Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Purple Cow - Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Author:       Seth Godin
Published:   2002
Publisher:    Penguin Group
Hardcover: 144 pages

More than a year after being disappointed with the author Seth Godin's book Tribes (See my review of this book in an earlier post ), I decided to give his books another try as I picked up and borrowed  this book Purple Cow , from the library since it seemed interesting in the first browse.
Well in my view this is a much better book than Tribes though they deal with different themes. This one is about niche marketing, whereas Tribes is  about network leadership.

Seth Godin offers rather a common sense insight into niche marketing in a very simple and conversational style. Nothing new or profound here. It may have been so when this book was first published in 2002, though I am not sure about it.

In this book also he sounds rather repetitive and keeps flogging the same horse, but the tone is less evangelistic, more subtle and thereby more tolerable as compared to his Tribes (which is comparatively his more recent book. Deteriorating Quality  over the years ??/!!)

A plus point of this book is this. Nearly 20 case studies and examples drawn from more than 250 brands/companies packed in this small book (less than 150 pages) to illustrate the Purple Cow Concept. 

Here is my take on Seth Godin's books, now having read two of them. 
They are OK for a quick, light read to pass time if you don't have anything better in hands. 
I would rather Beg, Borrow or Steal his Books rather than buying them. But of course he has a considerable fan following which keeps him going.

I have also decided to pay him a tribute by posting this blog in Purple Color Font in Bold !

Purple Cow Concept - Key Points 

  • The conventional marketing wisdom is to play safe by creating ordinary products (or services) and advertise to the masses. However these are the days of information-overload and plethora of choices.
  • Your prospects are too busy to pay attention to mass advertisements. They have too many options, but there is less and less time to understand them and go out of way to spread the word.
  • Therefore your product or service must be truly exceptional, remarkable and unusual like a mythical Purple Cow which will stand out among the mundane brown & white colored cows. Only then it will garner enough attention, spread through word of mouth and bring in profits.
  • Purple Cow approach is to create remarkable products by building marketing element into its creation process vs the traditional approach of add-on marketing after an average product has been created.
  • Such a remarkable product should be created first for a small under-served niche market in which there exist an otaku (an overwhelming desire that gets someone to go out of way to try out new things that interest them). It will be much easier to sell something that people are already in the mood to buy.
  • You need to discover the limits that make the product remarkable. Try to be the cheapest/costliest, the fastest/ slowest, biggest/smallest (in other words the most…) in a given market. Don’t play safe. Safe is Boring & Risky in long term.
  • Purple Cow products (i.e Remarkable products) are created by the ones who can get inside the heads of the people who do care deeply about this product and making them something they will love and want to share.
  • The product you design should be remarkable enough to attract the early adopters – but also be  flexible enough and attractive enough for these adopters to easily spread the idea to the majority.
  • Differentiate your customers. Find the group that is most profitable. Find the group that is most likely to sneeze (spread the word). Figure out how to develop/advertise/reward either group. Ignore the rest.
  • Your ads (and your products!) should not cater to the masses. Your ads (and your products) should cater to the customers you would choose if you could choose your customers. Your slogan or positioning statement must be concise, true, consistent and worth passing on.
  • Get permission from people you impressed the first time to alert them next time when you create another Purple Cow product or service for them.
  • Once you create a Purple Cow, milk the Cow for everything it’s worth. Figure out how to extend it and profit from it for as long as possible. Once the Purple Cow evolves into a Safe and run-of-the-mill product REINVEST! Launch another Purple Cow (to the same audience). Assume that what was remarkable last time won’t be remarkable this time. Build a discipline of repeatedly launching products, watching, measuring, learning and doing it again.
  • The Purple Cow is just part of the product lifecycle. You can’t live it all the time (too risky, too expensive, too tiring), but when you need to grow or need to introduce something new, it is your best shot.
  • You don’t need passion to create a Purple Cow. Nor do you need an awful lot of creativity. What you need is the insight to realize that you have no other choice but to grow your business or launch your product with Purple Cow thinking.

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