Google+ The Marketing Survivalist: Why I Hate the Purple Cow

Why I Hate the Purple Cow

A friend of mine recently asked me if I read Seth Godin, author of the book Purple Cow, as well as probably a dozen other books that most of you would recognize.

Of course, I read Seth Godin. Could I call myself a marketing professional if I didn’t? I find his writing and his presentations thought provoking and inspiring. However, I have to admit that I also find concepts like the Purple Cow a little bit irritating. OK, a lot irritating on some days.

For those of you who haven’t read Purple Cow, it’s about standing out from your competition by being “remarkable.” This means remarkable in the literal sense, as in “something that is worth remarking on.” Hopefully, in a good way.

The problem is that while many marketers are trying to create purple cows they are neglecting the rest of the herd. Their websites are nothing more that static brochures. Their marketing goals are disconnected from sales goals. Their messages don’t resonate. They are spending good money on campaigns that just don’t work. To use the analogy, their current herd is in shambles. It’s sickly and getting worse everyday because they are not taking care of it.

If these marketers manage to actually create a purple cow, they'll grab onto it's neck and hold on for all it's worth. They can feel their careers slipping down the drain and they are just praying that cows can swim. (I think cows can swim, but purple ones are usually too burdened down by the hopes and aspirations of the marketer. They sink like lead weights.)

Purple cows can separate you from the rest of the crowd, but until you’ve got the basics down, they won’t do you much good. And, those who are good at the basics stand a much greater chance of succeeding even if they never manage to create a purple cow.

Please read Seth’s book. As much as it may sound like it, hating the purple cow doesn’t actually have as much to do with his book as being irritated by those who blindly follow the concepts of any book. If you are a marketing professional I think you will enjoy it. Plus, it’s hard not to have it come up in conversation and you don’t want to be the only one who hasn’t read it.

But, beware of the purple cow, at least until you have the rest of your herd in order.
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