I first came across Seth Godin when I read his book called Purple Cow. He originally published this book in 2003, however I only learnt about this masterpiece in 2012. Ever since I read this book, my world has never been the same. I was fascinated by his thinking and wanted to learn how to apply his philosophy with small business owners that I meet and in my own business.
The popularity for this book has grown and it now has a cult-like following.
Way before social media, Seth identified that the old way of doing marketing such as ‘buy ads – get distribution – sell product – buy ads’ was no longer going to be effective; and the only way to stand out from the crowd was to stop-advertising and start innovating. This means businesses of all sizes have to focus on producing remarkable products and services, and not focus on spending huge marketing budgets on TV advertising.
It amazes me that the big brands still do this! Every marketing department still operates with this old-school mentality.
At my previous company, the Marketing division was beginning to entertain the idea of social media, and this was in 2015! Yet, I still see them splash their marketing budgets on TV campaigns. Who watches TV these days?
Some of the successful brands like IKEA, Starbucks, SAP, Google are all built on remarkable products that get talked about.
Seth tells us it is the innovation brain, not advertising or distribution muscle, that we need to have in order to succeed in marketing today.
I think many entrepreneurs and small business owners will enjoy reading the Purple Cow book.
I’ve listed some of the ways you can become remarkable if you don’t have the time to read the book:
- I think surveys are a great way to find out what gaps exist in your market and how you could potentially fill them. Survey your customers, or observe their behaviours online. Can you see any gaps you could fill between what people want and what they are getting today?
- Do you know what your competition is up to? Look at your competition. What are they doing wrong? If you could change 1 thing about it, to make it irresistible to your customers, what would that be?
- Seth believes the opposite of REMARKABLE is VERY GOOD – because very good is bland. The question is what would you do to turn a very good product into a truly remarkable product?
- Are you making it easy for your customers to try and buy your products? Is it easy to recommend for a defined community? and Is it part of a trend?
- Who is your market leader and what are they doing? Seth then recommends that you should focus on doing the complete opposite! Find inspiration from other industries.
The last point about finding inspiration from other industries is something I tell many small business owners I meet, especially when it comes to design. Often if we do any website development, we tend to look inwards and compare ourselves with our competition.
For example, if you are in the financial planning business, you could benefit from getting inspiration from fashion design industries. I bet you your bottom dollar that your competition isn’t doing this! Because the fashion industry is so completely the opposite of what you’re doing, I think financial planners could get some clever ideas on how they could spruce up their marketing and the overall look and feel of their websites…or any marketing for that matter!
Seth also tells us to forget about demographics for a minute and to list the big social networks and communities in our markets (associations, clubs, employers, institutions). Using this information, how could you make a special edition of your product for one of these networks or communities? This is all about selecting your niche and creating a product that serves this niche.
I absolutely love Seth and what he stands for. If you want to find out more about Seth, you can check out his blog here where he has been writing and publishing a blog ever day since 1998!
And if you’re curious about Seth Godin – we always like to geek out on Seth’s latest blog posts. You can contact us here.