Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why Boring is Risky But Being a Purple Cow is more Profitable and Fun

You are bound to be glued to Seth Godin’s Purple Cow, not just because of its snazzy cover with white and purple patches, but because it redefines fundamental marketing principles to make your ideas work remarkably. This is a book worth reading and revising, not just for its unconventional critique of marketing and advertising but the passion with which it delves into case studies and hard facts, without sounding over the top or dead pan boring. Best of all, Godin drills into readers one hard hitting truth: ‘BORING IS RISKY BECAUSE BORING IS FAILURE.”

Seth Godin cites Peppers and Rogers, in their book, The One to One Future, where they state that it is cheaper to keep an old customer than it is to get a new one. He is right. We know the difficulties that we face to get people interested in a product.

I liked Godin’ detailed explanation of Moore’s idea diffusion curve. What he identifies is that the curve comprises of the innovators, early adopters, early & late majority and laggards. Innovators are those who buy products that are launched not because they need it but because they like having the product first. Following them, there are the early adopters, who like to benefit from the experience of using a new product and maintain a distinct edge over others. Trailing after them, the early and late majority consist of those who buy products because their peers are using it or recommending it. Countless products sink because of the indifference of this group. Then, you have the laggards, who don’t use a new product till it becomes obsolete, impractical and perhaps not even available any longer.

If you take any given product or service, Godin’s detailed explanations of these groups are relevant and that is why it makes sense to read this book.

Here are some thought provoking suggestions from Godin that I found useful and interesting:

·        Instead of making a better product for your users’ standard behavior, try to come up with something that invites users to change their behavior so that the product works dramatically better.
·        You must design a product that is remarkable enough to attract the early adopters but is flexible and attractive enough for these adopters to spread the word to the rest of the curve. i.e. digital cameras.
·        Target a niche instead of the mainstream. The advantage is that you can segment off a huge chunk of the mainstream and create an idea virus (an idea that spreads, according to Godin, works wonders!) so focused that it overwhelms the small slice of the market that truly will respond to what you sell.

There are lots of very insightful suggestions that Godin emphasizes in this book but this one that is my all-time favorite because it resonates with my values:

“Remarkable isn’t always about changing the biggest machine in your factory. It can be the way you answer the phone, launch a new brand, or price a revision to your software. Getting in the habit of doing the “unsafe” thing every time you have the opportunity is the best way to learn to project – you get practice at seeing what’s working and what’s not.”

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