Purple Cow

Author: Seth Godin

World leading blogger Seth Godin describes how in the last decade marketing has evolved from direct marketing to masses to providing customers with remarkable products (Purple Cows) and engaging with them to help provide ways to market these (‘sneeze’) to their friends and contacts.  Strategies on how to manage this evolution are provided as failure not to do so will result in redundancy

Not enough Ps

– Marketings talk about 5 Ps of marketing (of ~8):
     – Product
     – Pricing
     – Promotion
     – Positioning
     – Publicity
     – Packaging
     – Pass-along
     – Permission
– New P = purple cow = remarkable
     – worth talking about, noticing, new, interesting
Marketing directly to masses no longer applicable
     1. All obvious easily solved problems have gone
     2. Consumers are hard to reach therefore ignore you (little time but lots of choices)
     3. Satisfied customers less likely to tell friends
– Death of tv-industrial complex
     – Old rule: create safe ordinary products & combine w/ great marketing
     – New rule: create remarkable products that the right ppl seek out
          – right ppl = early adopters > than rest as heavily influence others
     – Tv industrial vs. now (e.g. new v.s old beetle car)
          – Ave. vs. remarkable product
          – Advertise to everyone vs. early adopters
          – Fear of failure vs. fear of fear
          – Long cycle vs. short
          – Small changes vs. big changes
     – Successful companies = outliers
Key takeaways:
+ Instead of trying to use your tech and expertise to make a better product for your user’s standard behaviour, experiment with inviting users to change their behaviour to make product dramatically better
+ If product future unremarkable (ppl not fascinated) don’t invest, take products and invest in new product
+ Good product = remarkable for early adopter but flexible & attractive enough for them to tell their friends
     – Need sneezers (idea spreadings)
     – aim for niches
+ Idea virus:
     – easy to spread?
     – do group talk much?
     – do group believe each other?
     – how often sneezed?
     – how reputable are ppl who sneeze it?
     – how persistent is idea?
+ Customer segmentation:
     – differentiate customers & find the most profitable
     – For them, develop/advertise/reward
          – hv there emails offer something special
     – For the rest, Ignore!
+ Advantage of leading brand is huge -> be that brand
+ Target niches – appeal to them
     – Zespri targetted Latin foodies
+ Catch 22 of being remarkable
     – Difficult times – can’t afford to be different
     – Good times – can afford to be conservative
+ Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, you learn and standout from them
     – if you acknowledge you won’t ever catch a leader by doing the same then standout and do something different, compete to lead
+ Need to measure the KPIs so you can adapt 
     – Zara changes product lines every 3-4 weeks
+ If develop a Purple Cow must continue to take risks to stay at the top
     – Micromuse, AOL
+ Find the decision makers/influencers of buying behaviour
     – Curad make plasters with cartoons on => kids loved them and wanted them
+ Don’t rebrand/change product if not remarkable – Do nothing!
     – Ben & Jerry’s only released a new product when had a super cool one, not every yr (but every yr they gave free scoops in all their stores for one day)
+ Okatu (Jp) ‘something more than a hobby but a little less than an obsession’ = sneezers of Purple Cow
+ Slogans = scripts for sneezers: must be true, consistent and worth passing on
+ Stand out through customer care:
     – Haagen Dazs shops had cards with the Managers phone number in each store
+ Working with sneezers
     – Permission marketing
     – Give them tools and story to sell idea to wider audience
     – When cross line from remarkable to profitably, milk it
     – Reinvest to launch another Purple Cow
+ Employees must have otaku e.g. Starbucks CEO loving coffee
+ Outrageousness is not a long run strategy
+ Brainstorm ideas
     – recommendations
     – design
     – simplicity/usability
     – service – Ted Leonsis 4 Seasons
     – don’t want to give up expertise (Bloomberg)
     – refund regardless
     – personal – Jesse James motorcycles
     – best at something worth measuring e.g. Bugatti Veyron
     – care if something goes wrong
     – premiums for last increments e.g. Bose noise reduction
     – stand out: beautiful ppl (Abercrombie), dress (Hooters, Sausage Company)
+ Purple Cos
     – think of 10 ways to change your product to focus on a niche
     – think small – aim for small niches
     – outsource
     – build permission asset
     – copy from other industries
     – go further than anyone else
     – do ‘just not done’ things
     – ask ‘why not?’
Tom Peters = Seth’s hero