Purple Cow by Seth Godin 

 July 22, 2010

By  Gavriel Shaw

Notes from the book Purple Cow by Seth Godin

The old rule was this

Create safe, ordinary products and combine them with great marketing

The new rule is

Create remarkable products that the right people seek out.

You must design a product that is remarkable enough to attract the early adopters – but is flexible enough and attractive enough that those adopters will have an easy time spreading the idea to the rest of the curve.

Ideas that spread are more likely to succeed than those that don’t.

Sneezers are the key spreading agents of an ideavirus. The experts who tell all their colleagues.. perceived authority.

Seducing these sneezers is the essential step in creating an ideavirus.

Ideavirus so focussed that it overwhelms that small slice of the market.

After it dominates that original niche, it will migrate to the masses.

They’re open to hearing your story only if it’s truly remarkable; otherwise, you’re invisible.

Make a list of competitors who are not trying to be everything to everyone. Pick and understand one niche.

Not standing out is the same as being invisible.

The only way to be remarkable is to do attract criticism. (polarise your market).

We often respond to aversion to criticism by hiding, avoiding the negative feedback, and thus (ironically) guaranteeing that we don’t succeed!

Boring always leads to failure

If you measure it, it will improve.

The Japanese have invented some truly useful words. One of them is otaku. Otaku describes something that’s more than a hobby but a little less than an obsession. Otaku is the overwhelming desire that gets someone to drive across town to try a anew ramen-noodle shop that got a great review.

Consumers with otake are the sneezers you seek. They’re the ones who will take the time to learn about your product, take the risk to try your product, and take their friends time to tell them about it. The task of the remarkable marketer is to identify these markets and focus on them to the exclusion of lesser markets – regardless of relative size.

This is marketing done right. Marketing where the marketer changes the product, not the ads.

Find the market niche first, and then make the remarkable product.

A slogan that accurately conveys the essence of your Purple Cow is a script. A script for the sneezer to use when she talks with her friends. The slogan reminds the user, ‘here’s why it’s worth recommending us’; here’s why you friends and colleagues will be glad you told them about us’.

Marketing is not something done ‘to’ a product. The marketing ‘is’ the product.

A camel is a horse designed by a committee.

Compromise can only diminshes your changes of success

Compromise is about sanding down the rough edges to gain buy-in from other constituences. Vanilla is a compromise ice cream flavor, while habanero pecan is not.

The real growth comes with products that annoy, offend, don’t appeal, are too expensive, too cheap, too heavy, too complicated, too simple – too something. (’too’ for some people, but just perfect for others).

Boostrapping entrepreneurs often upend existing industries because the dominant players in an industry are the last places you’ll find empowered mavericks.

Don’t use internal reviews and usability testing.. pick the right maverick and get out of the way.

Marketing (as it has generally been) was really better called ‘advertising’. Marketing is the act of investing the product. Designing, crafting, pricing, selling.

If a company is failing, it is the fault of the most senior management, and the problem is probably this: They’re running a company, not marketing a product.

Outrageous is not always remarkable. The outrageousness needs to have a purpose, and it needs to be built into the product.

[widget id=”ad-continue-marketing”]ad-continue-marketing[/widget]What makes it remarkable. If everyone liked it, it would be boring.

You’re probably guilty of being too shy,not too outrageous. Try being outrages, just for the sake of being annoying. It’s good practice. don’t do it too much because it doesn’t usually work. But it’s a good way to learn what it feels like to be at the edge.

Think of the smallest conceivable market, and describe a product that overwhelms it with its remarkability.

Gavriel Shaw

Gavriel has product and marketing expertise from a variety of roles, including CMO, Head of Growth, Head of Marketing, eCommerce Director, Web Marketing Director, Product Marketing Manager, and Senior Copywriter in various sectors, both B2C and B2B.

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