Thoughts on The Art of Marketing

A week later, we’re still amazed and inspired by the conference. There were many high value takeaways, but Seth Godin, Brian Wong and Keith Farrazzi were our personal highlights.  Through encouragement for authenticity and originality, lessons in personal humility and perseverance to cultivating profitable relationships, The Art of Marketing Vancouver was a definite hit.


Seth Godin.

Without a doubt, our favorite speaker at the event was the legendary Seth Godin. He inspired us to stand out, and railed against going with the crowd, lest we fit in, and become easy to ignore.

With powerful statements and an unflinching stage presence, Godin powered through his hour-long presentation in what felt like no time, with the audience hungry for more.  Being empowered by a leader who believes in working differently is an inspiration within the marketing world, where many still believe that to be average is to reach the largest audience.

“If I was going to a #StarWars convention, I wouldn’t dress up as one of the anonymous guys” -Seth Godin

Godin’s presentation was about distinction.  When you distinguish yourself from the rest by not competing in the typical upstream swim, but find another river of your own to cultivate, and people will notice.

Mass marketing isn’t efficient anymore. There are more weird people than there are normal.” -Seth Godin

Godin reminded us that tastemakers are no longer what most companies would call “normal”; the diatribes from earlier in the century that made every person want to be like the other no longer exist.  Classical normalcy has been replaced by specialized tribes of people, creating a balance of trends like never before.

Other favourite Seth-isms regarding risk taking:

 “The guy who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck”

 “You’ve been trained to hold back”

 “You don’t need to create a subculture, you just need to show up and lead them”


Brian Wong.

Our other highlight from the day was Brian Wong, of Kiip.  Brian was inspiring, with his infectious love for what he does and clear passion for his product, and the brands he has aligned himself with.

Between Brian regaling us with the story of his first job, first layoff and eventual success at Kiip, he was a highly refreshing, engaging and very funny speaker to take in.  Brian’s talent for business was matched by his humility in front of his audience, which ensured every member of the audience was in tune with his message.


Keith Ferrazzi.

A surprise was the human emotion that Ferrazzi was able to pull out of us. He managed to build a story around his personal life to inspire others in the workplace. His lessons went beyond how to connect with people at work, but how to be a better person in general, is something we need from time to time.

Keith had a lot to share surrounding the value of relationships and marketing.  With a fired up passion, Keith communicated the importance of tending relationships with people we know, those we could know better and those people we’ve been avoiding (we all have them).

The highlight of his speech was when Keith took us through a memory of his childhood, when his poverty stricken father went to a wealthy homeowner, to ask permission to take the child’s bike they had sitting with their weekly trash.  Keith mentioned that he had been embarrassed, but his father had lived by the adage “you never know, until you ask”.  After requesting to take the bike, the woman who answered the door provided him with a motorized go-kart, a significant upgrade to the original toy.

That story had us entranced, and with that, Keith closed with his People Plan – a document of goals of who you will be improving relationships on a timeline.  We felt so inspired, we hit the streets of downtown Vancouver in a near daze.


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