Whether you’re thriving in your career or feeling a little stuck, it helps to look to those who have forged their own path in new and innovative ways. These three marketing thought leaders are sure to spark inspiration.
To see marketing through a new lens, seek out the work of Seth Godin. The entrepreneur and author has a unique perspective on marketing and its purpose. And he shares that information through 20 best-selling books and a widely read blog that has been updated daily for over a decade (that’s more than 7,000 posts, for those keeping count). He’s known for pioneering ideas such as permission marketing, which directly challenges the more common interruption marketing that overloads consumers with ads.
To Godin, marketing often boils down to a story to tell or problem to be solved. He uses as an example a problem he encountered during a trip to India with VisionSpring, which sells affordable glasses in developing countries. He noticed that only a third of those who tried on glasses proceeded to buy them. Why was that? Those trying on glasses needed them, and the price was within reach. So he reframed (no pun intended) the challenge and instead handed people their new glasses and said, “If they work and you like them, please pay us three dollars. If you don’t, give them back.” The result? Sales doubled, simply by changing the scenario from paying to have something to paying to keep it. And in doing so, they helped twice as many people see clearly.
Godin believes in working to fix systemic problems, not just to address emergencies. He’s written and spoken about the need for nonprofits to challenge the status quo and to embrace failure as an unavoidable part of innovation.
If you want to be inspired, look no further than author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek. He describes himself as an “unshakable optimist” and has made a career of motivating both leaders and organizations. Sinek may be best known for his 2009 TEDx talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action. It’s the second-most-watched TED talk of all time (no big deal), with over 53 million views. During his talk, he explains how the best leaders are able to articulate the “why” of what they do.
Interestingly, that talk led him to new ideas on trust – ideas that became more concrete following a trip to a military base in Afghanistan, where he was bumped from his flight and had no idea when he might get home. At first he panicked, but then he realized his reaction was like a selfish boss, more concerned with himself than others. When he finally was able to fly home, in the belly of a cargo plane, he shared the trip with the flag-draped casket of a fallen soldier. He called that experience an honour, and it solidified his thoughts on trust – not just through actions, but through environment, too – which eventually became a book, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t, and another TED talk that, you guessed it, has been viewed millions of times.
In short, Sinek wants us to find our dream job – one that inspires us, makes us feel safe, and has incredible leadership at its core.
An eternal optimist who has helped the leaders of countless companies to be better at leading, Sinek is also active in the nonprofit world, which he prefers to call the for-impact world.
When Oprah herself dubs someone a thought leader, we sit up and take notice. That’s why we can’t help but pay attention to best-selling author and entrepreneur Marie Forleo. Her goal is to inspire others to find fulfillment through her books such as Everything is Figureoutable, YouTube web series MarieTV, podcast, and online business school.
Her trajectory was an indirect route: She waited tables, cleaned toilets, worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, and was even one of the world’s first Nike Elite Dance Athletes before she discovered her niche. So how did she end up founding one of Inc.’s 500 fastest-growing companies? Well, if you asked her, she’d tell you this: optimism. It’s an outlook that helped lift the self-made millionaire out of debt and turned her into a global brand that inspires many. Oh, and earned her a nod of approval from none other than Oprah Winfrey.
For Forleo, optimism isn’t about sugar-coating, it’s about asking, “What’s next?” That’s what makes the obstacles we face “figureoutable.”
If you have any inquiries about content marketing, or you would like to discuss how your company can inspire others through your own marketing efforts, feel free to reach out to Sparx Publishing Group here.