The Top 7 TED Talks on Marketing

March 10, 2020
insight by

The Top 7 TED Talks on Marketing

insight by | March 10, 2020

It seems like there’s a TED talk for everything. There are talks on the way language develops, stay-at-home parenting, the perfection of the pencil, jumping rope, open water swimming, dust bunnies, yo-yo mastery, and more. In fact, if you can name it, there’s probably a TED talk devoted to it, and that includes talks on topics like business and marketing. While a business and marketing-themed TED talk may not sound nearly as exciting as one on stage sculptures that fuse music and technologythere are some out there that are really very fascinating. 

Below are some of the top TED talks on marketing. These talks are important because they’re not solely about marketing—they’re about science, and life, and social issues, and the ways in which all of these things intersect with marketing. To see what experts like Seth Godin, Rory Sutherland, and Morgan Spurlock have to say about how to successfully market anything, read on.

What Physics Taught Me About Marketing – DanCobley

Using Newton’s second law, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, the scientific method, and the second law of thermodynamics, Dan Cobley explains the fundamental theories of branding.

  • The bigger a brand is, the more difficult it is to reposition it.
  • Try to measure what consumers actually do rather than what they say they’ll do.
  • No matter how much you’ve invested in your brand, one bad week can undermine decades of good work.


On Sliced Bread – Seth Godin

Seth Godin explains why bad or bizarre ideas are more successful at gaining our attention than boring ones.

  • The way to get what you want is to figure out a way to get your ideas to spread.
  • The thing that’s going to decide what gets talked about is: “Is it remarkable?” Is it worth making a remark about?
  • Figure out who cares about what you have to say. Talk to them and make it easy for them to tell their friends.


Life Lessons from an Ad Man – Rory Sutherland

Rory Sutherland believes that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as “real” value, and this belief affects how we look at everything from education to cereal to life itself.

  • Once you reach a basic level of wealth in society, most problems are actually problems of perception.
  • All value is perceived value.
  • Persuasion is often better than compulsion.
  • “Poetry is when you make new things familiar and familiar things new.” Which isn’t a bad definition of what our job [as advertisers] is.


Selling Condoms in the Congo – Amy Lockwood

Despite a flood of condoms available for cheap or for free, few people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo use them, even though HIV is a serious problem. Amy Lockwood explains why poor marketing strategy is to blame.

  • A key aspect of marketing is understanding who the audience is.
  • In the case of the Congo, the messaging used by donor agencies spoke more to the people back home supporting the agencies’ work than it did to the people in the Congo who are supposed to be receiving these products.
  • It doesn’t really matter what you’re selling; you just have to think about who your customers are and what messages will get them to change their behavior.


How to Make Choosing Easier – Sheena Iyengar

Even though people want a customized retail experience, they often freeze up when faced with the dizzying array of options before them. Sheena Iyengar shows how the process of choosing can be simplified.

  • Less is more. If you’re willing to cut …there’s an increase in sales, a lowering of costs, and an improvement of the choosing experience.
  • In order for people to understand the differences between their choices, they have to be able to understand the consequences associated with each choice in a vivid, concrete way.
  • We can handle more categories than we can handle choices because categories tell us how to tell things apart.
  • We can actually handle a lot more information than we think we can; we just have to gradually increase the complexity of that information.
  • The key to getting the most from choice is to be choosy about choosing.

The Greatest TED Talk Ever Sold – Morgan Spurlock

Morgan Spurlock looks at how brand marketing affects our world by making a completely sponsored film about sponsorship.

  • Transparency is scary, it’s unpredictable, and it’s also very risky.
  • If you take chances, if you take risks, in those risks will come opportunity. When you push people away from that, you’re pushing them more toward failure.
  • We need to encourage people to not be afraid of opportunities that may scare them.
  • Embrace fear. Embrace risk. Embrace transparency. Today, more than ever, a little honesty is going to go a long way.

Why Gender-Based Marketing Is Bad for Business – Gaby Barrios

Gaby Barrios explains why targeting advertising based on gender shortcuts not only perpetuates outdated stereotypes but is also bad for business.

  • Gender as a marketing shortcut is bad business because you’re leaving money on the table for your brands and your products.
  • Unless you are working in a very gender-specific category, probably anything else you’re hypothesizing about your consumer right now is going to be more useful than gender.
  • Gender is easy. Growth is not. In the end, advertising based on gender is not where the exciting growth will come from.
  • In your business, you have to inquire, is this really the best lens for me to grow?

There are many more TED talks on marketing to choose from, including one on technology trends that could potentially relate to any sort of product, and another on how one woman positioned herself to get a new hip thats an excellent example of how to create top of mind awareness. But if you don’t have the time to sit through all of them and you need help figuring out who cares about what you have to say, then contact Impact Marketing today.