Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Purple Cow: Yorkshire Powerhouse Score 4/10 (9/10 back in 2002!)

An icon of a book that is past its sell-by date.

Who will gain the most from reading this book?

Students of the development of management theory and the history of marketing theory.

Purple Cow is a simple concept, in a world of black, brown and black and white cows any cow is unremarkable, unless you go out on a limb and be purple, then everyone remembers it and you have something to say that differentiates your cow from everyone else’s.

Translated to the business world it’s a very graphic way of describing a Point of Difference or a Unique Selling Point.

The book talks eloquently about the problem with compromise in a way that is as powerful now as it was then. If you make Vanilla Ice Cream it’s tough to differentiate yourself, whilst Habanero Pecan ice cream is hot, spicy and a very distinct taste, your market will be smaller but those who like it, are your customers for sure and you have something to say to them.

Unashamedly, Godin says he doesn’t have a plan for creating a Purple Cow, a big contrast to today’s missives, which focus on innovation process all described in a thousand different ways. Godin tells you to go for the edges, challenge your team to describe what those edges are and then test which edge is likely to deliver the marketing and financial results you seek.

Seth Godin is one of the smartest marketing thinkers around and one of the most influential. His earlier books (Permission Marketing, Idea Virus and Big Red Fez) all caused waves through the marketing world and were a good read too.

Purple Cow, was in its day no less challenging, but its publication in 2002 leaves it exposed to the passage of time. So let’s be charitable, it was a thought leader and the reason its premise of creating a point of difference appears so “old hat” is because it has spawned thousands of advocates all of whom seek to develop and enhance the theme.

Modern management literature is now so available that the idea seems obvious, which in turn is a great credit to Godin.

Could a Yorkshire perspective improve this book?

Godin could have been a Yorkshireman he tells it so straight.

The thing that really kills the book for the readers of today are the examples it uses, it cites as examples of brilliant companies that have subsequently been killed by the relentless onslaught of new technology and better exponents of the very techniques that Godin espouses.

Review Takeaway:

Sell what people are buying! The book reviewing team, Yorkshire Powerhouse

Click here for a quick link to purchase Purple Cow from Amazon

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