Tuesday, June 12, 2012


People have far more choices, but less time than ever to figure them out.  

That's the opening premise of Seth Godin's book Purple Cow, which implores marketers and salespeople to stop offering ordinary products in ordinary packaging and, instead... be extraordinary!

We're living in the post-TV age, according to Godin, where mass marketing has been replaced by niche marketing, long cycles have been replaced by extremely short ones, and the fear of failure has been replaced by the fear of fear itself.

You must be remarkable, Godin says, or you might as well be invisible.

Because there are so many forms of media and communication available today - television, Internet, print, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, texting, etc - niche marketers have more opportunities today than ever before to connect with their specific audiences.  

Therefore, it's time to ignore the masses and focus on the people you actually want to do business with.  Television is no longer an effective way of conveying your message to my 13 year old daughter.  But Instagram is.  Radio ads won't work in pulling customers into a new Yogurt place.  But building a Facebook Fan Page might grow your business exponentially.

Godin's Purple Cow is about teaching salespeople and marketers to lean into their niches, about building brand and product loyalty through finely targeted, specifically marketed messages and products.

One interesting example of a company building a Purple Cow brand is Jet Blue, which offers only limited service out of DIA (now) but is a major player on both coasts and one day will be more prominent in Colorado.  In addition to offering free bag service, free DirecTV and travel credit any time your flight is late, Jet Blue encourages people to dress up on their flights, often offering a free round trip ticket for the "best dressed passenger" on the plane.

It's innovation like that which causes people to talk, to become raving fans, and to develop fierce brand loyalty.

Godin's Purple Cow teaches us it's okay to take a risk.  In fact, it's pretty essential.  If what you're doing feels uncomfortable and no one has done it before, chances are you're on the right track. 

If that's you, keep going.