Purple Cow – Seth Godin [Book Summary]

by Nick

Advertising Has Lost Its Former Influence

Marketing is undergoing dramatic changes.

Previously, including television or opening a newspaper, we saw ads for only a few products.

These products were exclusive and automatically aroused interest.

Now the consumer is overloaded with advertising, and it is almost impossible to attract the attention of the buyer.

People have no time to read all the advertisements.

The survey showed that people reading the newspaper could not name two companies with full-page advertising. Consumers ignore marketing that does not meet their needs: you will not notice a car advertisement unless you need a new car.

Traditional media advertising is ineffective. Advertising on television will see a lot of people, but not everyone needs your product. Part of the audience will react, and few will really be ready to buy a product.

It has become more difficult for companies to reach the target market and promote their products. Let’s say you are releasing a new pain medication and want to advertise it.

Seth says that the market is already full of competitors, and you need to overcome three obstacles.

  1. Find consumers who need pain medication.
  2. To distinguish among buyers those who are not satisfied with existing drugs.
  3. Find those who pay attention to your ad and buy a product.

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The Product or Service Must Be Outstanding

Ad performance is declining. Its development can be divided into three periods.

  1. Origin. Word of mouth is the oldest form of advertising. People rumored about the best seller in the market, which attracted more buyers.
  2. Heyday. Then advertising was considered magic – the more the product was advertised, the faster sales grew. Companies bought advertising to increase profits, which they spent on increasing advertising.
  3. Regression. Present tense. We returned to the word of mouth system. With the help of social networks like Twitter and Facebook, reviews about a product or service are instantly distributed.

The choice is huge, and it is not enough just to satisfy the needs of the buyer. To get their attention, you need to be outstanding. You need to make a purple cow out of goods or services – something unusual and attractive.

Example. Volkswagen Beetle. The original Beetle was popular for more than fifteen years, so the release of the updated model seemed a daunting task. The success was brought by special shapes and attractive colors that set the car apart from the rest. In addition, good reviews and rumor added fame to the car.

Risk is Safer Than Caution

There are many ways to market an outstanding product or service. But most companies are reluctant to study them, afraid to try new things. Overcome this fear, because in a crowded market there is no place for mediocrity: not to stand out means to remain invisible.

Example. The Buick car model always seemed boring, as the company decided not to experiment with the design. Therefore, the car was not particularly popular.

Dr. Andrew Weil began to combine traditional and alternative medicine, which was not approved by all medical facilities. The bold decision paid off. Vale helps hundreds of thousands of people: opens clinics, publishes books, and gives presentations.

A popular but unsuccessful follow-up simulation strategy will never make you your own leader. The market will inevitably change, and one day you will be trapped, not used to trying something new. Leaders take risks and create something exceptional. Imitating someone, it is impossible to become outstanding.

Example. For a long time, record companies simply imitated each other. But with a change in the technological environment, online music stores began to appear, and record labels were puzzled because they had never encountered any changes.

Pay Particular Attention to Customers Who Are Willing to Recommend You to Others.

How to tell the world about the outstanding product you created? For this, the following consumer groups exist.

  • Innovators. People who like to try new things.
  • Early followers. They are interested in new products and are happy to take advantage of any advantage they provide.
  • The early and belated majority. Pragmatists buying only proven products that others use. This is the majority of consumers.
  • Late followers. They do not want to accept the new and do it only when absolutely necessary.

According to traditional marketing, one must focus on the early and belated majority as the largest consumer segment. But this is a mistake – such people are reluctant to accept new items. Focus on early followers: they are excited about new products and, more importantly, they can create a stir.

Example. Digital cameras are more convenient and cheaper than conventional film cameras. How to organize the right marketing? Focus on fans of new technologies and professional photographers. These are early followers who will appreciate the benefits of your product and convince others to use it. They will bring customers from other segments.

Encourage people to create hype around the product. To do this, ask yourself the questions: “How can people freely recommend the product to others?” And “My target group speaks about products that she likes?”.

Marketing: Not Just Selling, but Inventing a Product

What does “marketing” include? Marketing was thought to communicate the value of products and services. But, in fact, this is what advertising does.

Marketing begins with the invention of the product. Every aspect of a new product (design, manufacturing, pricing and sales) is correlated with marketing considerations. The head of marketing should be involved in product development and employee training.

Marketing also reveals a competitive advantage that sets you apart from the rest. To determine the main advantage, you need to try several of them, carefully identifying the differences in pricing and promotion between you and your competitors.

The basis of marketing lies in the product itself, therefore, a simple and understandable advertising slogan is needed that conveys the main idea.

Example. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a world-famous attraction because the main idea is simple and understandable. Her “advertising slogan” is a leaning tower.

The Pantheon in Athens, a historically more significant place, does not have such a slogan. Therefore, only one percent of the annual visitors to the Leaning Tower of Pisa visits it.

A great, wordless slogan is Tiffany & Co.’s signature blue packaging. She exudes the idea of ​​elegance and quality, attracting admiring glances.

Promote Your Product to Consumers Who Are Waiting for a Solution to Their Problems.

Most advertising is inefficient: its viewers are either not interested in the product, or do not belong to the segment of early followers.

How to create effective advertising and evaluate its effectiveness? The secret is in choosing the right audience. Marketers used to choose who the ads were for. But with its overabundance, the choice belongs to the buyers. Target ads to people who are waiting for you to solve your problem – place ads where they hope to see it.

Example. Ads on Google. People enter search terms, and advertisements are selected according to their request.

It is also necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising tactics.

Example. The Zara store monitors sales figures and, according to the report, adjusts clothing collections every three to four weeks.

You can only improve what you can appreciate. When considering the effectiveness of any action, always consider the cost of its assessment.

Many Companies Fear Criticism and Ridicule

It is often difficult for companies to become outstanding because they fear criticism. To be different is to be criticized.

Example. The new Cadillac CTS was heavily criticized because it was ugly. Despite this, it sold well. Creating the unusual inevitably raises criticism!

Criticism does not mean failure. And if you are not criticized, then you are cautious, and it is worth worrying (remember the importance of risk). Many companies are afraid to seem obscene or ridiculous due to courage. Yes, people can laugh at you. But making fun of your product, they make it popular.

No need to be too shocking – this does not always work and can even create a negative reputation for the company.

The biggest fear of large companies is the radical transformation of existing infrastructure to create a purple cow. Having understood what will make you outstanding, you have to go for global changes to achieve this.

Example. Brad Anderson, CEO of Best Buy, was able to overcome this fear. To distinguish the company from competitors, Anderson completely changed it: he began to be guided by the interests of consumers, not the company. The paradigm shift has changed the infrastructure of the business, which once invested a lot of money.

The Most Important Thing

If the company lags far behind the industry leader, do not imitate him. Instead, make a list of actions aimed at narrowing the gap. But they must all be different from the actions of the leader.

If you are a product developer, sign up for marketing courses. If you are a marketer, take a developer training course.

In both cases, be sure to spend time at the factory to understand how the product is made.

Create a purple cow, immediately considering the aspects of marketing.

Why You Should Read “Purple Cow”

  • To get actionable advice from marketing guru Seth Godin
  • To level up the marketing strategies
  • To stand out from the competition and obtain a unique brand image

This book is available as:

AudiobookeBook | Print