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197 of 223 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2010
I agree with the majority of the points made in the book but I didn't gain anything by reading it. I can quote books that I have read in high school school but I can't quote anything from this book. It was very generic information that isn't unique to the book. That is ironic because the PURPLE COW is centered around being uniques. This book is everything but unique or special. It drags on even though it is very short. I can summarize the entire book for you:

TV and mass media were new frontiers 50 years ago so fortunes could be made by putting a lot of money into advertising mediocre products. Today people have seen it all so they don't notice ads anymore. To be successful you need a PURPLE COW, meaning something shocking that causes people to tell their friends. Word of mouth is the BEST marketing because it is effective, economical and hard for competitors to duplicate. Most important it comes from a trusted source, your friend. THE END!
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
There seem to be two camps reviewing this book. One say that is brilliant and their favorite book of all time. The other says the book is shallow and void of original ideas. Both are right...and wrong.

The main idea of the book is spot on. If your business is not unique, it will be invisible. Marketing an invisible business is tough.

To the critics who say the basic idea is simple and therefore not ground breaking, I agree. But Godin manages to clarify a simple, very important idea that most business owners overlook. There is an elegance to his clarity.

Godin writes books that have a single core idea. He writes in a conversational tone. His books are short and readable. By the way, all of Godin's books make great audio books because they are in his conversational voice.

There are two categories of business books. There are the big serious tomes about how somebody saved ABC Corporation from disaster and made billions in the process. And then there are books for the rest of us. Purple Cow is a "rest of us" book. Years after reading the book, I still struggle with developing my own purple cow. It isn't easy.

Add this to your library.

Chris Reich
Business Consultant
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
I have to admit, I like marketing books. In graduate school, my favorite classes had a marketing focus. So when I saw this book about marketing I felt a strong pull to read it. Maybe it's the fact that I live in Vermont where black and white cows are everywhere. Maybe it was the intriguing purple cow milk cartons that were around to initially promote the book. Maybe it was the purple cow on Seth Godin's website. Whatever it was, I was sold and got the book.

I would label this book as a "pop" marketing book. This book is to marketing like a mass-media self-help book is to psychology. If you are a business owner or solo entrepreneur don't look to this book to really help you build a market strategy. If you are looking for a nuts and bolts marketing book, this book is not it. David Bangs' "Market Planning Guide" is what you need.

This is a "fun" book: a book to put on your night stand and read a few pages before you go to sleep; a book to supplement what you already know; a book to reinforce your existing strategies. This would be a good book to read on a plane flight or on vacation while sitting around the pool drinking margaritas. It is cute enough to be entertaining while being wrapped in some thought-provoking concepts.

There is nothing "new" in this book. No comparative studies document the purple cow phenomenon. The examples seem only to illustrate the author's ability to come up with clever terms to apply to pre-existing concepts. For example the "sneezer" metaphor just presents as silly and distracting. I can't see anyone seriously discussing how to mobilize the "sneezers" in a business meeting with other executives.

But I could see a CEO asking people on the executive team read it before they go on the next company retreat. It might provide a good entrance to brain-storming before doing the next year's marketing plan.

Overall, this is a good read - a quick read - an easy read. I would recommend it to any individual responsible for marketing a concept or product -- or even trying to get the edge on their competition. The purple cow concept stuck with me weeks after reading the text -- probably because of a great introductory story. I like the purple cow.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2013
Being a new small business owner with little to no marketing experience I surfed the internet in hopes of finding anything of value that could make a difference for my newly blossoming skin care business. Was delighted to come across this purple gem of a book, purple Cow by Seth Godin. I began reading it and did not put it down until it was finished, each page became a journey to discover a new gem to highlight with my pen.

Seth first covers how the long standing traditional marketing checklist ( the P's of marketing) is now no longer enough. This new P he states is even more important. It's the P for Purple Cow. What could be more remarkable than a purple cow? And being and finding a way to have your business be remarkable is what this book is all about. Seth's style of writing was informative while entertaining, it held my interest without being boring and full of statistics.

What I most enjoyed about the book was that it didn't say 1+1=2 (or otherwise lay out a specific strategy), but more importantly got me to really start thinking creatively, to really start thinking out of the box. A most poignant section of the book for me was "In Search of Otaku." As Seth states, "Otaku, it turns out, is at the heart of the purple Cow phenomenon." No...am not gonna spoil the surprise and explain Otaku....much better for you to discover this magical Japanese concept yourself.

Also very helpful are the numerous actual case studies of businesses who have in their own way found a Purple Cow. To me it was like experiencing one idea after another of what really works in the world of marketing and what made each business find its own remarkableness. I highly recommend this book for anyone new to marketing and are looking for new and creative ways to approach this most important aspect of your business. I got the newer edition with the bonus section...more great gems!

Purple Cow concept....perfect name, perfect vision! Have I found my purple cow yet for Divine Glo Natural Skin Care....still chewing the cudd on that one, but not a day goes by without the phrase "Purple Cow" popping up somewhere in my mind. Now that's effective marketing!!!

Cynthia Gilbert
Owner of Divine Glo Natural Skin Care
[...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2013
NONPROFIT BOOK REVIEW: Purple Cow by Seth Godin
www.rainmaker-solutions.com

As a nonprofit consultant, I don't always review "nonprofit" books, but I always review books from a nonprofit perspective. I look for the pearls of wisdom in business models, applicable to nonprofits, asking the question "What are the critical learning points with the most pragmatic value for nonprofits? What key takeaways are most useful to the nonprofit manager?"

The author of "Purple Cow", Seth Godin, became a marketing icon in the nineteen-nineties by developing the basis and promoting the concepts that became known as "permission-based marketing," which has become the standard of legitimate online marketers.

Its rests on the belief that a company's marketing resources are best allocated, when its asks the consumer for permission to send them promotional emails, special deals and newsletters, narrowing the audience to those truly engaged in the product - rather than bombarding a largely uninterested and irritable public with a deluge of annoying spam.

In doing so, the company can focus on selling to those clients with an expressed interest in their product or service; they can nurture those clients over the years, selling to them multiple times. They can turn them into advocates that generate even more sales. It is a more focused, efficient approach to marketing that allocates marketing resources in the most cost-effective manner.

In my opinion, his latest book, "The Purple Cow," elevates this discussion to a even more insightful and inspiring level. In business school, we were taught to ask the questions: "What are the benefits of this product? What is the value proposition...the proverbial bang for the buck?"

In the Purple Cow, Godin asks a far more challenging and compelling question: How is your product REMARKABLE? How is it OUTSTANDING? How does it attract attention and inspire conversation as a purple cow would, grazing in a herd of boring, brown ones? What about your product is so AMAZING that it generates an organic, viral interest among those consumers most likely to purchase it?

How does this approach represent the best practices of modern marketing? The profound difference of your product or service, even with a dash of comic absurdity, is a marketing virtue, in a culture of decentralized and disconnected media, where traditional advertising methods - like television advertising - continue to fail and fail again.

The point is...marketing is no longer about advertising.

The truly remarkable product - embodied in the metaphor of the purple cow - generates its own advertising. One more point? Marketing and advertising are no longer driven by marketing professionals, but by the consumers that find your product remarkable enough to promote it through social media and powerful word-of-mouth.

For nonprofit managers - the critical takeaway is this: how does your organization compel prospective donors to take an interest in your programs, because they are innovative (even fun) - new and bright and outstanding and fascinating in a sector obsessed with boring models and dubious outcomes? How do you nurture these prospects into donors and then advocates?
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This book was recommended to me by several marketing collegues as a must read. I became a fan of Seth's work after reading this book. He addresses being different, thinking different and marketing different are keys to standing out and being noticed. I already was a believer in this philosophy, but Seth's numerous examples, enjoyable writing style and wit made this book a wonderful read. I think this is a must have book for any marketing person or entrepreneur. Once you read it, you will get hooked as a fan of Seth's style, and message. This book encourages you to examine what you are doing or not doing to be a leader in your industry. It challenges you to think outside the box, and create extraordinary campaigns, messages and results. We don't live in a world that allows ordinary to last very long. If you want to prosper, you will need to become the purple cow!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2014
Seth Godin has a gift for branding the ideas he wants to convey in pithy, memorable terms, the phrase 'Purple Cow' being a prime example.

A Purple Cow would be a remarkable thing. Hence Seth's invocation to marketers and innovators: build the 'remarkable' into your products and services and do so from product inception and design. Do not wait until the product is made to apply your marketing magic to sell the product. The reason the remarkable is necessary is that consumers are saturated with both information and products and that it is hard to attract their attention or interest. You should aim to win over a niche market with your remarkable offering first and to use the buzz generated to attract the attention of the larger market.

Seth asserts that there is not a lack of remarkable ideas, rather a lack of the will to execute them. He states that practitioners have to be brave to stick to the Purple path because conventional business practice will steer them to develop products which are careful to offend nobody but which are likely to be boring.

This is the third Seth Godin book I have read, after Lynchpin (four stars) and Poke The Box (four stars), yet, I want to give this book only three stars. Seth writes as stirringly as ever and the physical book is as remarkably well-produced as his other books. While I agree with the main theme, there is little tactical advice to help the innovator build and manage a Purple Cow process. The edition I read had a 'bonus' chapter of post hoc examples of businesses and organizations offering remarkable products and services. I felt this was just padding.

If you are looking for a more comprehensive knowledge resource for this subject area, one which is full of tactical advice, I recommend Geoffrey Moore's masterful, 'Crossing The Chasm', which is itself referenced multiple times by Seth in Purple Cow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2013
As a small business owner myself, I have made many of the mistakes noted in the book regarding using traditional marketing techniques for my business. Seth Godin explains why traditional marketing/advertising, once tried-and-true methods of product market development, are less effective (if not ineffective) due to an oversaturated, over-advertised public, and commodity products that already dominate traditional ad space in print and media.

The alternative strategy is simply to do something remarkable in your ad campaigns and in your product. He provides great examples from big corporations (like the Target `big box' store) to the doctor practicing medicine that invests extra because he GENUINELY CARES for his patience. Being remarkable provides a referable product or service that the consumer can't wait to tell others about. It does require creativity to succeed, and a little good fortune to be sure.

Being remarkable targets one's audience and drives a sellable differentiation. There are many ways to get there, and there is risk involved. He elaborates on this issue and provides a realistic expectation, as well as a clear time when this approach is worth the risk.

The book is so relevant to this age of the internet, and provides a practical alternative to shotgun approaches to marketing: REMARKABILITY!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2012
After reading this book, I was inspired to be an even remarkable me. Even though this book is written from the business marketing perspective - I found it to be a good book on personal development. With the world approaching 7 billion people this year - we must work even harder to be authentic, out of the box, and unique ourselves.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2013
This was an interesting book that many people I know recommended to me. It has an interesting cover, with a remarkable background of a purple and white cow design. The author states that most products today are boring, quickly forgotten by customers. What we need is a product that people remember and will talk about it. As implied by the title of this book, when you see a Purple Cow (a remarkable product or idea), you won't forget it. That's because products are like cows; they're either remarkable or invisible. Who's going to buy an invisible product?

Today, a product, or idea, becomes successful if other customers talk about it. They tell friends and family all about it, which in return makes a product well known. This concept helped me understand my own personal buying decisions. For example, a few years ago, I bought a historical fiction book. It wasn't a book I ever heard of, and I didn't want to buy a book at that time. So, why did I buy that book? It was because a colleague of mine, someone I respected very much, suggested that I should read it. I took his advice, bought that book, and really enjoyed it. I suggested the book to others, and they too bought and read it. Of interesting note, this historical fiction book later won several prestigious awards and became a blockbuster movie a few years later - yes, I saw the movie and enjoyed it too, seeing it a few times.

Now back to the Purple Cow book. The author believes that manufacturers now can no longer successfully market their products to the typical consumer by applying the traditional media marketing strategy. He suggests that most of the consumers are happy with what they have, and that they're bored with commercials. As such, these consumers today ignore all unwanted advertisements, regardless of what media it is in, including TV, radio and magazines. One of the best ways to effectively advertise a product a few decades ago was through television commercials, with quality profitable products marked "As Seen on TV". This was because television back then changed the way that products were marketed to the consumers and how the products were created. However, the impact of television commercials faded since then, along with radios, newspapers, and magazines ads.

The author believes that the only way you can sell products today is to market to the consumer who is looking for a product to solve one of more problems. This means that advertisements must be targeted to the right people (not to a huge market) in the right way with relevant content. These ads also need to be presented where consumers are actually looking for a product. Targeting ads to everyone is a problem since not everyone wants to buy the same product, meaning advertising money is wasted on people not willing to purchase a product based upon the ad.

Although I found the content of this book easy to read and entertaining, it lacked a secret formula for marketing today, such as a successful process for creating a Purple Cow. The author does provide case studies with real stories of companies succeeding with Purple Cows and of companies failing by not remaining remarkable with new Purple Cows. Bottom line is that companies needing to remain profitable in the future must be both innovative and remarkable, not only today but in the future.

I enjoyed reading this book, learning some about people's buying decisions, and believe others will too.
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