Digital Marketing

Seth Godin's Action Theory of Modern Marketing

November 2015
Che Stevenson

In today's online connected world the old theories of marketing are breaking down. Seth Godin is famous for tearing down those established ways of thinking and now for the first time he steps up and offers an alternative: the Action Theory of Modern Marketing.

The above graphic is our visual interpretation of the theory. The following summary is paraphrased from Seth Godin's excellent Skillshare course "The Modern Marketing Workshop".


Emotions drive our desires. To truly connect and activate consumers, we must tap into their emotions.

Today most people have everything they need – the basic needs of food, water and shelter are more than catered for. No matter how important our product or service seems to us to be, it is probably fundamentally a want rather than a need. In reality, we only need a marketer when we want to be in the business of wants.

People don't trust marketers anymore, too many times have they been let down by false promises. It is only by addressing strong emotions within our target market that we will truly connect and cut through.


Our aim is to cause our customers to change. Change their behaviour, change the way they think.

It is through this change, spurred on by our brand, that the bond with our customers is forged.

When we look around us we can see that great brands create change in their customers. You can understand the success of Apple by seeing them as a brand that wants to give their customers better taste. After buying Apple products, your sense of style has changed, and other products start to look tacky.


Gain the privilege to alert our customers to new developments, products and services.

Once we have the customer's permission to send them anticipated, personal, and relevant messages we can be in the business of finding products for our customers, rather than finding customers for our products. Now our asset is "I can whisper to the people that have already decided to trust me.".


Get people to tell each other about our product or service.

If we make it so that people want to share their experience with us, then the marketer's job is pretty much done. Our customers will advocate for our brand and we will continue to grow organically.

So now we can really think of marketing as "Spending money to make something worth sharing."

If you find this theory interesting, Seth's "The Modern Marketing Workshop" online course is well worth doing. Click this link to enroll and get $10 off the course (making it just $9 – amazing value!).

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