Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Social Media Marketing for Business

David A. George


April 3, 2013

The 10 Best TED Talks on Marketing That Will Blow Your Mind

TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design) Talks have been spreading knowledge and expanding minds on hundreds of topics since 1984.

From witty humor and harrowing stories, to jaw dropping technologies and postmodern realizations, we all have something to learn from the smartest minds in the world.

Being a content marketer and small business strategist, I figured I would browse TED’s archive of free videos to see if there were any valuable nuggets of knowledge waiting for marketing folks like me.

Sure enough – I found the absolute best TED Talks on marketing that will change the way you think about your brand, your customer, your product/service, and even yourself!
So without further ado, here are the 10 best TED Talks on marketing…

The 10 Best TED Talks on Marketing That Will Blow Your Mind

1. Seth Godin: The Tribes We Lead

Are you contributing to the noise? Flooding the market with marketing messages of your mundane idea will only produce noise.

In this powerful presentation on you and your consumer, Seth Godin argues the Internet has ended mass marketing and revived a human social unit from the distant past: tribes. Founded on shared ideas and values, tribes give ordinary people the power to lead and make huge changes. He urges us to do so.

2. Dan Cobley: What Physics Taught Me About Marketing

What does Newton’s Law, Heisenberg Principle, and thermodynamics have in common with marketing? In this marketing presentation, Cobley shows how the laws of physics resemble basic marketing concepts – acceleration equals force over mass, for example.

Passionate in the fields of both marketing and physics, Cobley connects the dots for viewers of this talk in layman’s terms. The pragmatic application of scientific concepts in physics to developing a brand or business shows how marketing can be related to your fields of interest, thereby allowing you to have a much more profound and personal connection with marketing.

3. Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce

In this fascinating talk, Malcolm Gladwell, bestselling author of Blink and The Tipping Point, uses famous brands like Prego and Ragu to show us the nature of choice and happiness.

He discusses how a jovial psychophysicist named Howard Moskowitz proved that by digging deeper into what consumers really want, companies can discover a robust niche market that increases sales. Howard did something that others overlooked – he embraced diversity of taste and preferences.

The bottom line: There is no one way to treat all consumers. You’ll see your marketing, and your spaghetti sauce, with completely new eyes after watching this.

4. Rory Sutherland: Life Lessons from an Ad Man

Advertising often gets its name dragged through the mud, however, businesses and brands can’t live without it. Sutherland shares with us some things he has learned along the way, including  – value is a matter of perception, persuasion is better than compulsion, and modern communication fosters interaction between consumer and brands.

This compelling and humorous talk tackles the issue of perception and how it formulates our view of things. Considering that all ideas are relative, what they need to be successful is the appropriate context for how people should see them.

5. Joseph Pine: What Consumers Want

Customers want to feel what they buy is authentic, but “Mass Customization” author Joseph Pine says selling authenticity is tough because, well – there’s no such thing. He talks about a few experiences that may be artificial but make millions anyway.

Consumers want to have a great, authentic experience, and those that realize this will reap success. Most importantly, a business must stay true to who they are in order to provide an authentic experience.

6. John Gerzema: The Post-Crisis Consumer

John Gerzema has dubbed the U.S. financial crisis that started in 2008 as “The Great Unwind,” saying that it has shaped the purchasing habits of people from anxiety to action.

Consumers are no longer passive. People are increasingly making buying decisions based on the values that they hold. Less money to spend means that consumers choose products that are innovative and intuitive to their needs.

This TED Talk focuses on how consumers have adjusted their budget to accommodate their lifestyle, which you can use in coming up with a marketing campaign for your business.

7. Renny Gleeson: 404, the Story of a Page Not Found

Every setback comes with great opportunity, and it is up to you whether or not to take advantage of it – for example, a 404 error page.

Even though a typical 404 page on your website gives the viewer a feeling of a broken relationship with your brand, you can leverage this to your advantage by including a compelling content and design to not only build your brand, but also reconnect with your seemingly lost audience.

Instead of being an annoyance, an error page is an opportunity to do some creative brand building by including content that visitors find amusing and memorable.

8. Amy Lockwood: Selling Condoms in the Congo

Amy Lockwood is a “reformed marketer.” Because she lived in the Congo and worked closely with HIV-positive children and adults, she has seen, first-hand, the difference between the condoms in this region in Central Africa and the ones sold in the US.

Her point: how a product or service is marketed completely depends on the demands of the consumer.

9. Sheena Iyengar: How to Make Choosing Easier

Ever heard of paradox of choice? Most consumers encounter a choice overload problem because of the many decisions they must make for a particular product or service. This is also a problem for executives, too.

The belief that the more choices will lead to more avenues for sale is deeply flawed – studies presented in this marketing TED talk reveals that when consumers have too many choices, they will buy fewer products and be less engaged  solutions to the problem.

Four techniques to solve this problem are cut, concretization, categorization and condition for complexity. It’s okay to be choosy.

10. Seth Godin: How to Get your Ideas to Spread

Okay, okay. I know Seth Godin is on here twice, but it’s because he’s good.

I mean, real good.

In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.

Godin professes that marketing that works is less about the actual product, and more about whether you can get your ideas to spread or not. We are living in a time where ideas spread rapidly by anyone about anything. Idea diffusion gives companies an alternative. Spread the idea that your product is unique by doing something remarkable. Find out who cares and who is listening.

Is your idea remarkable?


Your Turn

Out of these 10 best TED Talks on Marketing, have you seen any of these before? Which video is your favorite? (IMO, Malcolm Gladwell always crushes it!)



David A. George I'm a UX + Growth Marketer passionate about people, music, intelligent UX, Android, and breathing underwater. I'd love to connect with you on LinkedIn, Twitter, and on my website.