How marketing can help you build meaningful customer relationships

Are you wondering how to market your business and connect with your customers? As I was reading This is Marketing by Seth Godin, he discusses how marketing is just another way to connect with people and solve their problems. This book is filled with useful information and is an accessible way to learn more about marketing. It seems like a book that you would be able to re-read and each time have different key takeaways or find new interesting information. Continue reading to find out what points of the book stood out to me.

Photo by Tom Barrett | Accessed on

Main Impacts

These are the three points that stood out the most to me:

  1. Find your niche
  2. Get comfortable saying “this isn’t for you”
  3. Connect your product to a desire

Find your niche

I know this is a common phrase, but this was hugely emphasized in the book, you need to find your niche.

Interestingly, your niche should be as small as possible. Don’t be afraid to exclude people, or to only appeal to a select group of people. You want to find “people like us”, the individuals who are actually interested in what you’re doing.

You want to make your niche as small as possible, while still profitable.

Most importantly, it doesn’t take that many people to have a profitable business, especially if you have followers that actually want to interact with your content. I’ve heard people mention that you only really need around 1,000 dedicated followers to make a reasonable living. The key aspect is that you’re providing value for those interested in your work, so that they want to buy what you’re producing.

In this way, quality over quantity of followers is vital. Having 1,000 people who actually want to buy your products is far more valuable than having 10,000 people who barely notice your content. Those that actively engage with your content and look forward to what you produce will want to support your work, and it becomes a mutually beneficial relationship.

You want to find people who resonate with you and your work. Focus on a niche, find your people, and build a community.

Get comfortable saying “this isn’t for you”

You want to target the right people for your business, it won’t be everybody, and that’s okay. When you get comfortable saying “this isn’t for you”, it will help you focus on building meaningful relationships with the right people.

This goes hand-in-hand with the point above of finding your niche. It’s just as important to understand who your content is NOT for. It’s okay to say “this isn’t for you”, people appreciate that you’re not lying to them or trying to sell them something they don’t need. Being honest about who your work will benefit and what they will get from it, builds trust with anyone who interacts with you.

As mentioned above, you do want to cultivate a dedicated following, which is not everybody. If you stop catering to people outside your niche, you’re able to focus on the ones that really want to be there, which is better for everyone.

I found this really powerful, because part of us feels like we want to just have everyone following and supporting our work. We hear so much about finding your niche, but the idea of getting comfortable turning people away is very different than targeting certain individuals. It reframes the concept from a passive lack of focus on other people, to an active rejection of those that won’t benefit or find value in your work.

I think it’s a powerful way to understand your audience and be content with a smaller but more dedicated following.

Connect your product to a desire

We often hear how it’s best to ensure your product or service is solving someone’s problem, and that makes sense. If you are able to solve someone’s problem (ensuing they acknowledge it is a problem) then it’s easier to sell it to them, as you’re showing the value and purpose of what you’re selling.

But I found this took it a step further, it’s not just about solving a problem, but connecting that problem to an innate desire. If you can show how your product or service not only solves a surface level problem, but also connects to an internal personal desire, then the product or service becomes even more appealing.

Internal personal desires can be things like social status, personal improvement, or something moral/ethical, like helping to save the earth by being environmentally friendly. By connecting your product to both the surface level problem (such as dirty dishes) and a moral desire to save the world from chemicals (environmentally friendly), you make a deeper connection with the customer. It may make your ideal customer more specific (narrower focus), but as mentioned above, that’s usually a good thing.

Generally, the more emotional you can make it, the easier it is to sell. The emotional appeal builds a strong connection and makes your product or service stand out. They look to solve their physical problems, but buy products or services based off of their emotions or personal philosophy.

Final thoughts

I found this book surprisingly hopeful and inspiring. Marketing doesn’t need to be complicated and you don’t want to please everyone. In a way, parts of this book felt counter-intuitive, such actively cultivating a very small audience and being willing to turn people away. You think you need to appeal to as many people as possible, but that’s not how you’ll be successful. When you try to please everyone, you tend to dilute what you create to make it more palatable for everyone, rather than tailoring it to those who would truly appreciate it.

I found this a useful reframe of what it really means to build a successful business. A successful business is targeted at a specific audience to suit their needs. It does not appeal to everybody and that’s okay.

Have you read this book? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!