Good morning. I awoke to emails from Seth Godin who I recently mentioned that I have been reading his latest book Poke The Box. Anyway, Seth just announced this morning through The Domino Project that his latest book, We Are All Weird is available for sale immediately. And in true marketing fashion, he is educating as he is marketing.
This is a little of what was in the email I received this morning:
Conventional publishing wisdom says that the first 10,000 copies are the hardest. In fact, you don’t make money until after that. The goal is to prime the pump and then, if you get lucky, sell millions and millions of hardcovers, day after day, year after year. That’s what pays the bills at all the large publishing houses.
The thing is, digital is better at infinity than paper ever will be. Digital is easy to keep in stock, easy to replenish, easy to connect with. Paper, on the other hand, benefits from scarcity. If you know that there are only a few books and then they’re gone, you’re more likely to hurry up, more likely to grab yours now, more likely to treasure it once you get it. And in a digital world, a book that’s not worth treasuring is not worth owning, is it?
Scarcity Drives Demand
For years, my husband Steve has followed the scarcity marketing approach. From him hailing the pizza place somewhere in or around Philadelphia that we HAD to visit with his friends Rick & Julie Moore who only make so many pizza pies on a Friday or Saturday night that people will line up down the street to get one and when their number is sold out for the evening, you can’t get one. It is the only place that Steve get’s a white pizza but it made a big impression on him and I enjoyed it too. Steve’s asleep as I write this or I would ask him the name of the place.
I have to plead guilty to this addiction. Especially within our photography business and my passion for all things photography related, I have fallen “victim” to this neurosis that if I don’t get this info, prop, marketing gizmo, photography purchase this very minute while it is on sale, my world won’t be as great.
Mr. Godin is only making 11,000 copies available in hard copy and the rest of it’s exposure can be in digital form for Kindles and other reading devices. I wonder how many followers total he has through his website(s) and I’m curious what percentage the 11,000 number represents. Think about it – if he has 30,000 followers, how quickly will he sell out the 11,000 copies? If he has 50,000 followers?
A New Condition
But I’m either in the recovery phase or just saturated because now it seems that every email I receive is someone wanting me to spend money – to give them money for something that they say will make my life better.
I have yet to share that I received three emails so far this morning on this book release. The quote from above came from an email sent at 1:50 am (from The Donimo Project), then I received an email from Amazon.com at 4:51 am saying New from Seth Godin since I did buy one of his books from them. And then at 5:33 am I received my daily email from Seth about We Are All Weird. Now granted, I invited all of this but from my days in marketing for American Airlines – this is definitely a surround sound experience. And I of course am his target market.
Please let me say that I am NOT knocking Mr. Godin and his approach. Frankly, I find it incredibly brilliant and am just wanting to showcase what he is doing and how we might learn from it. The question is – do I want to invest to be one of the people who actually has a hard copy on my already overcrowded book shelf?
The Tease and Tom’s Shoes
Once on Amazon.com, they have the Click to Look Inside feature to really draw you in.
I chose to with the “Surprise Me” look inside and I (as God would have it) landed on an excerpt about “building tribes” versus the traditional mass marketing and using Tom’s Shoes as an example. And ironically I have been thinking that I need to write about Tom’s Shoes. Why? Because since I have started to substitute teach I have seen more Tom’s shoes than ever before. Mainly on the children but also on mothers and teachers.
In the excerpt, Mr. Godin says the story of Tom’s Shoes is “largely misunderstood” but because I’m just looking at the teaser, I can’t read the whole story. What the teaser did reveal is what I have been aware of – that for every shoe sold, a pair of Tom’s is given to someone in another part of the world who doe not have shoes. So to me, every time I see someone wearing Tom’s, I see a giver (or someone in their family who is a giver).
Mr. Godin does go into more detail to compare how the guy behind Tom’s Shoes Blake Mycoskie created and cares for a tribe and does not try to sell to mass amounts of people through major ad campaigns. Mr. Mycoskie created a product / movement that addresses other “weird” people like him who want to help others with something as simple a slip on shoes. And the “weird” people who buy and wear Tom’s Shoes have embraced them like the latest fashion trend – which in a positive fashion means more shoes for the shoeless people that Mr. Blake reaches. Now from the website, I see Tom’s Shoes has expanded to other products including eyewear which benefits people with eye sight issues.
Are You Weird?
Recently through our business we were approached by financial executives in a group who wanted us to give them a discount to photograph their members for promotional photography to be used in recruiting other financial executives. Now these were top level executives and the plea for a discount seemed ironic to me – this was actually the third time they have asked us to work for them and needed a discount.
After years of serving in and participating with a variety of professional groups from photography groups to event and catering industry groups, rarely was a discount requested and most all of these affiliations were small businesses who would gladly volunteer there time time or representatives of a bigger company (hotel, meeting facility, catering group). But to hear from executives of some of supposedly the top accounting firms in the Dallas / Fort Worth who cater to connecting with other executives with the same financial means needing a small independent business to discount their services continues to surprise me. But maybe my weird is different than their weird.
So to try and connect our weirdnesses, I proposed that we could give them x discount if in turn, they would allow me to speak at one of their meetings about the upcoming sponsorship needs for a project I am working on with PAL (Preparing for Adult Living) through the local metroplex Child Protective Services. We are organizing a one day Teen Conference for these at risk youths aged 16 and up who will more than likely age out of foster care. I’ll go into more detail about this venture later but as part of the emphasis of the day is managing money, having financial executives participate or at least be aware and share this opportunity with others in their workplaces / communities made a lot of sense to me.
I was commended for my offer of generosity but they found another photographer to assist them and then did not respond to my plea for them to include something in their newsletter about this opportunity to help. So I guess I am a different kind of weird than either of this group or of the powers that be who would distribute this message to group members who might be weird like me.
To Buy or Not to Buy?
Personally I’m going to wait. Not that I don’t think the product isn’t worth it or as powerful as Mr. Godin promotes. It is more a matter of where I am at the moment. I have a close friend battling an addiction and as I mentioned above, my immediate reaction would be to given in and buy without a second thought. But if she can be strong, so can I. And yes, I could fix my email so such temptations didn’t arrive in my “mailbox” every day but this too is an exercise to strengthen me and sometimes I do give in.
Now to just employ what I learn for myself and others. So I guess I need to figure out what many of my weirdnesses are so that I can find the right groups of weirdos to work with daily.