3 must-watch TED Talks on marketing

When you visit the TED website, there aren’t as many marketing talks as we’d like to see – something to market for, perhaps? – but there are a handful of good ones that make some pretty good waves. Here’s a threesome of TED Talks we think marketers should dive into headfirst.

404, the story of a page not found

In this short, sweet, and funny presentation, Renny Gleeson, cofounder of tech incubator the Portland Incubator Experiment, likens the dreaded 404 “page not found” error to a broken relationship. The bane of any online user’s day, this error, in essence, tells users that they fell through the cracks, says Gleeson. Not a good customer experience. However, he points to one company that capitalised on this universal irritation – going so far as to create comical, if painful, video – and provided an example of how well-defined moments can build brands, even under the worst circumstances. This is one TED talk we can all relate to, and at less than four minutes long – with some good laughs thrown in for good measure – you’ll be glad it’s a page you did find.

How to make choosing easier

Psycho-economist Sheena Iyengar begins by asking the audience whether they know how many choices they make in a given day, a given week. The numbers are high, and Iyengar deems this the “choice-overload problem”. Choice overload, she asserts, reduces engagement, the quality of your decisions, and customer satisfaction. In her engaging talk, she offers the four Cs for dealing with choice overload:

  • Cut
  • Concretise
  • Categorise
  • Condition for complexity.

This is broken

Seth Godin, a marketer, entrepreneur, and author who may have missed his true calling as a stand-up comedian, brings his dry wit and astute powers of observation to this talk on how marketers often miss the opportunity to deepen their relationship with customers. He offers up seven reasons this relationship or the products themselves are broken. Among them, you’ll gain an understanding of not-my-job thinking and the idea that products are “broken on purpose” in order to get people’s attention. The roughly 20-minute talk will have you laughing, learning, and shaking your head.


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