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155 of 188 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Particuarly New Here, and a Slightly Flawed Premise, January 14, 2004
This review is from: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (Hardcover)
This is a not highly originally book which is apparently using a gimmicky title and cover to make itself stand out. I'm not sure why because Seth Godin has written better books and it's not like he necessarily needs to go the gimmicky "look-at-me, look-at-me" route to sell books.
All Godin has done here is write a book on branding an positioning. Godin is trying very hard here to sell us on the idea that what he suggests is new and different and that the old ways of marketing do not work. Hate to tell him this, but talk to people who are genuinely out there fighting for customers in the marketplace and you find that the old ways still work quite well. P&G has managed to stay pretty successful (not that they don't have an occasional bump in the road) sticking to a tired-and-true marketing formula, as have many other companies.
This book is simply about product or service differentiation that attracts attention (as a purple cow in a field of brown ones would). It's not necessarily new and different, and some of his example s may well be flawed. For example, JetBlue is a marvelous success (and I wish that would come to our part of the country), but all they did was build on the Southwest Airlines template for success. JetBlue also had the marked advantage of being one of the best financed start-ups in airline history. I think their success is more the result of good management more than anything else. And for the most part, Godin seems to use examples of companies that are now well-established in the marketplace, e.g., Starbucks, HBO and Krispy Kreme. While I think he's use of JetBlue does not necessarily support his premise, at least it is a relatively new entity. Why did he not use more examples of newer companies? Would that not have supported his "Purple Cow" premise more readily? Too much of what Godin is writing about here is reminiscent of the internet boom and busts, where so many companies were simply about an eye-catching marketing idea rather than a good business plan and business model.
That is an essential flaw in the overall premise also. Just standing out is not enough to make a company profitable and successful. Corporate history is replete with companies that stood out and then quickly flamed out. A company still needs to be well managed and actually have a product or service people are interested in. Godin has written better books with better ideas. This one simply seems to be based on a gimmick with little substantive evidence behind it.
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