Seth has written a lot of books, and I have read most of them. All
great stuff. If you don't have the time to read all his books, fret
not, because most of his most salient points are expressed rather well
in the speech he gave at the London Marketing Dinner last July. You can download the audio here.
I listened to it again the other day.
Here's the thing. Seth's main thesis is that, with the crumbling of what he calls the TV-Industrial Complex,
mass marketing has become broken. Suddenly mass media has become to
cluttered, too noisy, too fragmented, people are too busy to pay
attention, they have too much choice etc etc. So unless you already
have a product that is heavily mass marketed successfully, you will
probaly fail if you try going down the same road. So what to do?
Seth's answer is for companies to stop trying to think of clever,
“creative” ways to mass market ordinary products, but instead to start
making remarkable products.
That means products people will want to talk about, that will create
“stories” that people will want to tell to other people, that will
create ideas and conversations that will spread. Products aligned with
this he calls a “Purple Cow”.
It's a wonderful, simple idea, and from where I'm standing, glaringly obvious.
All well and good.
What got me thinking was a conversation I overheard at the dinner between Seth and another person. To paraphrase:
PERSON: “Yes Seth, I'm sure you're correct, but what do you do if the company you work for doesn't make remarkable products? Then how does 'Purple Cow' thinking apply?”
SETH: “It doesn't. Quit your job and go find something better.”
PERSON: “No, I mean, besides that.”
was not the answer the guy wanted to hear. I get the feeling he just
thought if he could slightly “tweak” Seth's thesis, he wouldn't need to
bother with the hard work, he wouldn't have to ask the hard questions,
or find the hard answers. All he would need to do is put this new &
improved, “Purple Cow 2.0” into gear, and suddenly his career would
suddenly be magically transformed, as if on autopilot. [gapingvoid]