8 TED Talks Every Digital Marketer Should Watch [Guest Post]

Discover the best TED Talks for marketers and learn how to excel in digital marketing with these inspirational videos.

By Dana Kilroy ・4 min read
Business & Marketing Strategy
Social Media

As one of the most intricate disciplines, marketing takes its energy from psychology, economy, and entrepreneurship. Marketers need to know how businesses function – the intricacies of the sales process, the best ways to convince consumers to buy, and even the best technology to help them in this process. Technology, Entertainment, and Design (TED) Talks are amazing precisely because they cover the complexity of the marketing spectrum in a digital world. Here are eight of the best TED Talks for marketers – so read on, get inspired, and learn how to ace digital marketing like a true professional.

1. Joseph Pine: What Consumers Want

Although published online eight years ago, What Consumers Want is still one of the most relevant and inspiring TED Talk on marketing. Don’t expect to find a list of the things consumers want and don’t want – but the solution to creating your very own list. According to Joseph Pine, what consumers want is a customized experience – they want to feel good in your stores or on your website, they want to feel they are investing their time and money in something that’s more than just goods or a commodity. Watch the entire talk to see exactly what Joseph Pine means by this and how you can implement it in your own business.

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

How many times have you bumped into a 404 page – and how many of those times did you feel betrayed by your favorite brand? In online marketing, every pixel matters – but the beauty of this is that you can frequently turn mistakes to your advantage. 404, the Story of a Page Not Found is a short video that speaks about turning 404 pages into a brand tool, instead of allowing them to disconnect your visitors. Beyond that, though, this TED talk covers one of the quintessential marketing qualities: creativity.

3. Seth Godin: How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

We live in a world where ideas are spread at an almost incredible speed – and your business can reap benefits from this. How to Get Your Ideas to Spread talks about a surprising fact: In most cases, success is not just about the product itself, but about the ideas upon which it is created. Watch this video to learn how to spread your brand’s ideas in an over-sharing culture where even the act of sharing itself has grown to be a tough competition.

4. Rob Legato: The Art of Creating Awe

The Art of Creating Awe reminds us how users will always seek an experience, more than goods or commodities. This humorous TED Talk teaches us to make consumers feel good about the products and services you offer. Watch it to learn how small details and effects can change people’s perception of your brand and what it offers.

5. Steven Johnson: Where Good Ideas Come From

Marketing and creativity are intrinsically connected. Where Good Ideas Come From is a TED Talk that will teach you the ways in which creativity works. How to create an environment that fosters good ideas, where to look for them, and how to be permanently connected to the side of your brain that brings out originality. This video is about understanding good ideas and how to search for them, rather than a bullet-point list of things you have (or don’t have) to do to find the best ideas. While it may not be perfectly understood by science, one thing is for certain: There are factors that can stimulate creativity – and this is what this talk is all about.

6. Andrew Stanton: The Clues to a Great Story

Despite many misunderstandings in this area, marketers don’t sell a product – they create the need for it so that salespeople can then seal the deal. What better way to create the need for a product than by setting it up on a genuinely good story? Look at Apple, for example. Their products offer great quality and a story of success and innovation. Coca-Cola’s stories are always about family, friends, and being part of the community. Nokia tells a story in two simple words: Connecting People. Great brands are founded on catchy, beautiful stories – and, while The Clues to a Great Story may not be created by and specifically for marketers, it can help. Watch it to learn about the elements of a good story, and then implement these ideas into your marketing strategy.

7. James Veich: The Agony of Trying to Unsubscribe

At a first look, The Agony of Trying to Unsubscribe is about anything else other than marketing. But, when you listen to the in-depth message of this TED Talk, you will realize it’s about marketing gone wrong. The video speaks about spam and poorly thought-out marketing campaigns – and the terrible effects they can have on your customers. Of course, James Veich may put it all in a hilarious coating – but, at the end of the day, he tells the story of how low-quality email marketing can go against the brand (instead of serving it). On another level, this TED video also speaks about the power of turning frustration into creativity and fun. Yes, marketing can be frustrating – but, instead of allowing failures to make you grow remorseful, create something unique out of the entire experience.

8. David Allen: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

If nothing else, working in MarCom can frequently feel like a roller coaster – one day you’re up about seeing all those new conversions, the next day you’re down due to the new algorithm update that ruins everything for your website. The Art of Stress-Free Productivity is not for marketers alone – but for all professionals working in highly stressful environments. Listen to the talk and learn how to transform stress into genuine productivity and how to use your constantly busy state to your advantage.

Final Thoughts

These are just a handful of the best TED Talks useful for marketers and ecommerce web developers. The most important advice is open-mindedness. These inspirational videos can help you understand what your users want, and how to give it to them in an efficient, productive way. Rose Burg has been a Digital Marketer for 6 years. She has designed websites, built brands and mastered social media in her time with

About the author

By Dana Kilroy ・4 min read

Dana Sullivan Kilroy is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience delivering compelling content. Her work has appeared in national, award-winning publications and sites, including: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Fast Company, Inc.

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