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Purple Cow Transform your Business by Being Remarkable

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					Purple Cow: Transform your Business by Being
Remarkable
By Seth Godin

Something remarkable is worth talking about. Worth noticing. Exceptional.
New. Interesting.

Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product
or service.
If your offering isn’t remarkable, it’s invisible. We’re desperate to find good stuff that
solves our problems.

Among the people who might buy your products, most will never hear about it. Their
world has changed. There are far more choices, but there is less and less time to sort
them out.
Create remarkable products that the right people seek out.

The early adopters heavily influence the rest of the curve, so persuading them is worth far
more than wasting ad dollars trying to persuade anyone else. The leader is the leader
because he did something remarkable, and that remarkable thing is now taken, it’s no
longer remarkable when you do it. It is safer to be risky, to fortify your desire to do truly
amazing things. It becomes even more imperative to create things worth talking about.

Experiment with inviting the users to change the behavior, to make the product work
dramatically better. Those investing in a dying product take profits and reinvest them in
building something new.

The vast majority of the curve ignores you every time. First they are purchased by
innovators who may not even need the product but they just want it. The only chance
you have is to sell to people who like change, who like new stuff, who are actively
looking for what it is you sell. Then you hope that the idea spreads, moving from the
early adopters to the rest of the curve. Being remarkable helps you in two ways. It
makes it far easier to attract the left side of the curve, and then makes it easier for these
early adopters persuasively sell their peers on the rest of the curve.

Sneezers are the key spreading agents of an idea virus. The way you break through to the
mainstream is to target a niche instead of a huge market. Create an idea virus so focused
that it overwhelms that small slice of the market that truly and really will respond to what
you sell.

How smooth and easy is it to spread your idea? How often will people sneeze it to their
friends? Do they talk much? Do they believe each other? Discover which ones are most


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likely to catch on. Those are the products and ideas worth launching. An idea becomes
an idea virus. It crosses the chasm, it tips.

It is useless to advertise to anyone except interested sneezers with influence. These
companies appear to be cheating because they are not playing by the rules. Why aren’t
you cheating? You can’t make people listen, but you can figure out who is likely to be
listening when you talk. The influential sneezers are open to hearing your story only if
it’s truly remarkable, otherwise you are invisible.

When faced with a market in which no one is listening, the smartest plan usually to leave.

Differentiate your customers. Find the group that is most likely to sneeze, ignore the rest.
Your ads should cater to the customers you’d choose if you’d choose your customers.
Make a list of competitors who are not trying to be everything to everyone. If you could
pick one underserved niche to target, what would it be? You might not want your
product to compete with your own, a product that does nothing but appeals to this market.
Since everyone else is petrified at the Purple Cow, you can be remarkable with even less
effort. If you acknowledge that you’ll never catch up by being the same, make a list of
ways you can catch up by being different. As the work gets more turbulent, more and
more people think safety. They want to eliminate as much risk as they can from their
businesses and their careers.

The opposite of remarkable is very good. If you travel on an airline and they get you
there safely and you don’t tell anyone.

How could you modify your product or service so that you’d show up on the next episode
of Saturday Night Live, or in a spoof of your industry’s trade journal? You have the e-
mail addresses of the twenty percent of your customer base that loves what you do? If
you do, what could you make for these customers that would be super special? Try
www.sethgodin.com and you can sign up for my list and see what happens.

The Japanese have a useful word: Otaku. Otaku describes something that’s more than a
hobby, but a little less than an obsession. Consumers with Otaku are the creatures you
seek. Smart businesses target markets where there’s otaku. Could you appeal to an
audience that’s wacky and wonderful as this one? How could you create one? Where
does your product end and marketing hype begin? Can you spot where to find what you
sell in a similar way? Go for the edges. Describe what those edges are, test which edge
is most likely to deliver the marketing and financial results you seek.

A script for this sneezer to use once she talks with her friends. The script guarantees that
the word of mouth has passed on properly. Do you have a slogan or statement or
remarkable both that’s actually true? Is it consistent? Is it worth passing on? If you are
in an intangible business, your business part is a big part of what you sell. It is a lot


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easier to sell something that people are already in the mood to buy. In almost every
market the boring slot is filled, the products designed to appeal to the largest possible
audience already exists and displacing it is awfully difficult. Get permission from people
you impressed the first time. Permission to alert them the next time you might have
another cow.

Are you obsessed or just making a living? Make a list of all the remarkable products in
your industry. Model the behavior. What would happen if you told the truth? Challenge
your people to start with a blank sheet of paper and figure out what they’d do if they
could do just about anything. If they weren’t afraid of failing, what’s the most audacious
thing they’d try? Focus on the narrowest possible niche. The Purple Cow is just part of
the product life cycle you can’t live in all time but when you need to grow or need to
introduce something new, it’s your best shot. Remember, it’s not about being weird, it’s
about being irresistible to a tiny group of easily reached users with Otaku. Irresistible
isn’t the same as ridiculous, irresistible is just remarkable. The only route to healthy
growth is a remarkable product.

Having something personalized can make one feel special. How can your product make
news? You have to go where the competition is not, the farther, the better. Explore the
limits. What if you’re the cheapest, the fastest, the slowest, the hottest, the coldest, the
easiest, the most efficient, the loudest, the most hated, the copycat, the outsider, the
hardest, the oldest, the newest, the most? If there is a limit, you should test it.

Come up with a list of ten ways to change the product to make it appeal to a sliver of
your audience. Think of the smallest conceivable market and describe a product that
overwhelms it with its remarkability. Go from there. Build a permission asset. Do the
opposite of what they’re doing. Find things that are just not done in your industry and do
them. Ask why not? Almost everything you don’t do has no good reason for it. Almost
everything you don’t do is the result of fear or inertia or historical lack of someone asking
why not?




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posted:1/1/2012
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