Microsoft SAS 2007: Seth Godin

Igniting change was the topic of discussion just before lunch on the first day of the Microsoft SAS 2007 event last week, and the panel of four was led by the effervescent worldwide general manager for branded entertainment, MSN, Gayle Troberman.

"Marketing does not equal advertising," says Seth Godin, bestselling author, entrepreneur and agent of change.

"You can no longer demand people pay attention. You can however get your biggest fans to tell their friends about you but only if you make fantastic work."

Global warming activist Laurie David was persuasive on how environmental issues affect everyone, and she shared stories on her success in propagating the stop global warming message - a worthy case study for marketers.

David is a producer of the Academy Award winner An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary film based on former US vice president Al Gore's thirty years of research on the topic, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and at the Cannes Film Festival, and has won numerous worldwide accolades.

"Laurie created something to talk about - global warming," Godin says, adding that she successfully put the issue on people's discussion lists. "It's not one voice that matters, it's thousands that do."

He also says in online, marketers get into "more touble for playing it safe. Safe is risky". He recommends marketers spend less time thinking of being innovative or changing and simply "doing it".

Troberman then asked her panelists if it is a good idea to wait for the next generation to rise before expecting change in the marketing world.

To that, Kim Kadlec, VP, worldwide media, Johnson & Johnson says absolutely not. "We search for talent and they're few and far between. The way to go is to create ex-ternships where people from all industries come and work for us for three month shifts."