What Marketers Can Learn From Jerry Seinfeld

By Richard Fouts | January 24, 2013 | 3 Comments

In an old Seinfeld episode, George laments he does virtually everything wrong. Jerry has some simple advice, “Start doing the opposite.” With marketing pundits all saying, “marketing has been tipped on its head from digital” is there some weird truth in this advice from a comedian?

Jerry’s advice for George starts to make sense when we note the many marketing processes that have switched gears. They started picking up speed of course, when search-enabled, socially networked buyers took charge – seeking advice about what to buy, not from marketers, but from their peers (who as it turns out, they trust the most).

For many digital marketers:

• Graphic design has become experience design
• Inbound marketing is outperforming outbound
• Marketing monologue is out; two way dialogue is in
• Physical events are being replaced by virtual events
• Reach is out, Relevance is in
• Buyer profiles have morphed into buyer personas
• It’s not about who we know, rather what we’re willing to share
• Historical analysis is often supplanted with real time analysis
• Customer adversaries become customer advocates

The list continues (maybe you’d like to add to it). The fire behind this movement became unstoppable as power rapidly shifted from seller – to buyer. Now that customers are empowered with search and social, they don’t need marketing and sales people the way they used to. This challenges everything marketers do of course, but it also creates a different type of opportunity.

With customers doing just about everything online, data driven marketing becomes more science than art. As Adam Sarner notes in his recent post, customers leave breadcrumbs behind them, showing marketers what they are doing, where they are doing it, and who they are doing it with. Many willingly lend information about themselves, knowing that their gift to us will create more relevant offers, that don’t waste their time.

So as you go through your marketing plan, think about Jerry’s advice. Where should you be “doing the opposite?”

3 Comments
  1. 4 February 2013 at 11:01 pm
    Jim Williams says:

    Great post, Richard! Amazing how such a fundamental lesson can come from a show about nothing :-)

    I think another important lesson that the era of the self-educated, savvy, socially connected buyer has taught marketers is that they NEED TO TELL A STORY. It’s amazing how much marketing literature is loaded with facts and figures, metrics and analysis and yet they fail to tell a story. Infographics are all the rage these days, and I love ones that take a unique approach to visualizing data. But many of them lack a personal angle. As a marketer, I always find it refreshing to be on the receiving end of B2B content that tells a story about how someone overcame an obstacle or challenge that leads to personal triumph as well as business success. Do I need stats that talk about bottom (or better yet top-line) improvements – sure. But weave a story in there that I can relate to and I’m more likely to remember the vendor’s name.

  2. 5 August 2013 at 5:04 pm
    Akilah says:

    Thanks for your time for composing “What Marketers Can Learn From Jerry Seinfeld | Richard Fouts”.
    I reallymight definitely wind up being returning for more browsing and writing comments soon enough.
    Thanks, Analisa

  3. 22 November 2013 at 7:28 pm
    Richard Fouts says:

    Thanks guys for tuning in. Stories need to be entertaining. I may do some research around “marketers as entertainers” ….what do you think?

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