I am an avid reader of non-fiction (management, start-ups, marketing, etc), but some how up to the last month or so, I have lived in a Seth Godin free world. Not sure how or why, but I am very glad that phase of my life is over. :)
In the last month I have read:
Every marketer tells a story. And if they do it right, we believe them. We believe that wine tastes better in a $20 glass than a $1 glass. We believe that an $80,000 Porsche Cayenne is vastly superior to a $36,000 VW Touareg, which is virtually the same car. We believe that $225 Pumas will make our feet feel better-and look cooler-than $20 no-names … and believing it makes it true.Successful marketers don’t talk about features or even benefits. Instead, they tell a story. A story we want to believe. This is a book about doing what consumers demand-painting vivid pictures that they choose to believe. Every organization-from nonprofits to car companies, from political campaigns to wineglass blowers-must understand that the rules have changed (again). In an economy where the richest have an infinite number of choices (and no time to make them), every organization is a marketer and all marketing is about telling stories. Marketers succeed when they tell us a story that fits our worldview, a story that we intuitively embrace and then share with our friends. Think of the Dyson vacuum cleaner or the iPod. But beware: If your stories are inauthentic, you cross the line from fib to fraud. Marketers fail when they are selfish and scurrilous, when they abuse the tools of their trade and make the world worse. That’s a lesson learned the hard way by telemarketers and Marlboro._
You’re either a Purple Cow or you’re not. You’re either remarkable or invisible. Make your choice. What do Starbucks and JetBlue and KrispyKreme and Apple and DutchBoy and Kensington and Zespri and Hard Candy have that you don’t? How do they continue to confound critics and achieve spectacular growth, leaving behind former tried-and true brands to gasp their last? Face it, the checklist of tired ’P’s marketers have used for decades to get their product noticed -Pricing, Promotion, Publicity, to name a few-aren’t working anymore. There’s an exceptionally important ‘P’ that has to be added to the list. It’s Purple Cow. Cows, after you’ve seen one, or two, or ten, are boring. A Purple Cow, though…now that would be something. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat out unbelievable. Every day, consumers come face to face with a lot of boring stuff-a lot of brown cows-but you can bet they won’t forget a Purple Cow. And it’s not a marketing function that you can slap on to your product or service. Purple Cow is inherent. It’s built right in, or it’s not there. Period.
Most organizations are stuck in a rut. On one hand, they understand all the good things that will come with growth. On the other, they’re petrified that growth means change, and change means risk, and risk means death. Nobody wants to screw up and ruin a good thing, so most companies (and individuals) just keep trying to be perfect at the things they’ve always done. In 2003, Seth Godin’s Purple Cow challenged organizations to become remarkable – to drive growth by standing out in a world full of brown cows. It struck a huge chord and stayed on the Business-Week bestseller list for nearly two years. You can hear countless brainstorming meetings where people refer to purple cows and say things like, “That’s not good enough. We need to create a big moo!” But how do you create a big moo – an insight so astounding that people can’t help but remark on it, like digital TV recording (TiVo) or overnight shipping (FedEx), or the world’s best vacuum cleaner (Dyson)? Godin worked with thirty-two of the world’s smartest thinkers to answer this critical question. And the team – with the likes of Tom Peters, Malcolm Gladwell, Guy Kawasaki, Mark Cuban, Robyn Waters, Dave Balter, Red Maxwell, and Randall Rothenberg on board – created an incredibly useful book that’s fun to read and perfect for groups to share, discuss, and apply.
All three have really changed how I see the world of business and I can not recommend them enough. Keeping your busy schedules in mind, if I had to read just one, it would be The BIG MOO, although reading the Purple Cow right before it does set the mood. I am going to write a second post with some of my favorite parts of it.