Seth Godin is usually spot on when he blogs about marketing and advertising in today’s connection economy. Last week, he came so close to disclosing a new truth about the magazine industry that we have to wonder if he left it out on purpose.
In his post “The banality of the magazine rack” Godin writes about the mass-media magazines aimed at the cult of celebrity. “All the airbrushed pretty people, the replaceable celebrities and near celebrities. The mass-market fad diets, the conventional stories, the sameness tailored for a mass audience,” he writes.
“The headlines are interchangeable. So are the photos and the celebrities, the stories and the escapades and the promises,” he continues.
“Magazines believe they have to produce this cultural lighthouse in order to sell ads–there are advertisers that want average readers in order to sell them their average products. But this doesn’t have to be you. These aren’t cultural norms, they’re merely an odd sub-universe, a costume party for people unwilling to find their own voice.”
In his usual brief and insightful way, he silently goads brands to think beyond the norm. And if he had gone just one thought further, looking at the niche magazines gaining ground, he’d realize that many magazine publishers are doing just that.
As mass market migrates to niche, publishers are finding tribes that do speak a specific language and look to publishers as lifestyle enablers. Just knowing there are publishers out there can help ease the way for companies looking to break out of the mass market mindset and truly establish a voice of their own.
We suspect a lot of them are Godin fans.