Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

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Overview

You're either a Purple Cow or you're not. You're either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice.

What do Starbucks and JetBlue and KrispyKreme and Apple and DutchBoy and Kensington and Zespri and Hard Candy have that you don't? How do they continue to confound critics and achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and true brands to gasp their last?

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Overview

You're either a Purple Cow or you're not. You're either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice.

What do Starbucks and JetBlue and KrispyKreme and Apple and DutchBoy and Kensington and Zespri and Hard Candy have that you don't? How do they continue to confound critics and achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and true brands to gasp their last?

Face it, the checklist of tired 'P's marketers have used for decades to get their product noticed -Pricing, Promotion, Publicity, to name a few-aren't working anymore. There's an exceptionally important 'P' that has to be added to the list. It's Purple Cow.

Cows, after you've seen one, or two, or ten, are boring. A Purple Cow, though...now that would be something. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat out unbelievable. Every day, consumers come face to face with a lot of boring stuff-a lot of brown cows-but you can bet they won't forget a Purple Cow. And it's not a marketing function that you can slap on to your product or service. Purple Cow is inherent. It's built right in, or it's not there. Period.

In Purple Cow, Seth Godin urges you to put a Purple Cow into everything you build, and everything you do, to create something truly noticeable. It's a manifesto for marketers who want to help create products that are worth marketing in the first place.


About the Author

Seth Godin is the worldwide bestselling author of Permission Marketing, Unleashing the Ideavirus, and Survival is not Enough. He is a renowned public speaker, has started several successful companies, and is a contributing editor at Fast Company Magazine.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The world is changing ever more rapidly, and the rules of marketing are no different, writes Godin, the field's reigning guru. The old ways-run-of-the-mill TV commercials, ads in the Wall Street Journal and so on-don't work like they used to, because such messages are so plentiful that consumers have tuned them out. This means you have to toss out everything you know and do something "remarkable" (the way a purple cow in a field of Guernseys would be remarkable) to have any effect at all, writes Godin (Permission Marketing; Unleashing the Ideavirus). He cites companies like HBO, Starbucks and JetBlue, all of which created new ways of doing old businesses and saw their brands sizzle as a result. Godin's style is punchy and irreverent, using short, sharp messages to drive his points home. As a result the book is fiery, but not entirely cohesive; at times it resembles a stream-of-consciousness monologue. Still, his wide-ranging advice-be outrageous, tell the truth, test the limits and never settle for just "very good"-is solid and timely. (May 12) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Following the traditional rules of marketing just isn't enough anymore. In today's competitive economy, companies that want to create a successful new product must create a remarkable new product. According to bestselling author and marketing guru Seth Godin, such a product is a Purple Cow, a product or service that is worth making a remark about.

The impact of advertising in newspapers and magazines is fading — people are overwhelmed with information and have stopped paying attention to most media messages. To create Purple Cow products, Godin advises companies to stop advertising and start innovating. Godin recommends that marketers target a niche, and he describes effective ways to spread your idea to the consumers who are most likely to buy your product.

Godin claims there isn't a shortage of remarkable ideas — every business has opportunities to do great things — there's a shortage of the will to execute those ideas.

For many years, marketers have used the five (or more) Ps as guidelines for selling their product and achieving their company's goals. Some of the Ps include: Product, Pricing, Promotion, Positioning, Publicity, Packaging, Permission, and Pass-along. According to the popular theory, if these elements aren't all in place, the marketing message is unclear and ineffective. Making the right marketing moves does not guarantee success, but the prevailing wisdom used to be that if your Ps were right, you had a better chance of succeeding in the marketplace.

But at a certain point in the evolution of marketing, it became clear that following the Ps just isn't enough. This book tells about a new P — Purple Cow — that is extremely important to marketers in today's fast-paced, highly competitive business environment.

Purple Cow refers to a product or service that is different from the rest and somehow remarkable.Purple Cow tells about the why, the what, and the how of remarkable. Remarkable marketing is the process of building things into your product or service that are worth noticing. Not adding marketing to your product or service at the last minute, but understanding that if what you're offering isn't remarkable, it is invisible in the marketplace.

Whether you are marketing a product or service to consumers or corporations, the sad truths about marketing are that:

  • Most people can't buy your product — they don't have the money, don't have the time, or simply don't want it.
  • If consumers don't have enough money to buy what you are selling at the price you are selling it for, you don't have a market for your product or service.
  • If consumers don't have time to listen to and understand your marketing pitch, your product or service is invisible to them.
  • If consumers take the time to hear your pitch but decide they don't want what you are selling, you are not going to be successful.


TV commercials are the most effective selling tool ever devised. A large part of America's economic success in this century is due to the fact that our companies have perfected this medium and used it extensively. Cars, cigarettes, clothing, food — anything that was advertised well on television was changed by the medium. Marketers not only used television to promote products, but television changed the way products were created and marketed. Because of this, the marketing Ps changed to take advantage of the dynamic between creating products and capturing consumers' attention on television.

The impact of advertising on television and in newspapers and magazines is fading too, just like any form of media that interrupts any form of consumer activity. Individuals and businesses have just stopped paying attention.

The old rule was: CREATE SAFE, ORDINARY PRODUCTS AND COMBINE THEM WITH GREAT MARKETING.

The new rule is: CREATE REMARKABLE PRODUCTS THAT THE RIGHT PEOPLE SEEK OUT.

There isn't a shortage of remarkable ideas — every business has opportunities to do great things — there's a shortage of the will to execute them. Since the old ways of doing things have become obsolete, it's actually safer to take the risk inherent in trying to create remarkable things. Your best bet is to take the steps necessary to create Purple Cows.

Until an actual product or service is created, a brand or new product is nothing more than an idea. Ideas that spread rapidly — "ideaviruses" — are more likely to succeed than ideas that don't.

"Sneezers" are the people who launch and spread an ideavirus. These people are the experts who tell all their colleagues and friends about a new product or service that they are knowledgeable about. Every market has a few sneezers — finding and seducing these sneezers is essential to creating an ideavirus.

To create an idea (and a product or service) that spreads, don't try to make a product for everybody, because that is a product for nobody. Since the sneezers in today's huge marketplace have too many choices and are fairly satisfied, an "everybody" product probably won't capture their interest.

To connect with the mainstream, you must target a niche instead of a huge market. In targeting a niche, you approach a segment of the mainstream and create an ideavirus so focused that it overwhelms that small section of the market and those people will respond. The sneezers in this niche are more likely to talk about your product, and best of all, the market is small enough that just a few sneezers can spread the word to the number of people you need to create an ideavirus. Copyright © 2003 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591843177
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/12/2009
  • Pages: 210
  • Sales rank: 65,791
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Seth Godin is the author of Tribes, The Dip, All Marketers Are Liars, Permission Marketing, and many other international bestsellers that have changed the way businesspeople think and act. He's the most influential business blogger in the world and consistently one of the twenty-five most widely read bloggers in any category. He's also the founder and CEO of Squidoo (a successful Internet company) and a very popular lecturer. He lives in Westchester, New York. Visit www.SethGodin.com and click on his head.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 80 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 81 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Thumbs up for Purple Cow

    Reprinted from my blog at purplesteak.com. Slightly edited.

    Purple Cow is like a bowl of salsa. It is made up of many short chapters with a generous sprinkling of case studies of real organisations and people that are remarkably remarkable (or remarkably unremarkable). You can spoon it on its own, or dip your ideas into it to enhance their flavours- anytime and as many times as you'd like.

    Seth Godin, the author, calls Purple Cow the new P in the marketing list of five Ps (product, pricing, promotion, positioning, publicity, packaging, and more). Sure, there are more than five, but as Seth noted, everyone has their favourite five. Purple Cow is definitely in my list, which explains "Purple Steak (the name of my blog)."

    A Purple Cow refers to something extraordinary and remarkable. Two examples of Purple Cows in action are Lionel Poilane ("Case Study: The Best Baker in the World"), who sold $10 million worth of bread in one year; and Dario Cecchini ("Case Study: The Italian Butcher"), who has people crowding his butcher shop because they enjoy the meat-buying experience there.

    Although the subtitle of the book is "Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable," you don't really have to be (or aspire to be) in the business field to be inspired. What the book manages to achieve is to challenge the reader to the edges and explore the limits. The opposite of "remarkable" isn't "bad," - it's "very good." "Very good" is an overhyped myth. "Very good" causes you to be complacent. Worse, it causes you to settle. "Very good" doesn't get people talking, and lacks the punch. Anyone can be "very good," but only the remarkable few can be remarkable. And they are the remarkable few because they don't stop at "very good." And it is those remarkable ones who are the winners, while the "very goods" stay average.

    So whether you're a student, a teacher, a clerk, an artist, a fishmonger, whatever, you'll gain tremendously from Purple Cow. Nobody loses from being remarkably remarkable. If you hate to settle, if you want to stand out, if you want to create or do something extraordinary, then I strongly recommend this book to you.

    Stop being boring. Be remarkable.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2003

    A Purple Cow is remarkable

    If you want your business to stand out, you will definitely get what you want from this book. If you want your business to function optimally and you are interested in obtaining the best possible results, then read Optimal Thinking as well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2011

    Life Changing book - could read again and again

    I have read Purple Cow 3 times and every time I read it I get so many new ideas that revolutionize my approach to business.

    The book is an easy read and I would recommend to buy it.

    The best 3 ideas I got were:

    1. Small is the new Big: uncover a small niche market that you're passionate about and then become the absolute best person serving that market

    2. Don't be afraid to stand out. Be unique, gutsy, true to yourself and brand yourself in a unique way. Vanilla is dead - be purple!

    3. Make your product/service refer-able to a key group of sneezers who will do your marketing for you.

    All I can say is wow!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2009

    Purple Cow

    Written by marketing pro Seth Godin, Purple Cow is a great book for anyone interested in improving business or marketing skills. Godin discusses several companies that have become sucessful in business to day by standing out and making their product different from the rest. These companies are used as examples throughout the book, and each section discusses one major point or step to making your business a success. My favorite part of the book is the "takeaway" pionts given by Godin at the end of almost every section. This book is a great tool to help those involved in business and marketing begin to stand out and be successful.

    OSU Comp Student 2009

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2003

    Where being Very Good is well...Boring

    Seth has done it again. In the Purple Cow, he challenges you to expand your creativity thinking, to get you to look at the same-old-same-old from a new perspective. This book is filled with case studies and examples of what does and does not work in the world of the Purple Cow, and how to stand out and get noticed, without following the traditional methods of marketing and PR. I dare you to get even half-way through this book without having your head fairly bursting with ideas on how to improve upon and existing product or service - or creating a whole new one. The information contained in this book is a must have for anyone interested in changing the direction of their business. Don't just be very good - Be Remarkable. Be a Purple Cow.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2003

    Remarkable!

    'There are so many very good things that very good is hardly worth noticing. Are you making very good things? How fast can you stop?' This is the central idea of Purple Cow. You are either remarkable or invisible. Given that consumers see 86,000 commercials a year and have neither the time nor the desire to understand them, the old method of marketing is dead. A product's success is no longer a function of its advertising budget. Building on his concept of Ideavirus, Godin illustrates that exceptional products benefit from the free marketing of word-of-mouth. Think Napster, the Aeron chair, and JetBlue airlines. These products weren't advertised. They were so exceptional that the products marketed themselves. Part of being exceptional is understanding that 'safe is risky' and 'criticism is not the opposite of success'. Buy this quick-read book and start thinking about how you and your products can be remarkable. If you don't do it, your competitor will!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2003

    Mooove your business!

    I received this book as part of a pre release, in hopes to learn more about promoting my Avon business, and getting the jump start on companies in the future. I expected a cut and dried book, but what I got was an awesome viewpoint, well written with bits of humor thrown in! I read the entire book in less than a day! I love the concepts, the theory, and hope to promote the book in hopes that everyone can adopt a new outlook on advertising, and more! This book is aimed mostly toward 'new product' companies, not someone like me who is selling someone else's product, but I got tips on how to advertise, what works for advertising, and what does not do well in promotions. I also learned that word of mouth sells it all!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2003

    awesome book, changes the way you see the world!

    this book was fantastic! not only is it the best bussiness related books i have ever read, its so intresting i had trouble ever putting it down. this book will change the way you view the world, read it....and start seeing purple cows everywhere!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    Az

    Shovies it in

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    Read epic story!!!!!

    Fock u :0 8===D LoL

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2013

    Gg

    Gg

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    Jen

    Hey

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    JJ

    Hey jesse.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

    MISTYCLAW I AM LOCKED OUT PLEASE MOVE CAMP

    Thanks

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2013

    JJ

    Hey!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    JJ

    Hey

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    Mya

    Waits

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2013

    Ocean

    Hold on igtg ill be back in a cupl hrs

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    Mysterycloud

    *scanns the clearing*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    Stonestar

    "Ya. Warrior cat rpg, demigod rpg." ~Stone

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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