"Have we branded ourselves to death?" Seth Godin asked the audience Thursday at the World Business Forum in New York City.

Godin, who's written more than a dozen books about effective marketing, focused his speech on the idea of taking risks. He believes that one of the major flaws with marketing is the general belief that "more is better"—that more getting more eyeballs on a product will lead to more customers. It's a safe idea, he says, but it won't work.

So, how are innovative businesses marketing? Ultimately, he says, it comes down to these three tenets:

  • Get permission from your customers. "Why aren't you dating your prospects?" Godin asks. He believes that the most successful businesses are ones that are able to find products for their customers—and not customers for their products. Customers should feel "privelaged" to be receiving your product, he says, and the message needs to be personal and relevant.

  • Support the notion of "Tribe." Godin believes that, on a very basic human level, people like doing things with each other. Letting your customers connect to each other by building a sense of community within your brand will create loyalty—and strong advocates for your brand.
  • Ultimately, failure is essential. "The guy who invented the ship also invented the shipreck," jokes Godin. The message holds true for leaders: "If you say that 'faiure is not an option,' then neither is success."

We're curious to get your thoughts. Let us know in the comments section below what your company's most creative marketing effot has been—and why you think it was effective.