In a recent post on his blog, Seth Godin shares the two-word new marketing concept:  First, Ten.

Here’s what he says:

Find ten people.  Ten people who trust you/respect you/need you/listen to you…

Those ten people need what you have to sell, or want it.  And if they love it, you win.  If they love it, they’ll each find you ten more people (or a hundred or a thousand or, perhaps, just three).  Repeat.

If they don’t love it, you need a new product.  Start over.

Your idea spreads.  Your business grows.  Not as fast as you want, but faster than you could ever imagine.

This approach changes the posture and timing of everything you do.

You can no longer market to the anonymous masses.  They’re not anonymous and they’re not masses.  You can only market to people who are willing participants.  Like this group of ten.

Seth is describing marketing in the new world of social media.  Don’t worry, I’ll explain that phrase too.

In short, social media is any “advertising medium” that includes a social component.  When you build a MySpace page for your skateboard company, you’re taking advantage of social media.  When I write posts for my Twitter followers, I’m using social media.  When a company asks their customers for feedback via their FaceBook page, they’re reaching out through social media.

Social media turns the traditional version of media – I create and broadcast a message while you passively receive it – into a “conversation.”  In social media, the message receivers are active and help spread the word, either good or bad.

Mr. Godin thinks this is the wave of the future, and I agree.  To a point.

I think what he’s describing can also be applied to “word of mouth” advertising, which certainly can’t be lumped into the “new marketing” category.

In fact, haven’t all of us entrepreneurs felt the sting of negative opinion (“I don’t like it”, “this product stinks”, “it’s ugly”), whether it’s doled out by the news media, unhappy customers or, unfortunately, our closest friends?

Yes, Seth, people are always excited about products they love, but the “new” social media are just helping people fulfill a much older human compulsion to talk about what they like and talk really loudly about what they don’t.

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