PURPLE COW : Seth Godin

Introduction

The premise of Purple Cow is that the old way to build a business (making safe, average products and then marketing them by buying as much TV advertising you can afford) is no longer effective. Instead, we need to make remarkable products that customers will tell other people about. The idea is that a brown cow isn’t worth telling someone about, but a purple cow… that’s remarkable, that’s worth talking about.

‘Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable’ . Hello everyone I am {narrator name}. I am an Entepreneur and and Digtal artist who love reading books and sharing the knowledge, so here is it.

Seth Godin begins his book sharing about his family vacation to France. As Godin and his family were driving along the highway, they were amazed by the herds of cows they saw grazing in the green pastures. The cows were eating happily in the warm breezy weather and the scene looked like something straight out of a storybook.The view went on for miles and miles. At first, Seth and his family were delighted by it. But soon, they got bored because the herds of cows just went on without changing.The brown cows ceased to be entertaining. The sight of them became common and boring. But, just imagine if you were driving through the French countryside and suddenly you saw a purple cow!  Now, that would be very interesting.That is where Seth got the idea of his book, “Purple Cow”. A purple cow means something that is remarkable.
 
In this book, you will learn how to create a remarkable product and how to come up with outstanding marketing. Remarkable means something which is new, exceptional and outstanding. It means something definitely worth talking about.Traditional marketing is dead. It is as boring as a brown cow. There are too many advertisements and too much competition in the market. So, how can you make your product sell? How do you maintain a successful business? The secret is to have a Purple Cow. This book will teach you how.SO let’s get in to it

Why You Need the Purple Cow

Before advertising, businesses would sell by  word of mouth. If people liked your product, and if it solved their problems, then they would talk about it and share it with people they knew.The rise of television and print ads gave way to a new formula for advertising. If the company bought air time for TV commercials and ad space on newspapers or magazines, people would see them and buy the product.People are tired of too much TV, print and online ads. There’s too much information. People are too busy to listen. So, how do you market your product? You should make it remarkable. You should design it in a way that it cuts across the sea of advertising. Let’s take for example, aspirin. It must have been amazing to be the first company to sell aspirin. It is a product that everyone wants and needs. It is easy to find, cheap and effective. The first sellers of aspirin must have earned huge money.
 
However, if you want to sell a new brand of aspirin today, you’re going to have a big problem. There are a lot of aspirin brands out in the market: Advil, Bayer, Excedrin, St. Joseph, and Tylenol, among others.Even if your product is a little better than these brands, how are you going to sell it? If your company has a budget, you might go for TV, print or online ads. But first, you need to find people who want to buy your aspirin.The truth is, it’s not for everyone. How many people are willing to try a new brand of aspirin? The majority of people will probably prefer the brand that they grew up with. These people already have an effective and trusted aspirin. They would not want to risk their money for a new brand.
 
Most people will not buy your product. Why? It may be that they don’t have time, they don’t have money, or they don’t like your product. In the end, you are invisible. That is the truth about marketing nowadays; the old rules are out, and that is why you need a Purple Cow.

The Death of the TV-Industrial Complex

The TV-industrial complex was dominant from the 1950s to 1990s. Companies invested lots of money into this system. But with the advances of the new millennium, the system is dead.The TV-industrial complex works like this: an entrepreneur needs to find a large market which is expanding and not yet dominated. Then, the entrepreneur must build a factory and manufacture their product. After that, they market their product through lots of TV advertisements.People will see the product and this will lead to sales and increased distribution. With a high demand, the factor  will continue producing, and the entrepreneur will earn profits and use this money to buy more TV ads.
 
The label “as seen on TV” guaranteed consumers that the product is of high-quality. Brands with TV commercials are what most consumers are likely buy at the grocery store. Brands with no commercials remain unknown to consumers.The TV-industrial complex worked for companies like Revlon, Quaker, and Proctor & Gamble (P&G) . Here are some of the P&G brands you probably remember on TV : Crest, Downy, Head & Shoulders, Folgers, Ivory, Mr Clean, Olay, Pampers, Pringles, SafeGuard, Tide, Zest and Irish Spring. TV commercials worked for P&G and many other companies. They have perfected this medium, and they earned lots of profit from it. The TV-industrial complex lasted for five decades, however, in the new millennium, it is fading away.
 
Big brands still spend millions to advertise on TV, but the market is not the same anymore. The old marketing rule was “Create ordinary and safe products then combine them with powerful advertising.” But, the new marketing rule is “Create remarkable products that a specific group of people want and need.

Getting In

Geoff Moore, the author of “Crossing the Chasm”, introduced the idea of the diffusion curve.The Diffusion curve shows how a new idea or new product moves through the population. It looks like a bell curve divided into five parts. The first and smallest part, which is on the left, represents innovators. Next to it are the ‘early adopters’, or the people who first utilize a new product or idea. The biggest portions are shown in the middle – called the early and late majority. The last part on the right are the laggards.Moore’s curve explains that all kinds of new products follow this pattern after their initial launch. The first who will buy are the innovators, the people who will always want to get everything first. It doesn’t matter if they need the product or not, they just want to be the first to purchase it.
 
Next are the early adopters. They are the people who are always on the look-out for a new product to use and are willing to spend money on brands they haven’t heard of.The biggest chunk of the market, where the curve is the highest in the middle,  is composed of the early and late majority. These people don’t really like new products, and they tend to be satisfied with the brands they’ve known all their lives. Occasionally, the early and late majority listen to their ‘early adopter’ friends about a new product, but there is no guarantee that they will buy.The TV-industrial complex targeted the biggest chunk of the market. That is why companies spent lots of money on advertising. The big brands wanted to grab the early and late majority, but in the concept of Purple Cow, gaining the attention of early adopters is enough.
 
The majority of consumers are already happy with the products they use. They don’t want anything new. So your best chance is to sell to the people who actually like new stuff, who want change and who are actively looking for novelty. These are the early adopters. Your best hope is that the early adopters will like your new product enough that they will talk about it and by word of mouth, (for example, conversations with friends or social media posts), the early adopters will get your product to the rest of the curve. They will move your product to the early and late majority for you.That is why you need to create a product remarkable enough that the early adopters will like it. Remarkable doesn’t mean outrageous, it means fresh, fun, unique and innovative, yet it is effective at solving people’s problems.
 
Take for example, digital cameras. At first, only computer geeks and gadget-heads bought them. Digital cameras were a bit tricky to use, and the photo quality wasn’t that great. In time, the manufacturers improved their products and the early adopters became more successful at convincing their friends to use digital cameras.Because of early adopters, the sale of digital cameras went up. The early and late majority came to like them, as well. Digital cameras were cheaper and more convenient than traditional film cameras, and eventually replaced them altogether.If your product is remarkable in the right way, it will attract early adopters. The benefits of your new product should be evident and simple to explain. That is so that the early adopters will find it easy to convince other people to buy. 

Ideas That Spread Win

A new product or a new brand is a kind of idea.  The ideas that spread succeed and earn lots of money. Seth Godin calls them ‘ideaviruses’.‘Sneezers’ are the ones who spread the ‘ideavirus’. They are people who tell their family, friends or co-workers about a new product they’ve tried, usually early adopters are also the sneezers. As a creator of a new product, you must appeal to these ‘sneezers’ because they are most likely the ones willing to try your new brand and spread it to people they know. How do you create a product that the sneezers will like? Do not make a product for everyone because that is a product for no one;  big brands have already taken the spot.
 
Instead, focus on a specific target niche; find your target market. Create a product for the right kind of people. In this way, you can cut off a chunk from the mainstream.You should give what early adopters need. Supply them the best value you can and they will respond to it. If you satisfy them, these sneezers will spread your ideavirus. Hopefully, your product will move to the larger market just like what happened with digital cameras. Here are examples of sneezers and ideaviruses: Do you know what type of motorcycle Shaquille O’ Neal uses? It is designed by Jesse James, who is a custom-maker of big bikes. He owns the brand called West Coast Choppers. The price range is over $100,000. Each of Jesse’s designs takes several months to make, but his clients are willing to wait just to get that premium quality, personalized, and hand-made motorcycle.Marissa Meyer is a top employee of Google. The core team of Google used to get regular emails from a person who criticized the famous search engine, always sent with a two-digit number but no name.
 
It took a while before Marissa and other team members figured out what the numbers meant. The sender was referring to the number of words on the Google homepage. When the words were too many, like 52, the writer would get irritated and email the new homepage word count.
This anonymous writer was helpful to the early designers of Google. They learned to be more disciplined in creating the Google interface and were careful not to put too many links.

Cheating

There are companies that don’t use old marketing techniques; they provide remarkable products and services and don’t spend too much money on advertising, yet these brands sell.In the view of their competitors, it seems like these companies are cheating because they don’t play by the common rules, but they still win.In this sense, Starbucks is cheating.  Howard Schultz took coffee to a whole new level so that when  people think of coffee, they think of Starbucks.Amazon is cheating. The company offers free shipping and a wide range of products. Amazon already has an unfair advantage over all its competitors.
 
Wendy’s is cheating. They are flexible enough to offer six fresh salad entrees. Because of that, Wendy’s captures a big portion of the adult market.Ducati is cheating. They don’t create motorcycles for everybody. They only cater to specific clients who are willing to pay an expensive price for top-of-the-line motorcycles.HBO is cheating. They only create a few original programs which are aired one night a week. The rest of the time, HBO shows old movies.Vanguard is cheating. They offer low-cost index funds for individual investors. This makes it difficult for full-service brokers to compete.If these companies are highly profitable, then why would you not follow suit and adapt to the Purple Cow approach as well?

Case Study: How Dutch Boy Stirred Up the Paint Business

Dutch Boy had a simple, yet remarkable solution for being different than their competitors: they changed the design of the paint can.Paint cans are hard to carry, hard to open, hard to pour from, and hard to close. They are heavy and made of steel. Yet, paint cans have been like this for a long time. Everyone just thought that this is how paint cans should be.But Dutch Boy saw no reason why paint cans should be this inconvenient, and they recognized  that the design of the can is an important part of the product.People don’t want paint as it is; what they want are want painted walls. So, Dutch Boy had a remarkable idea to change the paint can, to help make the job of painting easier.
 
This is how Dutch Boy came up with the plastic paint jug, with a handle on the side. The twist-and-pour container is easier to carry, easier to pour from, easier to open and close. Because of this, the sales of Dutch Boy increased significantly.This is an example of marketing done the right way. Effective marketing is when the business changes the product and not the ads.Dutch Boy pioneered the plastic container in the paint business.Can you redefine your product in a similar way to increase sales? 

Case Study: Krispy Kreme

There are only two kinds of people in the world – those who know the legend of Krispy Kreme and assume that everybody knows it, and those who live in a place where Krispy Kreme hasn’t shown up yet.Krispy Kreme makes delicious doughnuts. That is a fact. But is Krispy Kreme worth driving an hour for? Serious doughnuts lovers believe it is. And this is why the company is a huge success.When Krispy Kreme launches in a new town, they start by giving away thousands of free doughnuts. Of course, the people who would show up first are the doughnut lovers. These people are fans of Krispy Kreme already, and they are happy that the brand is finally in town.These ‘sneezers’ are so happy that they tell their friends, convince them to try these doughnuts and even accompany their friends to the store. Krispy Kreme is an expert in making their product the talk of the town.
 
After that, the second phase begins. Once Krispy Kreme opens the main branch in an area, they make deals with coffee shops, gas stations and delis. The goal is to make it easier for other people to see their product. They are not sneezers, but they will come to love Krispy Kreme, as well.So the marketing strategy of Krispy Kreme is to start with people who are willing to drive twenty miles to buy doughnuts and finish off with those who are too lazy to drive to the doughnut shop.Because of this, more people will be converted as doughnut lovers and become sneezers as well.It is important to note that the Krispy Kreme phenomenon will not work with brownies or bagels, because the company has specifically targeted the doughnut obsession of people.Krispy Kreme knows effective marketing: they figured out their specific market niche first and then created a remarkable product. It will not be successful the other way around.

What does Howard know?

Starbucks makes truly delicious coffee. It is because the founder, Howard Schultz, loves coffee. He calls people who don’t drink coffee in the morning as “pre-caffeinated.” Howard stayed for several months in Italy to learn about and study coffee.How does a product become remarkable? It is often because the owner is passionate about what he is selling himself. The hot chocolate at Starbucks isn’t as amazing as the coffee, because Howard isn’t as obsessed with chocolate as he is with coffee. Hot chocolate is just part of the menu. Are you obsessed with what you do or are you just making a living? The first question when following the Purple Cow approach is to ask, “How do you know if it’s remarkable?” This is a question which comes from people who are not passionate about what they’re selling.
 
John Scharffenberger, the creator of Scharffen Berger Chocolate, can easily tell high-quality chocolate from ordinary chocolate.Seth Godin used to run a book packaging business. He always asked applicants, “How often do you go to the bookstore?” He asked this because people who love shopping for books will know what kind of books will sell.Patagonia is a company which sells outdoor clothing. All of Patagonia’s staff are adventure lovers: when the surf is up, the employees go out to hit the waves. That is also when they get ideas for remarkable products.Now, compare this to people who work at General Mills or Kellogg’s: while there are probably a few of them who are passionate about cereals or baking products, most of them just sell their brands as a way to earn a living.
 
Imagine how amazing Pop-Tarts would be if the brand manager was the kind of person who eats Pop-Tarts for dinner.What if you’re creating or marketing something that you’re not passionate about? The secret is the art of projecting. You need to get inside the heads of people who love the product, to immerse yourself in fan conventions, magazines or blogs. Do whatever it takes to feel how the fanatics feel about this product

Case Study: The Best Baker in the World

Lionel Poilane was a French baker, he inherited the family business from his father, but Lionel didn’t just stay in the store and bake all day – he did something truly remarkable.Lionel interviewed thousands of French bakers and learned their techniques. He was the first one to use organic flour in the entire nation of France. Lionel never wanted to bake baguettes because according to him, they are bland and very un-French. The truth is that baguettes originally came from Vienna, Austria. Lionel also collected many bread cookbooks from around the world and read them all.
 
The famous Poilane bread is only composed of four ingredients:  flour, sourdough, sea salt and water. Lionel hand-made them and baked them in a wood-fired oven. This remains the recipe of Poilane bread until now.Lionel did not hire professional bakers. He said that they have many bad habits which are difficult to unlearn; instead,  Lionel recruited young men and made them his apprentices over the years.French restaurants rejected the Poilane bread at first. They thought that Lionel’s recipe was too radical and different. But they could not ignore the fact that Lionel’s loaves were very high in quality, and eventually he convinced the restaurant owners.
 
Today, every restaurant in Paris serves Poilane bread. People from all over the world come to Lionel’s original shop at Rue de Cherche Midi to buy loaves of the four-pound sourdough bread. They are huge, round, and they have the signature P of Poilane. Each loaf costs $40.The Poilane bread is shipped to many countries, and became a global hit. Apollonia Poilane, daughter of Lionel, now runs the company. She is already a third-generation French baker.The total sales of Poilane reach over $10 million every year.What can we learn from the story of Poilane bread? Don’t be scared to be different. If you have studied your product and you know that your target market would love it, then it’s worth a try.
 
Poilane bread is a perfect example of a Purple Cow. Baguettes are common in France, so they are already ordinary and boring. They’re like a brown cow.But Lionel made his bread truly remarkable; it is all-natural, hand-made, and cooked in a wood-fire. It’s different, but very high in quality and because of that, Poilane became a huge success.

Conclusion

You learned about the Purple Cow. You learned about the new marketing rule, which is to create a remarkable product for a specific group of people.You learned about Moore’s curve, and about early adopters and sneezers -they are your best hope for success.You learned about effective marketing from successful businesses such as Dutch Boy, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks and Poilane bread. Effective marketing begins at product design: do not create a product and then find a market, you must first find your target market and then create a remarkable product.You now know how to succeed in today’s modern market. Now, take the first step. You have what it takes to ac

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