day that bloggers get from Digg or technorati. But most of these visitors are simply curiosity seekers. These people are probably on the page for no more than a few seconds because they are not really a part of the target audience.

    I’m glad someone finally pointed this out because most of what’s being said about web 2.0 is just white noise.

    Thanks again

  2. This, sadly, is the first I’ve heard of the “Meatball Sundae” but I will undoubtedly research it further thanks to your entry.

    That, and the fact that you’ve referenced Dr. Seuss (a household favourite here) and I’m a fan of yours.

    The “Who’s” are paramount, something that it’s incredibly difficult to explain to my SEO clients, as most tend to only be interested in a high volume of traffic.

    I’m so blogging about this too. Nice job.


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