Ok, I read this book when it was quoted like 10 times in another book I was reading. Also I liked the cover as it reminded me of Milka chocolate, if there is one way you can easily sell to me it is chocolate!
The purple cow is an analogy for the message the book it trying to get across. Imagine you drive past a field of cows, nothing out of the ordinary, just normal cows in a field chewing n some grass…it’s pretty unlikely that you would notice them or at the least give them a second look. Now imagine the same field of cows, but in the middle stands one cow and she is bright purple…this scene is going to make you stand up notice as well as provoke your curiosity.
Now imagine that the field of cows is your market, you and your competitors are and have been doing the same old thing, your clients have seen it all a million times before….none of you stand out. Now imagine that you are the purple cow, you look and do things radically different, you look fucking awesome. The author Seth Godin points out that being extraordinary is the only way to build a successful business in modern market places, the with fields (markets) full of black and brown cows (boring businesses) all you do by not being extraordinary is become another one of the heard.
Seth goes on to support this concept with a number of case studies and examples of businesses that have created a purple cow like the $100 cheesesteak that has shaken up industries and made brilliant, profitable businesses in the process. Evidence based marketing books get the thumbs up from me, there are too many wild idea books with no evidence attached. However, I would have liked the majority of the book to be focusing on how to create a purple cow rather than why they are so awesome, but this seemed like a little bit of an after thought for proving a point.
After I finished and put down this book I felt like I had really understood and learnt something, there are certainly some great points and case studies in here. Yet on reflection I couldn’t help but think:
“What self respecting marketer doesn’t know it is there job to create something extraordinary compared to their competitors?”
I know this is very easy to say in retrospect and also the benefit of books like this is to remind you that you won’t get noticed unless you step out of line, especially for marketers who have become complacent about their position in a business.
Solid read and a must for all marketers. I think this book is going to be particularly beneficial for forward thinking marketers or business owners that are operating in slow and boring industries to step up and be the purple cow. However I feel that this concept is a little too wide for those operating in fast moving industries where all competitors are purple cows already.