Purple Cows

Purple Cows of Business

When I was in college, there were only four “P’s” in marketing: Product, Place, Price and Promotion. As our economy moved from a manufacturing and extraction to a service-based economy, a fifth “P” was added to the list: People. Contemporary marketing’s ever-expanding checklist of “P’s” also include; positioning, publicity, pass along, and permission. Sound familiar?


Another P

Author Seth Godin, introduced another “P” in his book In Praise of the Purple Cow, reminding readers “The world is full of boring stuff—brown cows—which is why so few people pay attention. Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product or service.”

How to “Stand out from the Herd.”

#1 You have to be #1.

When Ron Simek, decided to offer a frozen version of the pizza he served in the Tombstone Tap in Medford, Wisconsin, it caught on and dominated grocer’s freezer. Kraft noticed; eventually bought the brand, put their advertising muscle behind Tombstone, and made “serious dough.”

#2 Stand out from the herd.

Zip +4, the US Postal Service’s Purple Cow, was a great success. Zip+4 helps marketers target neighborhoods, significantly reducing bulk delivery costs. The new system was a complete over haul, changing how USPS customers do business, improving services customers care about.

#3 Hard times are great times for Purple Cows.

In the book Marketing Outrageously, author Jon Spoelstra recession decision makers may conclude they “can’t afford to be remarkable.” A seemingly“safe” choice, but “boring always fails.” Hard times are the right time for Purple Cows.

Purple Cows Godin praises:

Otis Elevator Company recognized the frustration of elevator riders who experience 5-15 stops on the way to their floor. Their “Purple Cow,” is a centralized control panel allowing you to key in the floor you seek. In return, the panel tells you which elevator is going to take you to your floor, turning each elevator into an express.

Dutch Boy Paint stirred up the paint business by introducing a Purple Cow “so simple, it’s scary.” Altering the can design to easier-to-carry, easier-to-open, easier-to-pour, easier-to-close version of a paint jug. This innovation got Dutch Boy increased sales and distribution while increasing their retail price!

According to Godin, his theory of Purple Cows is “a plea for originality, for passion, guts and daring. Not just because going through life with passion and guts beats the alternative (which it does,) but also because it’s the only way to be successful. Today, the one sure way to fail is to be boring. Your one chance for success is to be remarkable.”

For a copy of this remarkable marketing tool, Seth Gordon’s In Praise of the Purple Cows, visit http://www.apurplecow.com