Purple cow is an innovation book written by a marketing expert and bestselling author Seth Godin. It teaches the practical direction to remarkable brand and how to make our product stand out. Purple cow is a self-help book for entrepreneurial marketers who find themselves following big brands where innovation is far-flung. The main message that Godin preached here is “Be Remarkable” Thus, the essence of purple cow is that it must be remarkable. Something remarkable is worth talking about, worth noticing, new, interesting, stand out and exceptional. Put differently, remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product or service. If your offering is not remarkable, its invisible.
In addition, the book also made it clear that time have gone when people would be spending money advertising on television and mass media just to get consumers attention, instead, it is advisable that they start innovating. Moreover, traditional marketing isn’t working anymore. The old virtuous of “buy ad” no longer pays. Hence, we need to understand that investing in the cow is even smarter than buying a Supper Bowl ad.
In other words, its saying stop advertising and start innovating, because what you need to build your brand is a remarkable product or service. For instant, by horizontally putting together innovation – getting stakeholders involvement from the board down to the sneezer (lead buyers) – you improve the chance of getting a successful purple cow.
A HISTORY OF ADVERTISING: BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER
According to Godin, there are major stages or division of advertising they include;
Before advertising: On this stage, there was word of mouth. Consumers first recommended products directly to each other through word of mouth. When a particular marketer did good or offer a great service, people would recommend them and that would lead a lot of people going there.
During Advertising: Advertising was very effective during this period. The power of television and media led to a magic formula. Merchants would be able to throw more money at advertising and see constant results. Hence if you advertised directly to the consumer you get more sales.
After Advertising: Today, we have discovered that the power of our new networks allows remarkable ideas as against the old fashioned, slow and awkward ways it used to be. Although, we have largely returned to the word of mouth method, but what differentiated it from the previous model is the fact that it is amplified by social networks in the speed and scale at which word can now spread.
In fact, there are many alternatives now that people can no longer be easily reached by television or mass media, which made the old method ineffective. However, its not just the television that’s fading, the newspapers, magazines and any form of media interrupting any form of consumers activities. In addition, individuals and businesses have stopped paying attention. And that is the problem. The television – industrial complex is fading away and marketers don’t have a clue what to do about it. Every day, companies spend millions to recreate the glory day of the television-industrial complex, and every day they fail.
THE OLD RULE AND THE NEW RULE
TELEVISION-INDUSTRIAL AGE — POST TELEVISION AGE
Average product —- Remarkable product
Advertise to anyone —- Advertise to early adopters
Fear of failure —- Fear of fear
Long cycle —- Short cycle
Small changes —- Big changes
While the old rule encouraged create safe, ordinary products and combines them with great marketing, the new rule on the other hand adopts creating remarkable products that the right people seek out.
Most companies however, are afraid of taking risks, that’s why it is this book advised that “taking risk now is safer than not taking risks”. If you make a product that look like all others without any significant differentiation, your product will be “invisible”. For example, Buick was a boring product because it was always designed in a conservative way, and had no great sales as a result. Opposite of Buick was Andrew Weil who took an alternate approach and focused on combining regular and alternative medicines. The practice which was seen as being odd by the medical institutions. However, it paid off for him, Andrew was able to help a lot of people through his clinics.
FOLLOWING THE LEADER
Any business that choose to mirror the movements of a market leader by emulating their products, business strategies and marketing is hardly to progress. The being that, by trying to copying from another company will always make you slow to reaction and the market will change underneath you. One major reason that make it so hard to follow a leader as pointed out by Godin, is this: the leader is the leader because he did something remarkable and that remarkable thing is taken – its no longer remarkable thing when you do it. However, instead of copying the leader’s moves exactly, introduce something different that would distinguished you from the leader. This, efficaciously puts you ahead of them and not just on the same level.
Record companies are prime example of industries that was slow to react to changing market because they kept producing the same products and packaging.
THE WILL AND THE WAY
Every business I believe, has plenty of great opportunities to do great things. I don’t think there’s a shortage of remarkable ideas. What is missing isn’t the idea it the will to execute them. Not even the numerous excuses that we come up with is enough nor the fact that we don’t have the ability to find the great idea. Or if we do, that we don’t know how to distinguish the great ideas from the lousy ideas, are enough reasons, but the ability to identify the specific things we can do tomorrow, to start our way to the purple cow. This can make it possible that if we’ve got the will, we’ll find the way.
WHY THE STREET JOURNAL FAILED
Seth Godin highlighted three major reasons that made wall street journal annoys so much. One was that they find is difficult to run a full page ads for any company. Secondly, their ads was contextually poor, that is, the content makes it very problematic for one to identify the company that runs the ads on the journal. And lastly the readers cannot be able to request for more information. Notwithstanding, just because its an ad doesn’t mean it can’t be remarkable. If the goal of the advertiser was to create a remarkable impact – to create ads that actually got people to sit -up take notice and tell their colleagues – the ads would be a lot better than they are today.
TARGETING CUSTUMER SEGMENT: THE EXPLANATION OF MOORE’S CURVE.
They are five groups of customers mentioned by Godin in purple cow; Innovators, Early adopters Early majority, Late majority and the Laggards.
The early and late majority is the biggest chunks of the market. It is advised that you shouldn’t target this groups at the start, you will only go after early adopters and the innovator (sneezers) in the start, because the are more likely to try your new products and help you create word of mouth or tell their colleagues. Because they pride themselves on being innovators. Thus, they are the powerful motivation for moving your product forward.
Finally, the laggards fill out the far right, (slackers, people buying their DVD and first digital camera today.
THE BIG MISUNDERSTANDING (IDEAS THAT SPREAD WIN)
Most people will be scared to create a purple cow, they’re afraid of the criticism of others and about looking silly. However, opposite is the true. Purple cow is not a cheap shortcut, it is however, the strategy for growth. It isn’t cheap but it works. We need to understand to investing in cow, because it pay at the long run and to do this, you need to create idea-virus.
TARGETING YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMERS
It is useless to advertise to anyone (except interested sneezer with influence). Despite the fact that targeted ads are far more cost-effective, yet most advertising and marketing efforts are completely targeted. There’s a huge amount of waste here, so much that its easy to assert that advertising isn’t working. But very different kind of ad does work. The questions that need to be answered is why? What is it about some ads and products that makes them successful while others do fail? For instant, Google ads is good tool for this, because it allows you to target specifically to queries that describe a specific problem someone have. Thus, it is very important to show your ads to exactly the customers who are likely to listen to your message and want to buy your product.
The goal of purple cow is to make it clear that its safer to be risky – to fortify your desire to do truly amazing things. Once you see that the old way have nowhere to go but down, it becomes even more imperative to create things worth talking about. That is purple cow.