Purple Cow

Destructive marketing is built in products

Traditional ways of marketing are gone. The old virtuous cycle of ‘buy ads – get distribution –sell product – buy ads’ is now gone for good. So, what is the new way to cut the hyper-clutter and stand out in marketing and sell your product?

Stop advertising and start innovating.

Seth Godin, the marketing guru and bestselling author, explains the new era marketing strategy in a unique manner of a purple cow. Suppose you are travelling to someplace and you see the normal black and white cows that you encounter almost every day. Would you look at them twice? Would you talk to your friends about them? No, right? But, what if it’s a purple cow? The chances of discussing a purple cow are definitely much higher. In the same manner, any product which is remarkably different than the ones existing in the industry will raise curiosity among the potential customers.

Remarkable Product

It comes from people who are making something for themselves.  From here, they are able to project the same for multiple audiences. Here are a few examples:

  • Howard Schultz spent months in Italy, drinking coffee and learning. He was in love with coffee. Thus, Starbucks evolved.
  • Rony Abovitz, CEO Magic Leap, drew inspiration from his childhood fascination with scientific fiction in Star Wars. Later, he started working on augmented reality in his garage in Miami and went on to becoming the fastest Unicorn after first equity round.
  • Ray Kroc, coming from the sales background, fell in love with McDonald’s on his very first visit. Later, during the opening of his first store in Chicago, he emphasised on creating the exact taste of French fries and went on to contact research fellows in many universities to replicate the same Californian taste.
  • At around late 2007, roommates Chesky and Gebbia could not afford the rent for their apartment in San Francisco.They decided to put their loft on rent online(on their own website) with beds for three guests and homemade morning breakfast. They named this concept as Air bed and breakfast which is now known as Airbnb.
  • On a snowy Paris evening in 2008, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp had trouble hailing a cab. In order to solve this very obvious and every day modern human problem, they started Uber – tap a button, get a ride. How simple can it get!

Sneezers

Zespri had a daunting task to launch a new kind of kiwi which is golden in colour with an edible peel. Instead of mass marketing the new food in U.S., Zespri took a risk and introduced it in an upscale Latino community. This community is a regular eater of mangoes and papaya which closely resembles the new kiwi but tastes very different. Such niche Latino community had both the time and the inclination to try something new and different. Over a period of time, this Kiwi grew in popularity among Latinos that Zespri (back in 2001) made a business of $100 million worth.

Sneezers are the first category of people on earth who will, willingly, learn about your product, take the risk to try a product, and bear the pain of introducing it to their friends. This way, marketing strategy becomes much more productive and cheaper. Another benefit in targeting such genre of potential customers is that they are always on the lookout for new stuff. This requires minimum advertisements and marketing expenditure. All you need is to be creative enough to come in their eyesight and, automatically, the rest of the story unfolds.

In case, if you are short of ideas,

  • Find the niche market
  • Create the remarkable product in the right way 

Law of Diffusion

Today, even with narrowing down your potential customers through digital means, your marketing efforts can still fail. The reason being you are one of the 50 marketers who is targeting the same individual for the same set of products and services.

Hence, rather than a push marketing, marketers should devise a pull strategy.

 

law-of-diffusion

  1. Left to Right

Most of us are already aware of ‘Crossing the Chasm’ by Geoff Moore. How can’t it be given a serious thought over here? An idea spreads from innovators to early adopters to the early/late majority (sneezers comes before these). The company should target the innovators and early adopters and strategically build the initial marketing efforts around these two categories. Using the typical mass media strategies would not be of much help at this stage.

  1. Marketing Budget Offloading

The maximum sales and profits come from early and late majority people. Only when your product is being accepted by these people, then only you should offload your maximum budget. Many great astonishing products spent most of its capital on mass marketing. Such marketing efforts came too soon before the idea spreads.

Take-aways:

  1. The message that Tiffany’s blue box and Leaning Tower of Pisa delivers, Pantheon in Rome does not. The marketing is not done for a product. It’s built right in.
  2. Greatest remarkable products and companies such as Starbucks, Apple, Disney, Reliance Industries have been started and successfully ran by marketers. From product development, manufacturing to communicating the value proposition, such passionate marketers have their heads involved in the entire product cycle.
  3. When the company becomes big, it loses its entrepreneurial charm and focuses on profitability. Hence, pick the right maverick in your company for product development and get out of his way.
  4. Work with sneezers. Get Permission from them. Alert them beforehand on upcoming products. Work with them to sell your idea to a wider Audience. (Donald Trump utilised such ‘Stakeholder Driven Media’ internet platforms like breitbart.com to spread his ideology to significant yet unique Americans).
  5. If your company has reached a stage, where nothing seems to be working and marketing department is facing the major brunt, talk to your engineers or product developers and customers. Rather than selling what they wanted to sell, new Best Buy CEO, Brad Anderson, listened to customers and realigned the entire strategy based on their inputs. Often, it was hard and longer in approach but produced more results (and, cheaper too), than typical boring ads and staying that way.
  6. Learn from people who have a track record of launching such remarkable products. Dive deep into the fans’ magazines, trade shows, design reviews – do whatever it takes to feel what your fans feel.

 

Author: Rupam Lathwal

PGPM Class of 2017, Great Lakes, Gurgaon

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