Purple Cow

BY SETH GODIN

 

SYNOPSIS

So what is a purple cow? A purple cow is anything that stands out from the crowd. As the author, Seth Godin puts it, “...picture driving down a country road, with hundreds of cows, scattered across the fields. As you’re driving, you notice one cow. One cow standing out from all the rest, for one reason. It has purple spots. Wouldn’t that grab your attention?”  Once readers understand what a purple cow is, they will see that the complete title of the book, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable says it all. Using case studies and personal observations of successful and failed marketing efforts, the book makes a good argument that traditional marketing is dead. 

“In almost every market, the boring slot is filled.”  

The traditional 5 Ps of marketing, product, pricing, promotion, placement, and people, just aren't working anymore. The new “P,” Purple Cow, teaches readers that being remarkable is what gets them noticed. Traditional marketing is the Brown Cow, boring and typical. This new approach to marketing is the Purple Cow, exciting and remarkable. Standing out in an overcrowded marketplace is something that all businesses struggle with, and once they learn how to be remarkable, they will never go back to being a Brown Cow.

 

SUMMARY

What Is Remarkable? — What makes a product or service worthy of remarks is what makes it remarkable. New. Different. Exciting. These are just some of things that make a product stand out. As Godin puts it, “Being safe is risky.” By clinging to traditional marketing, most companies may feel safe, but they are at risk. This book teaches that taking the risk to be remarkable is the safest way to succeed. Godin gives some good examples of products and services worth talking about.  Sam Adams, Jet Blue, and Starbucks are all remarkable. They are exceptional and worth noticing. 

"In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible."

 

Why Be Remarkable? — Remarkable products and services get noticed. They are worth talking about and sharing. Being remarkable fits right in with the explosion of social media and the changing face of information sharing. Being different gets you noticed. Customers just don't have the time to pay attention to advertising, but they will pay attention to remarkable.

 

How to Be Remarkable — Purple Cow explains what remarkable means and why businesses need to be remarkable.  But it also teaches how to pull it off, with plenty of case studies and stories.  Brown Cows focus on the masses. Purple Cows focus on making products and services that Godin calls “idea viruses.” Readers will learn that if they create something remarkable aimed at early adopters, or as Godin calls them “sneezers,” their product or service will be shared and talked about. 

“It is useless to advertise to anyone except interested sneezers with influence.”

That means making something that the “right” people notice and share because that Purple Cow is just so awesome! Godin admits that there is no guarantee that a Purple Cow will work because it may not be remarkable enough or it might be too risky. But that's the whole point. It's the unpredictability that makes the Purple Cow work. That's what makes it remarkable.