After hearing all about it for so long, I finally bought “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable” by Seth Godin. Seth is one of the few marketing “experts” that I actually like to listen to. There’s a lot of information out there, and an most of it is pretty bad. Most marketing “experts” really aren’t experts at all–they’re just overhyped salesmen hawking a program or system they’ve created. So when I actually find someone that gives me valuable information and isn’t trying to get me to sign up for arecurring monthly auto-debit from my bank account, I’m listening.
Seth is probably the geekiest man alive. He’s got big ears, a crooked nose, and a bald, shaved head. But none of that matters to me, as I like to hear what he has to say. He’s got an easygoing, observational style that’s similar to my own. (Hmm…. maybe that’s why I like him). He comes across as the type of guy who, while waiting at a bus stop for the next bus, would notice everything that happens, and everyone that walks by for the entire time that he sits there. Then, while on the bus, he’d think about what he saw and heard. Why did that teenage girl have one red sock, and one yellow sock? Did that cyclist realize that he had a slow leak on his rear tire?
In one sense, Purple Cow isn’t so much a book on brilliant marketing strategies that Seth has come up with…. on the contrary. The book is generally just a collection of different ways that he’s seen certain businesses and random people stand out from the rest of the pack. And his metaphor is pretty simple: picture driving down a country road, with hundreds of cows, scattered across the fields. As you’re driving, you notice one cow. One cow standing out from all the rest, for one reason. It has purple spots. Wouldn’t that grab your attention? Who wouldn’t point and yell out “Look! A purple cow!“?
…picture driving down a country road, with hundreds of cows, scattered across the fields. As you’re driving, you notice one cow. One cow standing out from all the rest, for one reason. It has purple spots. Wouldn’t that grab your attention?
One thing I love about this book is that the book itself is a purple cow. I haven’t bought a book in a few months. Usually, when I do, I just buy it on my iPhone’s Amazon.com app. In 30 seconds or less, I choose what I want, click “buy” and then wait a few days until it comes in the mail. But a few weeks ago, for Father’s day, I was given a gift card to Barnes & Noble. So, having a financial reason to actually get in my car, drive down the road, walk into a “real” bookstore and buy an overpriced book, I promptly did so.
As I was driving there, I starting thinking to myself: “what book do I want to buy?” I have a list of “books to buy” at home with about 200 books on it, and it’s always a tough choice to decide which one comes next. So, on a whim, I decided that I would get Purple Cow, if they had it, because I had just finished listening to Seth’s audiobook The Dip, and was impressed by his overall style, and the subject matter was still on my mind.
So I walk into the bookstore, and wonder…. where would a book like this be located? A marketing book all about standing out and being different. I found a “marketing” section near the front door, and voila! Right in the center of one of the shelves was a book that was purple, and, you guessed it, looked like a cow. I had found it! And that’s impressive to me–his book takes his own advice.
So, do I recommend it? Yes. If you’re like me, and you work for a business or work with businesses that have a tough time standing out. And if you do get it–get the real, hard-copy book, and not the audiobook. If only for the reason that it looks cool on your bookshelf, and proves the book’s point. (Bonus: you can buy the book online on Amazon for cheaper than I paid for it in-store… grab a copy here: Purple Cow, and display it with pride on your bookshelf).