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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dissent and Debate
Purple Cow is a very tightly-written, well-paced, enjoyable and thought provoking read. While it develops the ideas introduced in the author's earlier works, Ideavirus and Permission Marketing, it is perfectly readable from scratch. And, even though I dislike Godin's unceasing rubbishing of all other approaches to marketing in defence of his own, I do recommend you read...
Published on 4 Feb 2004 by Rory Sutherland

versus
235 of 250 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Essay Stretched into a Short Book
Purple Cow is probably the most overrated business book published in 2003.
Let me save you money and time. Read the summary below rather than buying and reading this book:
Marketing should begin with a differentiated product or service that gets attention (like a purple cow does among a field of brown ones). Be sure that those who care deeply about that...
Published on 4 Jun 2004 by Donald Mitchell


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235 of 250 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Essay Stretched into a Short Book, 4 Jun 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Purple Cow is probably the most overrated business book published in 2003.
Let me save you money and time. Read the summary below rather than buying and reading this book:
Marketing should begin with a differentiated product or service that gets attention (like a purple cow does among a field of brown ones). Be sure that those who care deeply about that differentiation learn about your product or service (as Krispy Kreme does by providing free donuts when it opens a new store). Those who care will e-mail and tell everyone they know (the ideavirus concept Mr. Godin has written about before). Keep adding new differentiated enhancements to your product or service (pretty soon you don't find a purple cow so interesting). Start looking for totally new business models that provide a breakthrough like your first purple cow did. Don't waste your time and money on advertising. Alternatively, it's dangerous not to do this because your product or service will be lost among all of the other brown cows (undifferentiated offerings).
I congratulate Mr. Godin on his marketing skill. Turning these few old saws with a few new examples into a best seller is outstanding marketing. Otherwise, I would grade this book as a one star effort. It will only be of value to those who have never read anything about the power of business model innovation. To learn how to do successful business model innovation, you will have to look elsewhere. I was particularly disappointed that he relied on examples that are so old. Starbucks, HBO and Krispy Kreme, for instance, haven't done a business model innovation in years. Only the JetBlue example is recent. Yet the world is full of new examples he could have talked about.
Actually, the book's key metaphor is flawed. While a purple cow (like the title and cover of this book) will certainly get your attention (and may get you to spend a few dollars to investigate it), is there really anyone out there who wants an actual purple cow because it provides any value other than uniqueness? The example reminds me of the old-time professional wrestler, Gorgeous George, who always wore purple and used that color in everything he owned (including his car and turkeys on his ranch near Yucaipa, California). Yes, the purple attracted your attention . . . but unless you liked his wrestling, that one glance was the end of it. I remember driving to his ranch to see a purple turkey, but never went back. Actually, the charity cows that are painted and decorated by different artists and then auctioned off in different cities would have made a better metaphor for this book.
Like much of what pretends to be new and different in business books today, this book is simply dressed up on modern clothes and new terms. I suggest you read Strategy Maps, the Innovator's Solution and Corporate Creativity if you want to learn how create these changes successfully in a company.
As I finished the book, I began to realize that much of what is wrong with business gurus today is that they love to tell their own ideas . . . but are seldom willing to do the hard work necessary to locate and measure how to do what they espouse. It made me realize that I should always "walk my talk to teaching people how to do what I encourage them to do."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars industry that makes claims like: “consumer behaviour has changed radically” “marketing doesn’t work ..., 11 July 2014
By 
Byron Sharp (Adelaide, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (Paperback)
There is a small, nay large, industry that makes claims like:

“consumer behaviour has changed radically”
“marketing doesn’t work anymore”

And yet then presents nothing more than a repackaging of the orthodoxy.

For example, Seth Godin’s “Purple Cow” says that marketing is “broken”, that advertising could once turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse but has lost its effectiveness due to clutter and ad avoidance. This is spite of research that shows advertising continues to perform as well as ever (1) (2) (3).

So says Seth, companies need to adopt his radical new marketing strategy which is…wait for it…. to produce remarkable products and market them in remarkable ways. Wow. I don’t remember my old Uni textbooks saying anything like this, they only used words like “great” not “remarkable”. What a step forward in thinking.

Seth’s a great story teller but it is a sad reflection on our discipline that these best sellers are so shallow.

Professor Byron Sharp. July 2011

(1) Jamhouri, O., & Winiarz, M. (2009) “The enduring influence of TV advertising and communications clout patterns in the global marketplace”, Journal of Advertising Research, 49(2), 227-235.

(2) Rubinson, J. (2009) “Empirical evidence of TV advertising effectiveness”, Journal of Advertising Research, 49(2), 220-226.

(3) Hammer, P., Riebe, E., & Kennedy, R. (2009) “How clutter affects advertising effectiveness”, Journal of Advertising Research, 49(2), 159-163.
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dissent and Debate, 4 Feb 2004
Purple Cow is a very tightly-written, well-paced, enjoyable and thought provoking read. While it develops the ideas introduced in the author's earlier works, Ideavirus and Permission Marketing, it is perfectly readable from scratch. And, even though I dislike Godin's unceasing rubbishing of all other approaches to marketing in defence of his own, I do recommend you read it. Let's be honest, there's so little dissent and debate about the really important questions in marketing, it's easy to forgive the few dissenters for being extremists. Working in this business is a bit like visiting Zurich; the place is so conformist, after a few days you start looking approvingly at the drug addicts and hippies - anything for a bit of variety.
Anyhow, Godin's big thesis is that, for any new product to be successful, it must be intrinsically interesting, like the purple cow of the title, and cannot rely on subsequent marketing efforts to lend it a certain false notability. Even then, for a product merely to be interesting is not enough on its own: it must gain the attention of a particular group of innovators - those who are not merely open to adopting new ideas and products but those who also go on actively to evangelise them among the rest of the population, thereby seeding them among the early majority. Because of this adoption path, Godin avers, mass advertising can actually be counterproductive, as it effectively does the word-of-mouth brigade out of a job. And the innovators in any market, who like to discover products for themselves, are instantly turned off anything that is touted indiscriminately in the mass media.
I think he is generally right on most of this. Most of us in our businesses are naturally inquisitive, and it is healthy for us to be reminded of how tiny the appetite is for innovation among most consumers in most categories. Generally (and Godin is lucky being an American - try fostering innovation among elderly Frenchmen, say) people are not looking for new ways of doing things, not least because the mass market is already rather well catered for by the many established mass market brands. People do not wake every day looking for another formal airline, another refreshing soft drink, yet another breakfast cereal. This surely explains why so many of the successful "launches" (EasyJet, Red Bull, Fruit Winders, texting are four European examples Godin doesn't mention) were not launched at all in the conventional sense. They were adopted by a niche group of innovators, who eventually expanded their use.
Godin is also right in attacking the "TV-industrial complex" and the way it makes the mass media tail wag the NPD dog. Because it's assumed that mass media will launch Product X, it is duly assumed that Product X must be developed to appeal to the mass market of TV viewers. Because there is no instant appetite for new mass products, one launch after another fails. I believe this.
My chief complaint is as follows. In attacking the TV-industrial complex, I think Godin overlloks the fact that the principal use of mass advertising is not the launching of new brands but the maintenance of old ones. And I think he could pay more heed to the remarkable fact that the innovators of the last century (the Fords, the Kelloggs, the Guinnesses, the Amexes) have retained their positions remarkably well. Surely mass media had rather a lot to do with this?
I also know from experience that mass advertising can be vital in preventing a new innovation being stigmatised as something purely for geeky innovators (a risk that imperilled the speedy uptake of broadband for a time).
Lastly, I wish Godin had read the recent Y&R paper "You're Getting Old" before reading this book. A fusion of his idea, and the Y&R insight (that people's brand preferences become frozen in time once they hit 35) would have produced a still better book.
But never mind. All of you can gain one thing from sending bulk copies of this book to your clients. And that's the understanding that NPD might sometimes be better entrusted to the DM agency, with its understanding of segments, than to the Ad agency, with its obsession with mass.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smart Thinking, 4 Feb 2004
How many marketing books have you read that are actually enjoyable? Not just interesting. Or merely thought provoking. Enjoyable.
Seth Godin is one of the smartest marketing thinkers around and one of the most influential. His previous books (Permission Marketing, Idea Virus and Big Red Fez) have all caused waves through the marketing world and they are all a good read too.
His new one, Purple Cow, is no less challenging. And no less enjoyable. Based on the premise that the standard five Ps of marketing are no longer sufficient, Godin adds a new one - Purple Cow. Basically if your product isn't remarkable - as a purple cow is - you're going to have a big problem getting consumers to notice it. Simplistic as it sounds, Godin
backs up this idea with some smart thinking and lots of great examples.
Enjoyable it may be, but this is not a comfortable read as he believes that advertising (in the way we know it now) is basically dead. But there is an exciting role left to marketers; to make a big difference to their company by helping create products and services that are worth marketing in the first place.
He says "...you must develop products, services and techniques that the market will actually seek out"
If you're interested in where marketing is going, it's a must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Marketing Classic, 10 April 2010
By 
Scott Gould (Exeter, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (Paperback)
This is the classic book on marketing for the 21st Century. Though I can save you the cash and tell you what it's about right now:

BE REMARKABLE.
Do normal things extraordinarily well.
Don't be Good, be Great.

How you do this and outside of the ambit of this book - but it probably involves common sense and understand your customer.

If you have the cash and want to read it - by all means do. But if you're read Seth's other stuff, you've already got the idea of this.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A purple publication!, 9 Jan 2004
By 
Bill Gemmell (Livingston, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Seth Godin continues to provide inspirational work. This easy to read book puts together a thesis which we should all consider if we want to grow in this information overload world. Simply speaking, his argument states to win, our products/services/individuality must be remarkable: worth making a remark about. Will you be the best, the most different, the wackiest? The parody? Each of these approaches set you aside from the 50 percentile: those companies who are "justa", average, standard. If you are remarkable, you are talked about and remembered. Tie a quality product/service with this and you can improve success. Look at Yo Sushi!, Virgin Atlantic, The Geek Squad.
I had the pleasure of hearing Seth speak at a recent conference. This book shows he practices what he speaks. A purple performer. Recommend the book to your friends. Give a copy to your Marketing department. Give a copy to your Web designers. Give a copy to everyone. Being purple is inspiring.
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54 of 63 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Brief Essay Stretched into a Short Book, 31 Mar 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Purple Cow is probably the most overrated business book published in 2003.
Let me save you money and time. Read the summary below rather than buying and reading this book:
Marketing should begin with a differentiated product or service that gets attention (like a purple cow does among a field of brown ones). Be sure that those who care deeply about that differentiation learn about your product or service (as Krispy Kreme does by providing free donuts when it opens a new store). Those who care will e-mail and tell everyone they know (the ideavirus concept Mr. Godin has written about before). Keep adding new differentiated enhancements to your product or service (pretty soon you don't find a purple cow so interesting). Start looking for totally new business models that provide a breakthrough like your first purple cow did. Don't waste your time and money on advertising. Alternatively, it's dangerous not to do this because your product or service will be lost among all of the other brown cows (undifferentiated offerings).
I congratulate Mr. Godin on his marketing skill. Turning these few old saws with a few new examples into a best seller is outstanding marketing. Otherwise, I would grade this book as a one star effort. It will only be of value to those who have never read anything about the power of business model innovation. To learn how to do successful business model innovation, you will have to look elsewhere. I was particularly disappointed that he relied on examples that are so old. Starbucks, HBO and Krispy Kreme, for instance, haven't done a business model innovation in years. Only the JetBlue example is recent. Yet the world is full of new examples he could have talked about.
Actually, the book's key metaphor is flawed. While a purple cow (like the title and cover of this book) will certainly get your attention (and may get you to spend a few dollars to investigate it), is there really anyone out there who wants an actual purple cow because it provides any value other than uniqueness? The example reminds me of the old-time professional wrestler, Gorgeous George, who always wore purple and used that color in everything he owned (including his car and turkeys on his ranch near Yucaipa, California). Yes, the purple attracted your attention . . . but unless you liked his wrestling, that one glance was the end of it. I remember driving to his ranch to see a purple turkey, but never went back. Actually, the charity cows that are painted and decorated by different artists and then auctioned off in different cities would have made a better metaphor for this book.
Like much of what pretends to be new and different in business books today, this book is simply dressed up on modern clothes and new terms. I suggest you read Strategy Maps, the Innovator's Solution and Corporate Creativity if you want to learn how create these changes successfully in a company.
As I finished the book, I began to realize that much of what is wrong with business gurus today is that they love to tell their own ideas . . . but are seldom willing to do the hard work necessary to locate and measure how to do what they espouse. It made me realize that I should always "walk my talk to teaching people how to do what I encourage them to do."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elementary but encouragingly cheerleading, 6 Jun 2007
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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Frequent business author Seth Godin found himself back on the major bestseller lists with this straightforward marketing manual. His easy-to-grasp premise is that products must be "purple cows" that stand out from the herd. The metaphor comes from an American nursery rhyme that says: "I've never seen a purple cow. / I never hope to see one. / But I can tell you anyhow / I'd rather see than be one." Godin's advice is quite the opposite of his titular ditty. He says you do want to be a purple cow. You want your product to become a conversation-provoking anomaly, as distinctive and different as possible. Imploring companies to manufacture singular, "remarkable" products is like insisting that your local NFL franchise go out and win the Super Bowl - a worthy goal, but not so simple. This is an elementary but encouragingly cheerleading look at advertising, PR and marketing. we recommend its interesting case histories about Starbucks and Krispy Kreme, just right for this breezy coffee-and-a-cream-puff pep talk.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss the 'point' of this book, 10 Mar 2010
By 
Lee Woodford (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (Paperback)
The key to successful marketing is not following someone else's step by step guide on how to be successful as everybody is doing the same. What this book does is inspire you to think about your own ideas on how you and your business can be remarkable.

People who think that you shouldn't buy this book because there is nothing new about it are wrong. They are missing the whole point of it, the book is not meant to show you what to do it in a pretty little marketing by numbers kind of way. The point is to help you use the most powerful marketing tool available to you.... your brain, your own creativity, your passion and your ability to inspire and be inspired!

I have had the book for years and I have read it a few times. What's the reason I have only written the review now.... I have just read it again and found it applies as much in 2010 as it did in 2005... possibly more so!

Saying that it won't be for everybody. You need to have an open and creative mind, have a passion about your business and want to stand out from crowd!

Lee Woodford
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Elementary, 31 Aug 2009
By 
Lilian Eilers (Brussels, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable (Paperback)
Having heard great things about the author, I perhaps had my hopes up too high when I started reading this book. I am half way through it but have had to put it down because I just can't find any golden nuggets that I can use...even though I was desperate to find some! However, if you have never read about marketing, then this is probably an insightful book.
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Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin (Paperback - 27 Jan 2005)
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