Successful marketer Seth Godin has captured his decades worth of experience in the new best-seller, This Is Marketing. It should be on your bookshelf.

The passionate argument is that our job is to serve as specific of an audience as possible. Our real work is in finding that audience.

One particular analogy brings it home:

A lifeguard doesn't have to spend much time pitching to the drowning person. When you show up with a life buoy, if the drowning person understands what's at stake, you don't have to run ads to get them to hold onto it.

They are already looking for you

Your job isn't to convince people that you, or your product, is great. Godin argues that it isn't you making a key and looking for a lock that fits, but looking at the different locks and seeing how you can bring the right key. It is different between marketing and serving, and the very reason why marketing has a bad rap.

It doesn't mean just trying to find ways to serve, but also being committed to your focus to the point where others find you. Consultant Nilofer Merchant calls it signaling: You can only get a tribe if you are willing to show your true stripes. No commitment and no one knows what you stand for.

Focus on trust and attention

In a conversation with Marie Forleo, Godin summarizes what you should be doing: "Trust and attention are the two building blocks of the modern economy."

Screaming your brand or big idea into the Internet ether isn't the pathway to success, nor is arguing potential customers into buying your service. Instead, you build trust by respecting their intelligence and get attention by building great products.

All those require time, which still creates a shorter route than sloppily trying to get a quick buck.