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on December 11, 2012
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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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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on June 9, 2011
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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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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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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on May 29, 2015
Red Pill-MGTOW- Rugged Individualists
Reread: 2 of 7

Game.
Beware of Popcorn brain advertising with a dash of amygdala hijack.
Be remarkable. Who cares about dubious opinions from zombies? Assert your ideas.
Be sure to avoid eating too many Krispy Kreme donuts.
Slogan, business cards, South Park appeal to women, irresistible to certain tiny groups, complicated sells, word of mouth vs. TV ads.
Bonus part of book is not worth reading.
Self-publish

Research:

Decline of Maxwell house vs. Starbucks
Curad band- aid – collectible product
Otaku – Japanese passionate hobbies
Bloomberg terminal- learned and not going to give up that expertise

Monkey Branch:

Joel Spoelstra – Marketing Outrageously
Crossing the Chasm – Geoffrey Moore

Quotes:

The world has changed. There are far more choices, but there is less and less time to sort them out. 217

Boring is always the most risky strategy. 698 – learn game

It’s fairly obvious who the big losers are—giant brands with big factories and quarterly targets, organizations with significant corporate inertia and low thresholds for perceived risks. Once addicted to the cycle of the TV-INDUSTRIAL complex, these companies have built hierarchies and systems that make it awfully difficult to be remarkable. 829 – be fluid, ship it.

The Opposite of “Remarkable” is “very good.” 904 – go full throttle, share the game

Pearl Jam knows that once they have permission to talk to someone, it’s much easier to make a sale. 965 - warmth

Reinvest. Do it again. With a vengeance. Launch another Purple Cow (to the same audience). Fail and fail and fail again. Assume that what was remarkable last time won’t be remarkable this time. 1189 – fail and work

Marketing is the act of inventing the product. The effort of designing it. The craft of producing it. The art of pricing it. The technique of selling it. How can a Purple Cow company not be run by a marketer? 1203

Cheap is a lazy way out of the battle for the Purple Cow. 1337 – invest and share, game

South Park, it set a record, scoring just 1.5 out of 10 points with women. Three of the women in the group cried, 1485 – not appealing to the feminine imperative

Remember, it’s not about being weird. It’s about being irresistible to a tiny group of easily reached sneezers with otaku. Irresistible isn’t the same as ridiculous. Irresistible (for the right niche) is just remarkable. 1488 – attraction through polarization

When I wrote Purple Cow all those years ago, it was groundbreaking. People said I was nuts. The publisher of my earlier books refused to publish it, saying it would never sell. By leaving it as is, I want you to see what it was like then, sort of like a musician not resinging his old songs every time the album moves to a new format. 1739 – boldness, ship it, resistance, game
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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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on February 23, 2016
I'm motivated to write this review mainly to offer a different opinion than some of the negative reviews I saw before I ordered this book. Be assured I am in no way affiliated with Seth Godin. But I must differ with those who feel they can summarize this book in one paragraph and claim that will suffice in lieu of reading this book. All I can say is I was glad I did not take that reviewer's advice. There is so much more to this book than they claimed that I can only wonder if all they read was the book jacket. Such a review seems to me a disservice to those who could benefit from this book. Seth Godin puts forth a revolutionary concept in marketing that is clearly self-evident. It leaves me thinking, "Why haven't I noticed this before?" In contrast to so many marketers who attempt to come up with clever ads and compelling sales letters to market mediocre products, this book offers a refreshing and honest education on how you can build your marketing right into the product itself. This book has forever changed how I will run my business.
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on June 21, 2015
The book has some decent insights, which are all mostly at the beginning. However, there is nothing remarkable or "purple cow" about it. Many of the points outlined in this reading can be found in other books so there is a great lack of originality. In fact, I have a feeling Seth Godin himself learned a great deal of what he wrote in Purple Cow from other authors, not from hellish life experience that comes from enterprising and innovating a business. I was a bit disappointed.

I give it three star because the message is profound, obvious, and clearly articulated. It wasn't a boring read (although it does kinda drag at the end). The knowledge and substance of this book however is not deep.
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on December 6, 2011
Seth Godin asks marketers whether consumers notice and remember their products or are their goods like so much else on the market--quite forgettable? He says in the present economy, to succeed in business products must have high, lasting value, be talked about often and be outstanding.

Businesses must stop ineffective marketing methods such as the usual pricing, publicity and promotion. Every product and advertising promotion must be as attention -grabbing as a purple cow.

Godin's book includes numerous case studies and advice about having a remarkable product that gains word-of-mouth attention and succeeds. He says marketers who realize present processes must change will search for better ways. This book is a good introduction to that search.

The book is designed to inform readers that change is necessary, but not how to actually develop purple cow products.
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