Summary of “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin: Marketing expert Seth Godin offers suggestions on how to transform your business into a remarkable company thanks to the Purple Cow marketing concept. It consists of making your product exceptional and irreplaceable.
By Seth Godin, 2011, 177 pages.
Note: The structure of the book is quite original. The contents are broken down into a multitude of tiny chapters that connect to develop ideas, story and key points around the concept of the “Purple Cow” created by Seth Godin. With this kind of structure, it is not unexpected to find that the contents do not always logically follow each other. In this summary, I have kept most of the headings and sub-headings.
Chronicle and summary of “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin
Seth Godin is an American entrepreneur who earned his stripes as head of direct marketing at Yahoo. These days, he is a specialist in permission marketing, a concept that consists of creating relationship marketing with the goal of making customers loyal to a brand. In his book “Purple Cow”, Seth Godin enjoys breaking down old-fashioned marketing ideas to replace them with other strategies that come from a modern vision of company growth.
The marketing “P”s
The principle of the five “P”s is a big marketing classic. This list is neither exclusive nor exhaustive and everyone can develop their own marketing checklist. The list given in the book is as follows:
What makes this list of “P”s interesting is that it presents the different actions to take to make marketing coherent. However, in recent years, another P has popped onto the list. This is the one that Seth Godin wants to tackle in his book “Purple Cow”.
The new “P”
P for Purple?
As he admired a sublime country landscape dotted with cows, the author realised that eyes become accustomed to everything. At the beginning of his holiday, he found the cows superb, but now they seemed ordinary to him. And so he developed the concept of the Purple Cow: present a remarkable product and grab people’s attention, at least for a while.
A book devoted to the remarkable and innovation
For Seth Godin, a Purple Cow is a new idea, an interesting and innovative concept. A normal cow is an animal that nobody notices and nobody gets excited about. The same thing happens with remarkable marketing. It consists of integrating sides to the product to make it more visible.
The marketing method that promotes a product by spending exorbitant amounts of money is completely out-dated. These days, it is essential to invest in innovation and not in publicity.
Before, during and after (advertising)
In the beginning, word of mouth celebrated products for their quality and this attracted new buyers. Then advertising ushered in a new era of mass consumption. It became usual to speak to each consumer as an individual.
For a while, this was enough to make a number of companies prosperous. Now we are back where we started, with distribution of products that is too wide on too many different networks. In addition to this, while consumers are still looking for good products, they don’t have the time to take an interest in advertising.
Innovations and revolutions
The innovative case of sliced bread
To start on the topic of innovations and revolutions, Seth Godin tells us that the first person to come up with the wonderful idea of sliced bread was Otto Frederick Rohwedder in 1912. And yet, it took 20 years for the Wonder brand to become frankly successful using the same product inside packaging that caused a sensation.
A quiet revolution in the world of marketing
The author of the book “Purple Cow” goes on to introduce several marketing personalities who shook things up inside the industry:
- Tom Peters: in “The Pursuit of Wow!”, he defends the concept of a company built on passion over a fearful company. He says that they have a better chance of success.
- Peppers and Rogers: in “The One to One”, Peppers and Rogers claim that loyal customers are often happiest to contribute to a company’s success. New customers, occasional customers and old customers are less so.
- Geoffrey Moore: in his book “Crossing the Chasm”, Moore establishes a line graph to show how adopting a new product spreads within a population.
- Malcolm Gladwell: in “The Tipping Point”, he demonstrates how ideas move from one individual to another and spread.
The author’s opinion about the new strategies to adopt
Seth Godin already explored the growth in popularity of products in his books “The secrets of viral marketing” and “Permission Marketing”. He insists on the importance of considering your prospects as precious capital to maintain and not a lemon to be squeezed and thrown away.
The “Purple Cow” pictures a new type of marketing
In his book “Purple Cow”, Seth Godin demonstrates the cogs and wheels of marketing and publicity to make the reader aware of a harsh reality:
- Lots of people cannot afford to buy your product.
- The price of a product needs to adapt to the market you want to win.
- Your customers don’t have time to listen to the messages you broadcast.
- Not many prospects will decide that your product is made for them.
So, if we take these parameters into account, the idea of the Purple Cow becomes really important.
Seth Godin also explains that innovative and original products (the first frozen pizzas, the introduction of aspirin to the medical market, the first book written about yoga, etc.) are the ones most likely to succeed. In the same way, early adopters allow products to spread among the public.
The death of the TV-Industrial complex
Seth Godin looks back at the history of advertising in the TV-Industrial era:
- In the 1950s, television advertising was used for direct marketing purposes. Sales of the products promoted in the ads increased and the companies that created them developed.
- In 1962, ad executives went one step further: they created advertising before they manufactured the product and put it on sale. That is how the cereal Captain Crunch by Quaker was produced after the invention of the mascot that represented the product. The adventures of the cartoon Captain Crunch were shown on television and American children were hooked. In the end, the cereal was secondary in terms of the marketing strategy.
The services sector, insurance, cars, etc. used and abused this channel of distribution and this marketing concept for a long time in order to promote their products. But today, this method has reached its limits: television, magazines and newspapers have lost their attraction for consumers.
New marketing rules
During the period when advertising was all-powerful, companies worked on creating ordinary products and advertisers broadcast them using extraordinary messages.
Now you need to create remarkable products intended for a very specific target. Early adopters of your products will have a major influence on the rest of your possible buyers. Therefore, you should no longer focus on customer volume.
Here is how things have changes according to Seth Godin in his book “Purple Cow”:
|The TV-Industrial era||Post-TV era|
|Average products||Remarkable products|
|General advertising||Advertising directed at early adopters|
|Fear of failure||Fear of fear|
|Long cycles||Short cycles|
|Small changes||Big changes|
The example of the Beetle: advertising doesn’t work miracles any more
The Volkswagen Beetle could well be the symbol of the TV-Industrial era. It had the advantage of a very efficient advertising campaign from the moment it was first manufactured. On the other hand, the new Beetle found its place in the urban landscape because of its appearance and the comfort it offered motorists, not through advertising. The author stresses that in order to remain attractive, the purple cow needs regular improvement. Because advertising has lost a lot of its power, you now need to use other channels to broadcast your message. In other words, even remarkable advertising presenting a remarkable product will no longer be enough to promote it.
Notoriety isn’t everything. You need will.
Even the biggest brands sometimes do advertising that offers no rewards. It happened to Coca Cola when the company made very popular ads on two occasions, but they did not lead to increased sales. In reality, for the author, the desire to create big things is a much more important driver than promotion. That is why it is preferable to turn to products that get people talking about them without necessarily advertising them.
Here Seth Godin presents a multitude of awesome marketing ideas that made their inventors stand out. Among the examples, he mentions some New York building lifts that are equipped with a booking system that means that people don’t have to wait. With this example, he emphasises the fact that a company can increase the profit-making capacity of a product that has been around for a long time simply by changing people’s behaviour.
In another example, the author looks at the laundry brand Tide. They invested astronomical amounts of money to improve the quality of their product without any results. For Seth Godin, in this kind of situation, you need to be able to admit that you cannot achieve your objective. It is better to recover the profit that the product makes and reinvest it another, more innovative product.
Fortune favours the brave
The diffusion curve that translates the way in which a product’s reputation spreads includes:
- Innovators: they are influential people that support new projects.
- Early adopters: they want to be leaders in their social environment and are happy to adopt new products.
- The early majority and the late majority: they are people that follow the majority, but only if the product is genuinely useful for them.
- Laggards: these are people who have the gift of becoming interested in a product as soon as it becomes obsolete. They will never buy anything innovative.
Seth Godin explains that you have to focus on the people who are adept to change to have any chance that the developed product will reach the late majority. To do this, you have to be remarkable, while remaining sufficiently attractive and flexible to appeal to the widest array of consumers.
Get the spreaders on-board
Before the early adopters, the “spreaders” who have authority in the field will share the product with their entourage and help it to develop. It is essential to target and win over these very special customers.
However, if you design a product to please everyone, you are taking the risk that it will please no-one. That is why you should take an interest in a specific segment rather than a wider market. This way, your product has a chance of standing out.
The big misunderstanding about the viral product
Many advertisers believe that the success of a brand is partly a question of luck. They forget that the products that sell the most were designed right from the start with the goal of smashing sales records.
That is why, according to Seth Godin, you always have to choose to promote the product that deserves to be talked about. This is not necessarily the most economical approach in the beginning, but according to him it is “a more intelligent investment than buying tv advertising space on the night of a big game”.
The best ways to find the right spreaders
When the author writes that advertising no longer pays, he admits that he is exaggerating. It is clear that this kind of distribution is still useful on some levels. However, it doesn’t work like it did before. Its effectiveness can be checked in relation to new media.
Seth Godin takes the example of Google. Google manages to reach the right people at the right time and meets the expectations of potential spreaders. But as this approach is still complex, it should be associated with the development of “remarkable and extravagant purple cows” that can attract attention on a vast market.
The art of cheating
When a company does not follow the usual marketing paths, some people accuse it of cheating. This was the case with Amazon. Its competitors accused the company of not playing by the rules when it started offering free delivery. But that is precisely what allowed the company to attract more and more customers, Seth Godin points out.
Bending the rules
To make a company prosperous and successful, you have to know the market and identify the people who will adopt your product.
Here, Seth Godin gives the example of Naxos. This company successfully kick-started the sale of classical music CDs. In a sector that was on life support, Naxos proposed CDs at 8 dollars each and hit the jackpot. In fact, the brand targeted customers we can refer to as spreaders. It convinced a small group of people who were looking for quality versions of major classics at a reduced price.
Trying to please the masses is a mistake
It is rarely efficient to try to please everyone. And yet, that is what most companies try to do.
The author of “Purple Cow” explains that it is better to focus on innovative customers than on the centre of the curve where most potential customers can be found. These spreaders are more daring and they are sure to share your products and ideas.
Don’t stick to the law of the highest number and dare to be different.
The advertising technique, still widely used, that consists of promoting a product to as many people as possible has reached its limits. This method can be rapidly replaced by a Purple Cow when the product on offer loses in terms of quality.
Ignoring the mass market can be profitable
In this part of the book, Seth Godin talks about the great idea one of his friends in San Francisco had. He bought a hotel in one of the worst districts in the city centre for a song and turned it into a haven for rock fans.
Thanks to a décor created by street artists and by inviting rock celebrities, the magic took place. The place has become a magnet for a highly specialised market segment with astonishing financial results.
Fear is the Achilles’ heel of the Purple Cow
Launching a Purple Cow is not limited by a lack of good ideas Purple Cows are rare because many people are afraid to launch. From our earliest childhood, the school model teaches us to blend in, to take our place in the ranks. If you want to stand out, you must not fear the critics.
Your project and your person are two separate things
Most entrepreneurs have not integrated some of the basic concepts of the Purple Cow era. For example, constructive criticism should never be taken as a personal affront. The person launching the project is not the object of the criticism. The idea is being criticised. Let’s remember that great achievements often come into being just after a major setback.
To illustrate this point, Seth Godin mentions the case of Bob Dylan. When the artist exchanged his acoustic instrument for an electric guitar, his fans were outraged. And yet, it was thanks to this decision that his huge career launched.
The author ends this chapter of his book “Purple Cow” with other examples that show it is impossible to know in advance whether a Purple Cow will be successful of not.
The leader is guaranteed a home run
If we observe a group of migrating birds, we can notice that they follow a hierarchy. They are under the direction of a leader. Sometimes the leader will rest at the back. Another bird that cares about the welfare of the group will take its place. The same applies to companies with members who accept to take risks and others that will do anything to avoid criticism.
Herman Miller’s Purple Cow
In 1994, a new piece of design furniture appeared in American companies. It was the Aeron desk chair by Herman Miller.
The original appearance of this chair, its exceptional ergonomics and its high price ($750) were a true example of marketing prowess. These three factors were decisive in the design of this exceptional product and for its distribution in professional circles. The chair exuded a very positive and modern image. Everybody wanted one. This branded product even found its way into the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art.
Purple Cow: forecasts and profits
Seth Godin mentions two dead-ends in mass marketing in which many companies find themselves. They are:
Offer boring products
Boring products are all those neutral products that are manufactured in large quantities, inexpensive and of average quality. By designing consumer products for the masses, the company is targeting the centre of the distribution curve. But once again, it is in your interest to reach innovators and early adopters. They will promote your product all by themselves. The distribution of the product will then go on to the laggers once it has been adopted by the majority.
To illustrate this, Seth Godin pays tribute to Lionel Poilâne, his favourite Purple Cow, whom he calls the “best baker in the world“. Lionel Poilâne believed in his project and refused to succumb to the fashion for the bland and impersonal French baguette. He placed his trust in manufacturers of organic flour and now makes bread that is served at the tables of the greatest chefs. Every year, sales of Poilâne bread reach several million dollars.
Invest your entire budget right from the start
Each launch campaign for a product for the general public is very costly. You will want to start making profits rapidly in case the product declines. The mistake that many companies make is to invest their entire budget right from the beginning. But it takes time to climb the distribution curve. Short term profits are not enough when you are waiting for the product to find its audience.
Measuring results allows you to anticipate
It is not usual practice for “traditional” companies to measure their results, because they believe that poor sales figures can put their company in peril. In fact, we can see the complete opposite in these regular analyses.
The author offers the example of Zara, a company that makes regular measurements and can adjust its stocks of clothes almost in real time to meet the expectations of its customers. As a result, measurement can lead to improvement.
Losers and winners in the race for the Purple Cow
According to Seth Godin, big companies that build their system on the complex rules of TV-Industrial are the big losers. The genuine winners are smaller companies that can easily change the rules of the game. The author bases his reasoning on several examples, including that of Bic, a company that lost many customers when it allowed an amusing pen invented by the Japanese to beat it.
The story of the yellow kiwi
The author of “Purple Cow” explains that the yellow kiwi is a new fruit marketed by the company Zespri. It first went on sale in high-end grocery stores where a Latino-American clientèle shopped. With its special taste, the yellow kiwi became remarkable enough to interest spreaders. With clever targeting and by winning huge market share, the brand sold over 100 million yellow kiwis in 2001.
The positive limits of the Purple Cow
Nowadays, there are so many offers on the market that it is easy to change provider in any number of areas: telephone, bank, etc. It is precisely for this reason that to acquire genuine value on the market in question, you have to be remarkable.
The author explains that just one remarkable idea can send a company to the top and bring in major profits. Remarkable project owners have to put all their efforts into launching the creation of a new Purple Cow as soon as the first one starts showing less profits. In reality, many companies find this approach difficult. Instead of reinvesting, they often prefer to reap the benefits of one remarkable success.
The opposite of remarkable is “very good”
Seth Godin demonstrates several examples of companies that have successfully created a Purple Cow. We are going two summarise two of these achievements:
Prell and Dr. Bronner
At first, the Prell brand knew exactly how to use advertising to break all records for sales of shampoo. Based on this success, it sat back and rested on its laurels. In parallel to the fall in sales of Prell shampoo (related to advertising), the rise in popularity of Dr. Bronner products was remarkable. Behind the increase in sales was the emblematic character on the packaging that won over the early adopters. Distribution was mainly due to word of mouth right up until the product overtook its main competitor.
The success of Pearl Jam
The strategy applied by record companies in the 1960s is no longer relevant. It consisted of radio advertising to sell products. In 2001-2002, the musicians from Pearl Jam understood that it was a better idea to sell directly to their fans. They offered seventy two lives albums on their website. Concert goers rushed to get them and converted other fans to their musical cause.
Inaction can turn out to be positive
Instead of launching a so-so product or concept, it is sometimes preferable not to undertake new strategies. It is better to encourage sales of the product that made the company famous in the first place. Many renowned companies like Ben & Jerry or McIntosh prefer not to bring out new models unless they are genuinely worth it. In fact, marketing just as a show of action is worse than doing nothing.
The otaku is at the heart of the Purple Cow
Seth Godin describes the otaku as the processing centre of the Purple Cow. This Japanese word signifies the desire for something accessible that brings a little touch of whimsy to everyday life. For example, in the United States there is fervour for hot sauce. This otaku has led to impressive sales of all manner of different sauces. In contrast, mustard does not inspire the same desire in most people and therefore does not have the same success.
Packaging, the powerful marketing vector
Seth Godin talks about the success of Dutch Boy paints. Simply by changing the container for their paint products (offering pots that were easy to handle and easy to open and close), their design and marketing teams caused sales to sky rocket, and they also increased their prices.
The donut is a powerful otaku
The Krispy Kreme brand completely integrated the concept of the Purple Cow to their marketing. Every time a new store opens in a new town, it starts by giving away thousands of donuts to enthusiasts. These spreaders go on to convince their entourage to eat donuts. The brand then distributes its products in other sales outlets to make them easily accessible. After a while, the entire population becomes a fan of donuts.
No secret recipe or perfect blueprint to make a Purple Cow
There is no miracle recipe when it comes to creating a Purple Cow. However, Seth Godin shares a few elements in the process. You need:
- To figure out what added value the project is going to offer people.
- Define which one has the best chance of bringing in profits among all the various forms of added value.
- Once you have studied the competition, find the innovation that you can put on the market.
The secret of the Purple Cow resides more in the process itself than in the way you go on to break sales records for a product.
The product is sometimes its own marketing
Seth Godin describes several examples to demonstrate the limits to marketing.
He explains that the leaning tower of Pisa is so famous because it sends people a message that is easy to understand: it leans – that’s it. In contrast to Pisa that is visited by millions of people every year, the Pantheon in Rome finds it much more difficult to attract hordes of visitors. Even though it is a magnificent place, it is more difficult to “sell” and it has a message that is more complex.
This illustration is a good demonstration of the idea that sometimes the product does its own marketing.
“It is easier to sell a product that people want to buy”.
To be sure to choose the right product, you have to start from the customer’s need. This seems obvious, but a lot of people in marketing don’t take it into account.
Customers are looking for a solution to a problem. If we know how to sell them the product they need, they will buy it and know how to promote it. If we want to advertise it, it is vital to choose the right medium in relation to the spreaders you want to target.
The Purple Cow and its magical cycle
The principle of the Purple Cow can be scary. It presupposes that companies are constantly inventing new products. Meanwhile, apart from spreaders, consumers do not change their habitudes very often. Therefore, you need to convince the spreaders. The author outlines four steps to follow to lead them to follow your project:
- Win the trust of customers who have already adopted one of your Purple Cows. Then ask their permission to let them know when you create a new Purple Cow.
- Give spreaders the tools or a pitch so that they can easily propagate your concept.
- When the Purple Cow becomes profitable, hand it over to another team that can come up with variants and different forms.
- Keep starting over. Reinvest and launch another Purple Cow keeping the same public as your target. Do not be afraid to fail and accept that some remarkable ideas can turn out to be projects that have no future.
Marketing is redefined by the appearance of the Purple Cow
In the traditional world of business, everyone has a well-defined role. But, according to Seth Godin, the roles are no longer so clear-cut and the process has evolved. Furthermore, the strategy for creating, then manufacturing and finally promoting a product has completely changed.
For the author of “Purple Cow”, marketing is now the basis for the invention of a product. That is why he believes that promising companies should be run by a marketing specialist. The author also insists that for some companies – such as JetBlue, Starbucks or Poland Spring and Hasbro – the staff members in charge of marketing are involved in every step of product creation.
When designers take the power from marketing specialists
Seth Godin is convinced that, “post-conception and post-manufacturing marketing is dead”. The current leading strategy is both basic and essential. It involves integrating marketing directly into product design.
In Starbucks cafes, one of the biggest chains in the world, the coffee is delicious simply because its CEO loves coffee. In the same way, many leading products on the market are a genuine otaku for their inventor. And in reality, this makes all the difference between someone who does a good job and a passionate entrepreneur.
Never forget that each product is designed for someone and the real challenge is when you try to put yourself in their shoes. The author of “Purple Cow” explains that there are two techniques to successfully create a good product without really taking user needs into account:
The art of projection
To do this, you need to practice putting yourself in the place of the people for whom the product is manufactured. With experience, marketers can do this very well, on condition that they do not let it go to their heads. Otherwise they will get it wrong in the long term. They will start acting on instinct and over time this will not function and may lead them to make poor decisions.
The science of projection
This technique asks the marketing specialist to exercise severe and precise discipline when it comes to launching a product. Basically, it involves observing, measuring and drawing lessons before starting over. In this case, you need not need to have a special relationship with the product. Instead you need to be fully aware of the process.
Extravagant does not always mean remarkable
Some people are eccentric and remarkable. Take Ozzy Osbourne for example. However, some artists try to imitate him, and they just seem weird. Scandal can occasionally be of use, but it is not a winning strategy in itself. For Seth Godin, extravagance should always have a real impact and must be integrated to the product.
McDonalds or the art of being honest with your customers
The French subsidiary of the American giant surprised everyone by publishing a report that advised eating its food no more than once a week. It was first considered to be a bad strategy, but the message reached a wider public in the end. The brand successfully demonstrated that sometimes the truth can be an interesting marketing weapon.
The special case of “cheap”
A “good value for money” product will always have its share of the market. However, the danger lies in lowering your prices in relation to the competition in order to be “cheap”. It is a lazy way of entering the battle of the Purple Cow unless a company finds a way to genuinely slash prices. This is very much the case with Ikea. They manage to combine quality with low prices while keeping their competitive advantage in terms of volume.
Hallmark or direct application of the author’s advice
In this short chapter, Seth Godin explains how he helped one of his friends who worked for Hallmark to improve his company’s profile. For the author, success comes from the special relationship between the consumer and the spreader.
The author goes on to share strategies to optimise your sales tunnel. These strategies are totally integrated to the nature of the product itself: in the situations given, electronic greeting cards or highly lucrative gift cards for the general public consolidated the popularity of the company.
The Purple Cow on the job market
All of these precepts can also be applied to a particular case – that of someone looking for a job.
Seth Godin explains that sending your CV to a number of different employers is the same as advertising. He suggests another approach. Quite simply – be exceptional. The author goes on to state that “remarkable people are often hired for a position they like to fill another position that they like even more”. This does not mean that these exceptional people never encounter setbacks or failures. However, they do increase the probability of being offered a new project in line with their skills.
Finally, for the author, the best way to become a Purple Cow is to think about it when you are not looking for a job.
The special case of Tracy, the advertising executive
The author introduces the case of his friend Tracy, who left her job at an advertising agency to set up her own business. At that time, the hundreds of letters she sent to marketing directors all went unanswered.
Seth Godin suggested that she start over by only targeting a very specific field in which she had expertise. By following this advice, Tracy became a unique and exceptional advertising executive for pharmaceutical companies.
So popular no-one goes there any more
Seth Godin is not interested in projects that scrape by on the profits generated by a Purple Cow. He prefers companies that expand and grow. To illustrate this, he brings up another case of a Purple Cow created by a remarkable entrepreneur and taken over by his son. His son did not make any changes. He simply perpetuated what his father had put in place. The company survived, but that was all. The author explains that he stopped going to that place and started to go to another up and coming Purple Cow just downstairs from where he lived.
The secret to being irresistible
Once again, the author of “Purple Cow” invites us not to seek to please everyone. On the contrary, you need to find the product that will win over one branch of the population and turn them into spreaders for your brand.
As an example, he mentions the pilot for the South Park show. It had a terrible score among female viewers, but was a real hit with teenagers. They loved it, and promoted the show among their peers. We all know how popular the show became, simply because it coincided with the otaku of thousands of teenagers.
Concrete data that speaks volumes
According to Seth Godin, only 6% of the top 100 brands worldwide still exist because of blanket advertising. The other ones that chose to preserve this development strategy have all failed and disappeared.
When you look at these brands more closely, the author can see that 70 % of them were in existence for 25 years and they blocked any new entrant to their sphere of business. The remaining brands are all examples of expansion due to word of mouth.
Brainstorming and other avenues for reflection
This is one of the longest paragraphs in “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin. The author lays out everything that can trigger a Purple Cow for the reader and analyses why and how big brands encounter so much success. He lists 34 examples of remarkable companies with details about what makes them genuine Purple Cows.
For example, he explains how:
- Oxo hit the top sales spot thanks to cooking enthusiast spreaders.
- Google staff take criticism from internet users very seriously and this obsession contributed to the company’s rise.
- Bloomberg, a paper that specialises in the stock market, was not unseated from the top spot by the internet. Expensive and complex, it is a sign of professionalism sitting on the desk of an investor.
Seth Godin also tells some anecdotes. For example:
- Billionaire Ted Leonsis regularly stays in a Manhattan hotel because the staff there know how to make iced tea just the way he likes it. This kind of special treatment is very important for this man of influence.
- Jesse Gregory James makes custom motorbikes on demand. There is a waiting list of several years to get one of these exceptional vehicles.
Eight additional means to feed a Purple Cow
Based on the example of salt, an ordinary ingredient that Morton knew how to use, Seth Godin points to the fact that even an ordinary product can become a Purple Cow. The author talks more specifically about the appearance on a relatively closed market of Diamond Kosher salt. This exceptional product is currently making itself indispensable to restaurant chefs because of its unique taste.
To conclude, Seth Godin outlines 8 key points when it comes to creating a remarkable product:
- Find ten ways to change your product in order to reach part of your audience every time.
- Understand that a remarkable niche product is more interesting than an object that will please everybody.
- Outsource if necessary, to make progress without having to face production constraints.
- Create a relationship with your customers so that you can do without advertising and reach them with shock products.
- Imitate what is best about sectors other than your own.
- Try to exceed or do the opposite of what is perceived as avant-garde.
- Identify what is not being done in your sector and do that.
- Always ask yourself the same question: “Why not?”
The author ends the great story of the Purple Cow with four slogans that you should always keep in mind to succeed with a remarkable project:
- “Don’t be boring”
- “Safe is risky”
- “Design rules now”
- “Very good is bad”
Seth Godin’s book ends with an index of the brands and companies mentioned, like a reminder of how success is possible and within anybody’s reach.
Book critique of “Purple cow” by Seth Godin
Seth Godin, an expert in innovative marketing
Seth Godin promotes the use of new marketing strategies. The key points to remember about his message can be summarised as follows:
- The days of advertising are well and truly over. You need to function differently from the complex TV-Industrial age.
- You need to get away from deep-rooted reflexes about using entrepreneurial habits that are doomed to failure. In particular, you need to think about marketing when choosing and creating your product. The recent trend has been to manufacture a product and then think about the marketing plan.
- You need to practice saying “Why not?”. Even if the “Why not” does not always lead to success, it allows you to discover Purple Cows and to make use of them.
Seth Godin is also a defender of risk-taking. He talks about this throughout the book: living off the profits from a Purple Cow only lasts for a certain amount of time.
The book teems with relevant and very varied examples of how to approach your marketing with a fresh, enthusiastic eye.
In his book “Purple Cow”, Seth Godin gives us multiple examples to follow, as well as other thoughts about the strategies that he believes are out of date. His analysis is nuanced and he is capable of finesse to avoid making hasty and wrong judgements. It is a pleasure to see how one by one, he breaks down the marketing plans deployed by the biggest brands.
Leaf through the different chapters to awaken ideas for new strategies
“Purple Cow” makes for pleasant reading. It can be approached like a list of key points to consult. The reader can flip from chapter to chapter, picking up ideas here and there.
Seth Godin advises entrepreneurs to give a copy to each one of their associates. He believes that in this way, you can awaken their consciousness and open new marketing perspectives.
The desire to create your own Purple Cow
Finally, reading “Purple Cow” is easy, but the teaching is comprehensive and awakens a desire in readers to throw themselves into a remarkable project. It is a book for everybody. It could be of use to an entrepreneur, a head of manufacturing or a marketing adviser.
Seth Godin’s vision is global. He wants to convince everyone in a company that the best solution for growth is to create your own Purple Cow. And that is definitely something to think about!
- Short, easy to read chapters. You can’t wait to turn to a new page and discover another story.
- There are many examples and they are all different, so you have a comprehensive overview of each strategy.
- The author successfully “dumbs down” complex rules of marketing so that everyone can understand them.
- You can read the book in a chronological way, picking up information from each anecdote that is developed around a person, a product or a brand.
- The stories are very short and sometimes you would like to read a bit more about them.
My rating :
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