“Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable” by Seth Godin

Recommended to me by: Tshombe Brown

Seth Godin specializes in pithy marketing advice for this new era of marketing with permission rather than blanket advertising. In fact, he created the phrase “permission-based marketing,” and Purple Cow‘s mission is to convince marketers that the era of blanket advertising is over.

Seth Godin’s points:

In the old days (a few years ago), TV advertising drove demand, which created profits, which paid for more TV advertising. Now, that channel has been saturated – there are too many marketers competing for consumers’ limited attention.

Even if customers have clear needs and are open to receiving information, they turn to their friends or other trusted sources rather than to media advertising.

The solution is to create a product that is remarkable, like a purple cow, so that people will remark on it to their friends, and it will spread as an “ideavirus”.

While companies previously targeted the large number of mainstream customers with their message, it is now important to target those innovators and early adopters who will spread the word about remarkable products. Godin calls these people “sneezers” of the ideaviruses.

The book includes many brief case studies and suggestions for how to find or create a purple cow.

  • Find the edges of your product or service, and see where you can go further than others
  • Marketing should be part of product creation, not an afterthought
  • People need a clear, short phrase to help them spread the word.
  • Be willing to fail. The “safe route” isn’t safe anymore anyway.

While the book is heavily slanted toward product businesses, I’ll be thinking about how to apply the ideas to my own service business. I’ve noticed that many people have a strong reaction to the word trauma in my tagline “helping sensitive people heal from trauma” and my web address TraumaHealed.com, and I think that’s a step in the right direction.

Read more remarkable marketing ideas at Seth Godin’s blog.

Available at Powell’s Books.

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