Lessons I learned From Seth Godin #4: Status roles and tension

Tension is always necessary for marketing because tension helps people make changes, and making changes is what marketing all about.

Without tension, people won't change their behavior to the point where they will act on your message.

People change when they recognize a problem, and when they feel personally responsible for it.

One way to create tension is to plant seeds of doubt about current solutions.

Seeds of doubt are often best planted in the subconscious.

By doing this, you create a subconscious association between one thing and another, and the more embedded that association becomes, the more likely it is to be acted on.

But, most of the time, just planting seeds of doubt is not enough.

Any kind of change requires a shift in status or role.

You have to show people that they are at risk of losing something that they have or love, or that they aren't good enough in some way that matters to them.

Something that would knock them down a notch or puts them out of their comfort zone.

The important part is that it has to be credible that people can see how they will get hurt if they don't address the problem right away.

In another word, status changed or role reversed.

Status and roles are important because they help people to feel a larger sense of obligation and responsibility for their choices.

Let's look at a real-life example of how status roles work.

The New York Times recently ran an article about people in the publishing industry who are working on their annual awards submissions, which can be a long and difficult process that stretches out over several months.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of pitches coming from self-published authors who are seeking validation for their work and to build their platform beyond online platforms.

But as these authors have had more success online with "traditional publishing" companies, they've pushed this idea further into the hearts and minds of publishers.

The result is that many people in traditional publishing have begun to question whether or not they even want to take on new authors with quality work from self-publishing platforms.

This is a perfect example of the tension I wrote about earlier.

On one side, we have traditional publishers who are afraid to take on new authors because they've lost status, or risk losing their market share.

On the other side, we have authors who are seeking validation for their work and to build their platform beyond the traditional platforms.

Each one of these people has a different kind of status associated with their choices, and each one has a different kind of role that they identify with.

It's because of those status roles that they feel such an obligation and responsibility to act in a certain way.

And the only way for them to initiate that change is by creating tension.

Their role reversal creates the threat of losing their status, as well as the loss of income or market share.

Therefore, each of them feels a personal desire to fix the problem.

They want to feel a larger sense of obligation and responsibility for their choices, and they only feel that way because they are aware of the status roles.

It's this awareness that helps them make changes in their behavior.

This is why if we want to create real change with our marketing message, we have to make sure that it generates tension.

Shifting in status roles create feelings of fear and urgency that are usually sufficient to prompt action for most people.

And it's also why marketing done right can be effective and powerful.

To conclude: If we want to create a real change in behavior or a real transformation with our marketing message, it's not enough just to plant seeds of doubt into peoples' brains.

We have to make sure that we can create tension in status, or role reversal so that people feel a larger sense of obligation and responsibility for their choices.

And it's only through those feelings that they will initiate a change in behavior.