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Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
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Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

4.3 77
by Seth Godin

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The cult classic that revolutionized marketing by teaching businesses that you’re either remarkable or invisible.

Few authors have had the kind of lasting impact and global reach that Seth Godin has had. In a series of now-classic books that have been translated into 36 languages and reached millions of readers around the world, he has taught


The cult classic that revolutionized marketing by teaching businesses that you’re either remarkable or invisible.

Few authors have had the kind of lasting impact and global reach that Seth Godin has had. In a series of now-classic books that have been translated into 36 languages and reached millions of readers around the world, he has taught generations of readers how to make remarkable products and spread powerful ideas.

In Purple Cow, first published in 2003 and revised and expanded in 2009, Godin launched a movement to make truly remarkable products that are worth marketing in the first place. Through stories about companies like Starbucks, JetBlue, Krispy Kreme, and Apple, coupled with his signature provocative style, he inspires readers to rethink what their marketing is really saying about their product. In a world that grows noisier by the day, Godin's challenge has never been more relevant to writers, marketers, advertisers, entrepreneurs, makers, product managers, and anyone else who has something to share with the world.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Seth Godin says that the key to success is to find a way to stand out—to be the purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins. Godin himself may be the best example of how this theory works: The marketing expert is a demigod on the Web, bestselling author, highly sought-after lecturer, successful entrepreneur, respected pundit, and high-profile blogger. He is uniquely respected for his understanding of the Internet, and his essays and opinions are widely read and quoted online and off.”—Forbes.com

“Seth Godin alters the way people think about marketing, change, and work.”—Selling Power

“I love this book! Part wake-up call, part action plan, Purple Cow shows organizations how to add distinction—and avoid extinction.”—Tom Kelley, author of The Art of Innovation

“Godin is endlessly curious, opinionated, and knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. He is a relentless marketer…and also a clear-eyed visionary with strong and sensible ideas.”—Miami Herald

“Seth Godin may be the best intuitive marketer alive today. He’s in that tiny subset of the niche within the microcommunity of people who simply get it.”—Randall Rothenberg, columnist for Advertising Age

“Take Leo Burnett, David Ogilvy, Bill Bernbach, and Mark Twain. Combine their brains and shave their heads. What’s left? Seth Godin.”—Jay Levinson, author of Guerilla Marketing
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.



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

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
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Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Seth Godin is the author of more than a dozen bestsellers that have changed the way people think about marketing, leadership, and change, including Permission MarketingPurple CowAll Marketers Are LiarsSmall is the New BigThe DipTribesLinchpin, and Poke the Box. He is also the founder and CEO of Squidoo.com and a very popular lecturer. He writes one of the most influential business blogs in the world at sethgodin.com.

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Purple Cow 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Junyang More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
gtdbizmom More than 1 year ago
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!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was straight to the point and had awesome examples. It doesn't give you this fool-proof plan or teaches you exactly what to do to transform your business. But it gives you the ammunition to be motivated and inspired. I enjoyed it and will definitely read it again. 
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