Purple Cow

September 6, 2006          Comments (0)

I read Purple Cow on Monday and it’s a very thought provoking book, written by the marketing genius, Seth Godin. This is a must read for anyone looking to create a very visible and remarkable product.

Godin makes the argument that being safe, boring and ordinary is risky. Why? Because you will just be invisible! Entrepreneurs spend tons of money investing in their business, and when it comes time to open their doors, the last thing most entrepreneurs want to do is take another risk by sticking out like a sore thumb. But the only way to make it is to stand out from your competition. Do exactly the opposite of what your competition is doing.

Godin also discusses how we are in a new era of marketing and advertising. No longer does mass media work. Not so long ago, companies would be able to advertise on television and in magazines, that catered to a large general audience and build incredible brand recognition and retention, in what he calls the TV-industrial complex. That is no longer possible. The companies targeted consumers. Today, of course, the opposite is true. The consumers are the ones who choose.

The available choices for any given product has exponentially increased while our free time has been significantly reduced. We are bombarded with over 3000 marketing messages on a daily basis.

People are constantly distracted so companies should no longer just spend millions on advertising in mass media and hope we’ll recall their brand. Or they can, and they are, but they aren’t nearly as successful as they used to be.

To add fuel to the fire, just look at the amount of choices available in today’s market. It’s overwhelming. We are also in the post-consumption era. Meaning that the consumer is out of things to buy. We have what we need, we want very little and we’re too busy to spend a lot of time researching what you’ve worked hard to create for us.

Marketing has become interruption marketing.

How can Company X interrupt you from what you are doing so you pay attention to their message. And that rarely works because who likes to be interrupted?

The key is to be there when your prospects are seeking you out. That is huge. Hence, the reason why Google Adwords is a mega success.

The checklist of Ps marketers have used for decades to get their product noticed, aren’t working anymore. Some of them include:

  • Product
  • Pricing
  • Promotion
  • Positioning
  • Publicity
  • Packaging
  • Pass-along
  • Permission
    • There’s an exceptionally important P that has to be added to the list. It’s Purple Cow.

      Cows, after you’ve seen one or two or ten, are boring. A Purple Cow, though…now that would be something. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat out unbelievable.

      Every day, consumers come face-to-face with a lot of boring stuff – a lot of brown cows – but you can bet they won’t forget a Purple Cow. And it’s not a marketing function that you can slap onto your product or service. Purple Cow is inherent. It must be built in or it’s not there. Period.

      In Purple Cow, Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It’s a manifesto for marketers who want to help create products that are worth marketing in the first place.

      You’re either a Purple Cow or you’re not. You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice.



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