The Purple Cow — Seth Godin

Marketers for years have talked about the four P’s of marketing.
•Product
•Place
•Price
•Promotion

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. If the elements are out of whack with each other (for example, pureed meals that you market to senior citizens but taste like baby food), then the marketing message is blurred and ultimately ineffective.

Marketing isn’t guaranteed to work, but the way things used to be, if you got all your P’s right, you were more likely than not to succeed. Something disturbing has happened though. The P’s just aren’t enough. There is a new P that is suddenly and exceptionally important. The new P is “purple cow”. When my family and I were driving through France a few years ago, we were enchanted by the hundreds of storybook cows grazing on picturesque pastures right next to the highway. For dozens of kilometers, we all gazed out the window, marveling about how beautiful everything was.

Then, within twenty minutes, we started ignoring the cows. The new cows were just like the old cows, and what was once amazing was now common. It was boring. Cows, after you’ve seen them for a while, are boring. They may be perfect cows, attractive cows, cows with great personalities, cows lit by beautiful light, but they’re still boring. A Purple Cow, though. Now THAT would be interesting. The essence of the Purple Cow is that it must be remarkable. In fact, if “remarkable” started with a P, I could probably dispense with the cow subterfuge, but what can you do?

(The point of this entry is to illustrate how important it is in the marketing world to stand out from everyone else. So many companies and people are hitting the advertising so hard that it all starts to blend together. You have to make a huge effort to stand out, be remarkable, be the Purple Cow)

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