I was away on holiday for a week recently busy sightseeing but still managed to squeeze in some reading, so I thought I’d give you a quick overview of one of the books I read, ‘Purple Cow’ by Seth Godin.
It’s quite an old book, initially printed in 2002, however, the principles and advice in the book still stand firm today, which is why it resonated with me.
The book talks about how to market your business and transform it by being remarkable; in short, identifying those ‘Purple Cows’ you can capitalise on to make your mark in the market, create a customer base and ultimately drive sales and profit.
One of the first statements that stood out for me is about finding your ‘sneezers’. Those people who will really respond to what you sell. Often thought of as early adopters, they don’t have to be, but they are those who are more likely to talk about your product or service to others. If you can get this crowd in a niche market then you’re laughing! They’ll do the awareness legwork for you.
The next highlight relates to understanding that not all customers are the same. By differentiating your customers you can find the ones that are most profitable for your business, or who ‘sneeze’ loudest and most frequently! This will help you narrow the distance between your marketing investment outlay & money in your ’till’, delivering a higher rate of return.
Seth moves on to talk about measuring the impact of the marketing activity being executed, something very close to my heart. By measuring the impact of your marketing activity you can find out what works, best so you can do it more, as well as what doesn’t. Those businesses that thrive are the ones who know what tactics work in communicating with their target customers, pulling them through their sales funnel.
The book also highlights the power of a slogan. Not necessarily the ones that probably spring to mind, like “Just Do It’, but other types of ‘straplines’ that can really get you noticed & keep you memorable. The Tiffany’s box for example… I mean unless you live in outer space, there are no other words needed to describe what that (usually) tiny turquoise box represents!
You don’t necessarily have to have the perfect 3-word strapline, but having a statement, logo, packaging, or brand reputation to conjure up what your business delivers (the benefit not the feature) can speak volumes in a world where time is short & marketing space is expensive.
To conclude the book, Seth Godin gives a number of examples of brands that demonstrate how they have found their ideal marketing tactics, ones that have made them highly memorable in their market and beyond.
A couple of examples are a company that will refund your money if you burn the clothing you receive by mail order and send them back the ashes (true story!); a motorcycle that costs $100,000 to buy, has a multi-year waiting list and months of manufacture, and yet still turns a crazy amount of profit, customer loyalty and reputation due to the fact each bike is custom made.
And finally the Hummer, you know those huge, never going to be ’round about town’ kind of cars, ugly and certainly not fuel efficient. Yes, the Hummer is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but it doesn’t want to be. It wants to be king of its own castle. It might have a lower sales rate than many of the vehicle brands on the market, but those who love them, truly love them, drive them with pride and most of all shout about them and why we should all be driving them.
So in a nutshell, to many this book will be a reminder of why we need to be creative when thinking about our marketing and discovering what works well and takes us away from the already highly saturated, over marketed market spaces.
If you haven’t read ‘Purple Cow’, then I highly recommend it to any business owner, manager and, indeed, marketer.
When you’ve read it, give me about & tell me what lightbulbs went off.
And if you already have read it, let me know what your best bits were. Did the same resonate with you?