Seth Godin often talks about building a remarkable product, which, by definition, people talk about. One thing that stuck out to me recently while reading Purple Cow
is when Seth Godin says:
The opposite of remarkable is very good. Ideas that are remarkable are much more likely to spread than ideas that aren't. Yet, so few brave people make remarkable stuff. Why? I think it is because they think that the opposite of remarkable is bad or mediocre or poorly done. Thus, if they make something very good, they confuse it with being virus worthy. Yet, this is not a discussion about quality at all.
This is a very interesting concept. Being remarkable is not a measure of quality. Building a very good product is not the same as building one that people will talk about.
For instance, take Basecamp
by 37 signals
. In their book Getting Real
, they talk about how they stood out from competitors by being the simplest web-based project collaboration tool. They explicitly excluded features that other's thought were required for project collaboration. They weren't successful by being better. They were successful by being different. If instead they had tried to be better than the competition, they would have been indistinguishable.
Don't waste your time trying to be better. There will always be someone better. Instead focus on being different; being remarkable. If people are talking about you then you have a better chance at success.
When I was in high school, my friends would recommend music to me. But they didn't stop there; they also burned me CD's to listen to. I discovered a lot of bands that I still listen to and patronize because of my friends recommendations. However, their recommendations alone would probably only have persuaded me to listen to a fraction of the music that I ended up liking. The real thing that pushed me over the edge was the fact that I could try out what they were recommending to me. I didn't have to go out and find it and I didn't have to risk spending the money on something I might not like.
As a marketer, the goal is to win over the majority with your product. The way you win over the majority is by making your product remarkable so that the early adopters will want to talk about your product. If you want your salesmen, the early adopters, to do a good job selling your product you have to equip them with the right tools. Someone is not going to buy a $500 dollar licence for software or spend 3 hours filling out forms just to use a product based on another persons recommendation. The barrier is too high. Make it easy for your salesmen. Give them the CD's to hand out. Upload your videos to YouTube so they are easy to link to. Only ask for the bare minimum for someone to register on your site. When you make it easier for your salesman to make the sale, you will benefit.
When I was in elementary school we had a special speaker come. He was a story teller who had an odd trait. He would repeat everything he said three times. Finally, he explained this to us. He said the first time was so that we would hear it, the second time was so we would listen, and the third was so that we would remember it. He repeated the explanation three times and needless to say, I never forgot it.
Marketers have the same sort of goal as that story teller. They want you to remember what they tell you so that you will use that information when you make a purchase. It used to be true that they could do that directly through advertisements. That is no longer the case anymore, since very few people let a marketer get past the hear stage. Seth Godin's concept of permission marketing
is one example of a way to bridge the gap from hearing to listening and the purple cow is a great way to get that permission. The next gap is covered by the idea virus of your purple cow.
You as a marketer are not the person who will make people remember your product. Direct advertisements do not
work. The only thing you can do is get people to listen. Once you have done that, the people who have listened will make others remember for you.
If you want to learn more about the purple cow and ideas that spread you can check out my notebooks section
where I'm currently taking notes on Seth Godin's Purple Cow
I watched a wonderful video post on Charlie Hoehn's blog where he describes how he takes notes
on every book he reads. It allows him to have the best knowledge from dozens of writers nearby and on hand in his trusty notebook. I really like this idea. I have read quite a few books that were amazing and invaluable in helping me be the person I am today.
I'm a bit more technically minded than Mr. Hoehn though, so I've decided to use evernote.com
to record all of my notes. The side benefit of this is that I can also share these notebooks with the world. Each of my notebooks will be categorized by topic (eg, marketing, fitness, etc...) and each note in the notebook will reference a different book. Currently I have a marketing notebook and the first book that I've started this process for is Seth Godin's Purple Cow
You can access my marketing notebook here
My list of note books can be accessed here