An example of not wasting words
Who doesn’t love progressive disclosure in our long ass multi-step forms, long essays, and Audible books – one easy to understand section at a time. As well as “progress indication” – so we know where we’re at.
Turbotax does this superbly well with its multi-step forms – we aspire to that standard over at Message Maps.
There’s a lost art to breaking something down into lots of palatable pieces – people were better at it in the 1800s judging from the chapter structure of Moby Dick (185 chapters) and many others.
And not just “chapter 1”, “chapter 2” – no, there unique and descriptive titles for each chapter. Just like a well designed LLM prompt, you don’t waste words; each is a chance to provide more context.
Seth Godin’s book This Is Marketing brings back the old style – it has 235 chapters and sections (and they’re on Audible too – which is rare).
The addendum to this post, below, is the chapters themselves of this book – enjoy. (And tell me if you know who the last chapter is about).
This Is Marketing
How Tall Is Your Sunflower?
It’s Not Going to Market Itself
Marketing Isn’t Just Selling Soap
The Market Decides
How to Know if You Have a Marketing Problem
The Answer to a Movie
Marketing Your Work Is a Complaint on The Way to Better
Chapter One: Not Mass, Not Spam, Not Shameful . . .
The Compass Points Toward Trust
Marketing Is Not a Battle, and It’s Not a War, or Even a Contest
The Magic of Ads Is a Trap that Keeps Us from Building a Useful Story
On Getting the Word Out (Precisely the Wrong Question)
Shameless Marketers Brought Shame to the Rest of Us
The Lock and the Key
Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be Selfish
Case Study: Penguin Magic
You’re Not a Cigar-Smoking Fat Cat
Chapter Two: The Marketer Learns to See
Marketing in Five Steps
This Is Marketing: An Executive Summary
Things Marketers Know
Chapter Three: Marketing Changes People Through Stories, Connections, and Experience
Case Study: Vision Spring—Selling Glasses to People Who Need Them
Consider the SUV
That Riff About the Quarter-Inch Drill Bit
People Don’t Want What You Make
Stories, Connections, and Experiences
Market-Driven: Who’s Driving the Bus?
The Myth of Rational Choice
Chapter Four: The Smallest Viable Market
What Change Are You Trying to Make?
What Promise Are You Making?
Who Are You Seeking to Change?
Worldviews and Personas
Forcing a Focus
Specific Is a Kind of Bravery
Shun the Nonbelievers!
Where Does Love Lie?
“Winner Take All” Rarely Is
A Simple One-Word Transformation
Coloring the Ocean Purple
“It’s Not for You”
The Comedian’s Dilemma
The Simple Marketing Promise
Case Study: The Open Heart Project
Chapter Five: In Search of “Better”
Empathy Is at The Heart of Marketing
A Million-Dollar Bargain
Thinking About “Better”
Better Isn’t up To You
The Marketing of Dog Food
Early Adopters Are Not Adapters: They Crave the New
An Aside About the Reptile People Who Are Secretly Running Things
Humility and Curiosity
Case Study: Be More Chill—More than One Way to Make a Hit
What’s a Car For?
Too Many Choices
Positioning as a Service
Choose Your Axes, Choose Your Future
So Many Choices
People Are Waiting for You
The Freedom of Better
One Last Thing About Sonder
Chapter Six: Beyond Commodities
Does It Work?
The Commodity Suckout
“You Can Choose Anyone, and We’re Anyone”
When You Know What You Stand For, You Don’t Need to Compete
But Your Story Is a Hook
Case Study: Stack Overflow Is Better
Better Is up to the Users, Not up to You
And We Serve Coffee
The Authentic, Vulnerable Hero
Authenticity versus Emotional Labor
Chapter Seven: The Canvas of Dreams and Desires
What Do People Want?
Innovative Marketers Invent New Solutions that Work with Old Emotions
Nobody Needs Your Product
No One Is Happy to Call a Real Estate Broker
Where’s the Angry Bear?
What Do You Want?
Always Be Testing
If You Had to Charge Ten Times as Much
Irresistible Is Rarely Easy or Rational
Chapter Eight: More of the Who: Seeking the Smallest Viable Market
The Virtuous Cycle and Network Effects
The Most Effective Remarkability Comes from Design
And Then a Miracle Happens
A Thousand True Fans
But What About Hamilton?
What Would Jerry Do?
Taylor Swift Is Not Your Role Model
All Critics Are Right (All Critics Are Wrong)
Why Don’t People Choose You?
Chapter Nine: People Like Us Do Things Like This
Deep Change Is Difficult, and Worth It
People Like Us (Do Things Like This)
Case Study: The Blue Ribbons
The Internal Narrative
It Shouldn’t Be Called “the Culture”
Just Enough Art
Case Study: Gay Marriage in Ireland
Elite and/or Exclusive
Case Study: Robin Hood Foundation
The Standing Ovation
Roots and Shoots
Chapter Ten: Trust and Tension Create Forward Motion
Pattern Match/Pattern Interrupt
Tension Can Change Patterns
What Are You Breaking?
Tension Is Not the Same as Fear
Marketers Create Tension, and Forward Motion Relieves that Tension
Are You Ready to Create Tension?
How the Status Quo Got that Way
Chapter Eleven: Status, Dominance, and Affiliation
Baxter Hates Truman
It’s Not Irrational; Status Makes It the Right Choice
Status Roles: The Godfather and the Undertaker
Status Lets Us
Case Study: Lions and Maasai Warriors
The Status Dynamic Is Always at Work
Status Is Not the Same as Wealth
Six Things About Status
Frank Sinatra Had More than A Cold
Learning to See Status
Different Stories for Different People
Affiliation and Dominion Are Different Ways to Measure Status
Learning from Pro Wrestling
The Alternative to Dominion Is Affiliation
Fashion Is Usually About Affiliation
Sending Dominance Signals
Sending Affiliation Signals
Affiliation or Dominance Is up to the Customer, Not You
Chapter Twelve: A Better Business Plan
Where Are You Going? What’s Holding You Back?
Perhaps You’ve Seen the Shift
A Glib Reverse Engineering of Your Mission Statement Isn’t Helpful
Chapter Thirteen: Semiotics, Symbols, and Vernacular
Can You Hear Me Now?
What Does This Remind You Of?
Hiring a Professional
Imagine that World . . .
Why Is Nigerian Spam so Sloppy?
The Flags on SUVs Are Called Flares
The Flag Is Not for Everyone
The Same and the Different
Case Study: Where’s Keith?
We Add the Flags with Intent
Are Brands for Cattle?
Does Your Logo Matter?
Chapter Fourteen: Treat Different People Differently
In Search of the Neophiliacs
What Do People Want?
The Truth About Customer Contribution
What’s the Purpose of This Interaction?
Chapter Fifteen: Reaching the Right People
Goals, Strategy, and Tactics
Advertising Is a Special Case, an Optional Engine for Growth
More than Ever, but Less than Ever
What Does Attention Cost? What Is It Worth?
Brand Marketing Makes Magic; Direct Marketing Makes the Phone Ring
A Simple Guide to Online Direct Marketing
A Simple Guide to Brand Marketing
Search Engine Optimization and the Salt Mines
Chapter Sixteen: Price Is a Story
Pricing Is a Marketing Tool, Not Simply a Way to Get Money
Different Prices (Different People)
“Cheap” Is Another Way to Say “Scared”
And What About Free?
Trust and Risk, Trust and Expense
Be Generous with Change and Brave with Your Business
Case Study: No Tipping at USHG
Chapter Seventeen: Permission and Remarkability in a Virtuous Cycle
Permission Is Anticipated, Personal, and Relevant
Earn Your Own Permission and Own It
Tuma Basa and RapCaviar
Showing Up with Generosity
Transform Your Project by Being Remarkable
Offensive/Juvenile/Urgent/Selfish Is Not the Same Thing as Purple
Suspending Fight Club Rules
Designing for Evangelism
Chapter Eighteen: Trust Is as Scarce as Attention
What’s Trusted, Who’s Trusted?
The Trust of Action
Famous to the Tribe
Public Relations and Publicity
Chapter Nineteen: The Funnel
Trust Isn’t Static
You Can Fix Your Funnel
Funnel Math: Casey Neistat
The Sustainable Direct Marketing Funnel
An Aside on Funnel Math
The Truth About Your Funnel
Life on the Long Tail
The April Fools’ Passover Birthday Easter Shirt
There’s a Way Out
Bridging the Chasm
Where’s Your Bridge?
Surviving the Chasm
You Might Not Find the Bridge
Case Study: Facebook and Crossing the Biggest Chasm
Crossing the Local Chasm
Clean Water in a Local Village
An Aside About B2B Marketing
Chapter Twenty: Organizing and Leading a Tribe
It’s Not Your Tribe
The Power of Now, Not Later
Manipulation Is the Tribe Killer
Shared Interests, Shared Goals, Shared Language
It Will Fade if You Let It
Take a Room in Town
Chapter Twenty-One: Some Case Studies Using the Method
How Do I Get an Agent?
Tesla Broke the Other Cars First
The NRA as a Role Model
Getting the Boss to Say Yes
Chapter Twenty-Two: Marketing Works, and Now It’s Your Turn
The Tyranny of Perfect
The Possibility of Better
The Magic of Good Enough
Chapter Twenty-Three: Marketing to the Most Important Person
(This was originally published on Art of Message – subscribe here)