Purple Cow
Purple Cow

Purple Cow

Marketers for years have talked about the five Ps of marketing. (There are more than five of them, but everyone has their favorite five.) Some of them include: • Product • Pricing • Promotion • Positioning • Publicity • Packaging • Pass-along • Permission This is the marketing checklist: a quick way to make sure you’ve done your job, a way to describe how you’re going to go about getting people to buy what the factory just made. (Location 120)

Tags: marketing

Note: .marketing


Tags: remarkable

The reason it’s so hard to follow the leader is this: 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. (Location 359)

Tags: remarkable

Instead of trying to use your technology and expertise to make a better product for your users’ standard behavior, experiment with inviting the users to change their behavior to make the product work dramatically better. (Location 426)

If a product’s future is unlikely to be remarkable – if you can’t imagine a future in which people are once again fascinated by your product – it’s time to realize that the game has changed. Instead of investing in a dying product, take profits and reinvest them in building something new. (Location 439)

No one is going to eagerly adapt to your product. The vast majority of consumers are happy. Stuck. Sold on what they’ve got. They’re not looking for a replacement, and they don’t like adapting to anything new. You don’t have the power to force them to. 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. After the early adopters embrace what you’re selling, they are the ones who will sell it to the early majority – not you. And they will sell it poorly. (Location 467)

Tags: early adopters

Note: Target the early adopters

A brand (or a new product offering) is nothing more than an idea. Ideas that spread are more likely to succeed than those that don’t. I call ideas that spread, ideaviruses. (Location 483)

Note: Ideas that spread win

Don’t try to make a product for everybody, because that is a product for nobody. (Location 490)

Tags: product development

Note: you cant possibly please everyone

The way you break through to the mainstream is to target a niche instead of a huge market. (Location 492)

It’s not an accident that some products catch on and some don’t. When an ideavirus occurs, it’s often because all the viral pieces work together. How smooth and easy is it to spread your idea? How often will people sneeze it to their friends? How tightly knit is the group you’re targeting – do they talk much? Do they believe each other? How reputable are the people most likely to promote your idea? How persistent is it – is it a fad that has to spread fast before it dies, or will the idea have legs (and thus you can invest in spreading it over time)? (Location 499)

Differentiate your customers. Find the group that’s most profitable. Find the group that’s most likely to sneeze. Figure out how to develop/advertise/reward either group. Ignore the rest. Your ads (and your products!) shouldn’t cater to the masses. Your ads (and products) should cater to the customers you’d choose if you could choose your customers. (Location 596)

Make a list of competitors who are not trying to be everything to everyone. Are they outperforming you? If you could pick one underserved niche to target (and to dominate), what would it be? Why not launch a product to compete with your own – a product that does nothing but appeal to this market? (Location 632)

In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible. (Location 648)

After all, if you’re going to launch a huge ad campaign by direct mail or in trade magazines or in daily newspapers or on television, you want your ads to have the maximum possible appeal. What’s the point of advertising to everyone a product that doesn’t appeal to everyone? By following this misguided logic, marketers ensure that their products have the minimum possible chance of success. Remember, those ads reach two kinds of viewers: The highly coveted innovators and adopters who will be bored by this mass-marketed product and decide to ignore it. The early and late majority who are unlikely to listen to an ad for any new product, and are unlikely to buy it if they do. By targeting the center of the market and designing the product accordingly, these marketers waste their marketing dollars. Exhibit A: The dozens of consumer-focused dot-com companies who wasted more than a billion (a billion!) dollars advertising watered-down products to the mass market. Your grocery store is also a very public graveyard for mediocre products designed for the masses. (Location 757)

What could you measure? What would that cost? How fast could you get the results? If you can afford it, try it. “If you measure it, it will improve.” (Location 816)

Tags: measure

Note: .measure

Who Wins in the World of the Cow 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. (Location 826)

Could you make a collectible version of your product? (Location 970)

Consumers with otaku are the sneezers you seek. They’re the ones who will take the time to learn about your product, take the risk to try your product, and take their friends’ time to tell them about it. (Location 1011)

Tags: sneezers

Slogans used to be important because you could put them in TV commercials and get your message across in just a few seconds. Today, that same conciseness is important but for a different reason. A slogan that accurately conveys the essence of your Purple Cow is a script. A script for the sneezer to use when she talks with her friends. The slogan reminds the user, “Here’s why it’s worth recommending us; here’s why your friends and colleagues will be glad you told them about us.” And best of all, the script guarantees that the word of mouth is passed on properly – that the prospect is coming to you for the right reason. (Location 1076)

Tags: favorite, sneezers, slogan

Note: a slogan is a script for a sneezer to use when talking to friends

Compromise is about sanding down the rough edges to gain buy-in from other constituencies. Vanilla is a compromise ice cream flavor, while habanero pecan is not. While there may be just a few people who are unwilling to eat vanilla ice cream, there are legions of people who are allergic to nuts, sensitive to spicy food, or just plain uninterested in eating a challenging scoop of ice cream. The safe compromise choice for a kid’s birthday party is the vanilla. But vanilla is boring. You can’t build a fast-growing company around vanilla. In almost every market, the boring slot is filled. The product designed to appeal to the largest possible audience already exists, and displacing it is awfully difficult. Difficult because the very innocuousness of the market-leading product is its greatest asset. How can you market yourself as “more bland than the leading brand”? (Location 1129)

But it’s the sneezers we care about, and we can leverage the fact that if we respect them, they’ll listen. The four steps, then, are these: Get permission from people you impressed the first time. Not permission to spam them or sell them leftovers or squeeze extra margins from them. Permission to alert them the next time you might have another Cow. Work with the sneezers in that audience to make it easier for them to help your idea cross the chasm. Give them the tools (and the story) they’ll need to sell your idea to a wider audience. Once you’ve crossed the line from remarkable to profitable business, let a different team milk it. Productize your services, servicize your products, let a thousand variations bloom. But don’t believe your own press releases. This is the inevitable downward slide to commodity. Milk it for all it’s worth, and fast. 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. (Location 1158)

Tags: persmission, sneezers

Note: .sneezers

Marketing was really better called “advertising.” Marketing was about communicating the values of a product after it had been developed and manufactured. That’s clearly not a valid strategy in a world where the product attributes (everything from service to design) are now at the heart of what it means to be a marketer. 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? (Location 1176)

Tags: marketing

Note: .marketing

You’re probably guilty of being too shy, not too outrageous. Try being outrageous, just for the sake of being annoying. It’s good practice. Don’t do it too much because it doesn’t usually work. But it’s a good way to learn what it feels like to be at the edge. (Location 1265)

Tags: shyness, outgoing

if you don’t have time to do it right, what makes you think you’ll have time to do it over? (Location 1285)

Remarkable isn’t always about changing the biggest machine in your factory. It can be the way you answer the phone, launch a new brand, or price a revision to your software. Getting in the habit of doing the “unsafe” thing every time you have the opportunity is the best way to learn to project – you get practice at seeing what’s working and what’s not. (Location 1299)

Tags: remarkable

exceptional. Remarkable people with remarkable careers seem to switch jobs with far less effort. Remarkable people often don’t even have a résumé. Instead, they rely on sneezers who are quick to recommend them when openings come up. Remarkable people are often recruited from jobs they love to jobs they love even more. The secret doesn’t lie in the job-seeking technique. It has to do with what these people do when they’re not looking for a job. These Purple Cows do an outrageous job. They work on high-profile projects. These people take risks, often resulting in big failures. These failures rarely lead to a dead end, though. They’re not really risks, after all. Instead, they just increase the chances that these people will get an even better project next time. (Location 1352)

Tags: remarkable

Note: Work on high profile projects

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. (Location 1449)

Tags: sneezers

Note: Be irrestible to a small group of sneezers

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 a historical lack of someone asking, “Why not?” (Location 1695)

Note: Ask why not