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Book review: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being RemarkablePurple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seth Godin provides a refreshingly simple but effective alternative to traditional advertising: build marketing into your product (or service) by making it remarkable and worth talking about. You’ll stand out like a purple cow in a plain herd, and people will notice and spread the word.

Godin, a renowned marketing expert, offers straightforward, actionable advice and plenty of examples of entrepreneurs and companies, both good and bad. I highly recommend it to marketers, especially entrepreneurs and the self-employed who market themselves.

Godin’s marketing plan: Identify a specific problem in an underserved niche, create a remarkable product (or service) that solves the problem, and present it to passionate and influential early adopters, or “sneezers”. These sneezers will naturally spread the word, doing your advertising for you.

In his own words:
“Start with a problem that you can solve for your customer (who realizes he has a problem!). Then, once you’ve come up with a solution that is so remarkable that the early adopters among this population will gleefully respond, you’ve got to promote it in a medium where those most likely to sneeze are actually paying attention.”

Main ideas

Don’t Be Boring: Give people something worth talking about. Create remarkable products that the right people seek out.

Safe Is Risky: Sticking to “safe” or proven products and services means they’re less likely to be noticed and purchased.

Design Rules Now: Design products and services to market themselves.

Very Good Is Bad: Very good is expected; you must be extraordinary or remarkable to get attention.

Additional ideas

“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.”

Be controversial; you'll earn both criticism and praise, which are better than lukewarm apathy. Be spoof-worthy; stand out so much that you invite parody.

“It’s not about being weird. It’s about being irresistible to a tiny group of easily reached sneezers with otaku. Irresistable isn’t the same as ridiculous. Irresistible (for the right niche) is just remarkable.” Otaku is a near-obsession about your type of product or service.

Offer “the most”; the product or service that's the cheapest, fastest, slowest, easiest, hardest, etc.

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