2007 - The Year of the Purple Cow
“Don’t be afraid of the Purple Cow,” is marketing guru Seth Godin’s latest message in his book Purple Cow: Transform your Business by being Remarkable.
In a world full of boring, usual, same-old-same-old brown cows, the Purple Cow is remarkable. It’s a trailblazer. It stands out. Godin describes his work as:
". . . a manifesto for marketers who want to make a difference at their company by helping create products and services that are worth marketing in the first place. It is a plea for originality, for passion, guts, and daring. Not just because going through life with passion and guts beats the alternative (which it does), but also because it's the only way to be successful. Today, the one sure way to fail is to be boring. Your one chance for success is to be remarkable."
Godin hopes to change the rules of the marketing game. No longer should companies be creating safe products hoping that great marketing will do the job of selling them. They should be creating remarkable products which the right people will actively seek out. If an offering isn’t remarkable then it simply becomes invisible and fails.
In order to test his theories, Godin applied them to the marketing of his own book:
He chose to sell what people were buying by acknowledging that a group of people existed who took an interest in new marketing ideas.
He focussed his efforts on early adopters and ‘Sneezers’ – people who spread ideas. He published an article in Fast Company magazine summarising his theories and advertising 5,000 free copies of the book. Subscribers had only to cover the $5 postage and handling cost.
He made the product remarkable and attention-grabbing – the book came packaged in a milk carton.
He made the product easy to spread. Initially you could not purchase a single copy of the book; it had to be bought in packs of 12, making one copy for the buyer to keep for himself and 11 for him to dish out to his friends or colleagues.
He let the book make its own way to the mass market rather than thrust it upon them, working on the principle that designing anything for the masses is misguided given that it’s the people on the fringes who actually buy stuff.
He makes it sound so easy: small risks, focussed audiences, limited mass marketing. Maybe it is. Let’s make 2007 the year of the Purple Cow and put the daring, the gutsy, the original and the remarkable at the centre of our thinking.
For some examples of companies which have succeeded in standing out from the herd, follow the link below: