<ul><li>As our society gets more complex and our people get more complacent, the role of the jester is more vital than ever before. Please stop sitting around. We need you to make a ruckus. </li></ul><ul><li>- From Seth Godin’s Book Linchpin </li></ul>
That to be successful in business you had to be great at all the marketing P’s: Product, Pricing, Promotion, Positioning, Publicity, Packaging, Pass–Along, and Permission.
These P’s are just not enough. This book is about a new P, a P that is suddenly exceptionally important.
Driving through France a few years ago, he and his family were enchanted by the hundreds of cows grazing on beautiful pastures right next to the highway. Mile after mile there were just cows and pastures.
They stopped noticing the cows. The cows became common to them; boring.
After you’ve seen them for a while, are boring. They may be perfect cows, attractive cows, cows with great personalities, cows lit by beautiful light, but they’re still boring.
Is the art of building things worth noticing right into your service.
Where we can no longer market to the masses. We live in a world where most products…most services…most real estate agents…are invisible.
A Purple Cow into everything you build. Mass marketing is no longer your secret weapon. You must stop advertising and start innovating.
Of marketing are not working. Consumers are too busy to pay attention to advertising.
Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented sliced bread. What a great idea – a simple machine that could take a loaf of bread and slice it. The machine ended up being a complete failure.
Of the advertising agent and meant that a good product with lousy marketing had very little chance of success.
A new brand called Wonder started marketing sliced bread and the innovation caught on. It was the packaging and advertising (“builds strong bodies twelve ways”) that worked, not the sheer convenience and innovation of pre-slicing bread.
Forty years ago, Ron Simek, owner of Tombstone Tap decided to offer a frozen version of his pizza to his customers. It caught on and before long Tombstone Pizza was dominating your grocer’s freezer. Kraft Foods bought the brand in 1986, advertised it like crazy, and made billions. That’s how product and service marketing used to work…
It worked for every product or service. Imagine how great it would have been to be the first person to market aspirin. Here was a product that every person on earth needed and wanted. It was inexpensive, easy to try, and immediately beneficial. It was a big hit!
A quick visit to the drugstore turns up: Advil, Aleve, Alka-Seltzer Morning Relief, Anacin, Bayer, Bayer Children’s, Bayer Regimen, Bufferin, Excedrin, Motrin, Tylenol….and on and on and on.
A new pain reliever, how would you get people to buy it? Mass advertising?
<ul><li>You need to find people who want to buy a pain reliever. </li></ul><ul><li>Once you find those people, then you need to find the ones that want to buy a new kind. Many will want the “original” kind, the kind they grew up with. These people aren’t looking for a new pain reliever. </li></ul><ul><li>You then need to find the people willing to listen to you talk about your new pain reliever. Most people are just too busy and will ignore you, regardless of how many ads you buy. </li></ul>
There are far more choices, but there is less and less time to sort them out.
Twenty years ago. Back then, consumers had a lot more time and far fewer choices.
Our highly productive economy figured out how to satisfy almost everyone’s needs. Then the game changed – it was all about satisfying our wants.
Alternatives now that people can no longer be easily reached by mass marketing. Worse still, people are getting harder to reach by permission media. Just because you have someone’s email address or phone number doesn’t mean they want to hear from you!
Are hard to ignite in markets that are fairly satisfied. Because marketers have overwhelmed consumers with too much of everything, people are less likely to go out of their way to tell a friend about a product or service unless they’re fairly optimistic that the friend will be glad to hear about it.
And consumers are less eager than ever to add to it. If you want to grow your market share you have a significant challenge ahead.
<ul><li>All the obvious targets are gone, so people aren’t likely to have easily solved problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Consumers are hard to reach because they ignore you. </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfied customers are less likely to tell their friends. </li></ul>
That whomever had the deepest marketing pockets, would win the market share war. Not so anymore.
The television advertising for Cap’n Crunch cereal was created before the product? An advertising agency hired, Jay Ward, creator of Bullwinkle to create the television commercial, then the ad agency went and sold it to Quaker. Quaker then made the cereal to match the commercials.
Kid’s won’t listen to the commercials and neither will adults.
That’s fading. It’s newspapers and magazines – any form of media interrupting any form of consumer activity. Individuals and businesses have ceased to pay attention.
Create safe, ordinary products and services and combine them with great marketing.
Create remarkable products and services that the right consumers will seek out.
To follow the leader is that the leader did something remarkable to get to be the leader. And that remarkable thing is now taken – it’s no longer remarkable when you do it.
Of opportunities to do great things but you have to be willing to execute your ideas.
Is to show you that it’s safer to be risky – to fortify your desire to do truly amazing things, then to do the same old thing.
You must realize that a majority of consumers are happily stuck. Sold on using the same “safe” real estate agent they’ve always had. They’re not looking for a replacement and they don’t like adapting to anything new. You don’t have the power to force them to.
Sell to people who like change, who like new stuff, who are actively looking for what it is you are offering. Then you hope that the idea spreads to “early adopters.” After the early adopters embrace what you’re selling, THEY are the ones who will sell to the majority – not you. WARNING: they will sell it poorly!
You are offering must be attractive enough to attract those early adopters and attractive enough that those adopters will have an easy time spreading the idea to the rest of the curve.
Ideas that spread are more likely to succeed than those that don’t. These are idea viruses.
Are the key spreading agents of an idea virus. They launch and maintain idea viruses.
May be the first to buy your service but if they are not sneezers as well, they won’t spread your idea. They are either selfish in their use of a new idea, or they don’t have the credibility to spread it to others. Either way they are a dead end when it comes to spreading an idea.
Sneezers is the essential step in creating an idea virus.
Create an idea virus? Don’t try to be a real estate agent for everybody, because then you become a real estate agent for nobody.
Instead of a huge market. With a niche you can segment off a chunk of the mainstream and create an idea virus so focused that it overwhelms that small slice of the market that really and truly will respond to what you sell.
It’s because of all the viral pieces working together. How smooth and easy is it to spread your idea? How often will people sneeze it to friends? How tightly knit is the group you are targeting? Do they believe each other?
To advertise to anyone (except interested sneezers with influence).
Do this advertising when these consumers are actually looking for help and in a place where they will find you.
Interested person is a good idea, but the real win occurs when the person who’s listening is a sneezer likely to tell their friends and colleagues.
The chances you have to advertise to this select audience are rare. The rest of the time you need to be investing in the Purple Cow: services and techniques so useful, interesting, outrageous and noteworthy that the market will want to listen to what you have to say.
<ul><li>Starbucks – Inventing the coffee bar </li></ul><ul><li>Amazon – A site where you can now buy almost anything and get it with free shipping </li></ul><ul><li>NetFlix – Rentals by mail or Streaming video </li></ul><ul><li>RedBox - $1 Rentals </li></ul><ul><li>Who are the Purple Cows in our business? </li></ul>
Are using old fashioned advertising to win. To their entrenched but nervous competitors these companies appear to be cheating because they aren’t playing by the rules.
Make people listen. But, you can figure out who’s likely to be listening when you talk and then invent the right combination of P’s to overwhelm them with the rightness of your offer.
Someone is listening, your offer of “a little bit cheaper,” “a little bit better,” or “a little bit easier” is just a waste of time. The influential sneezers, the people with a problem to solve – they’re open to hearing your story only if it’s truly remarkable; otherwise you are invisible.
Are the same. Differentiate your customers. Find the group that’s the most profitable and the group that is most likely to sneeze. Figure out how to develop/advertise/reward these groups and ignore the rest.
Should not cater to the masses. You should cater to the customers you’d choose if you could choose your customers.
Owns several hotels in San Francisco. His first hotel, The Phoenix, is in one of the worst neighborhoods in downtown. He got the hotel (really a motel) for next to nothing. He knew it wasn’t a hotel for everybody. In fact, no matter what he did to the Phoenix, hardly anyone would choose to stay there. But, “hardly anyone” can be quite enough if you have a hotel with just a few dozen rooms.
Chip redesigned the place. He painted it funky colors. Put hip style magazines in all rooms. Had a cutting edge artist paint the inside of the pool, and invited up and coming rock-and-roll stars to stay at the place.
The plan worked. By intentionally ignoring the mass market, Chip created something remarkable: a rock-and-roll motel in the center of San Francisco. People looking for it found it.
Of competitors who are not trying to be everything to everyone. Are they outperforming you? If you could pick one underserved niche to target (and to dominate) what would it be?
There aren’t millions of great ideas. The Purple Cow is rare because people are afraid.
Probably in first grade. That’s when you started figuring out that the safe thing to do was to fit in. The safe thing to do was to color inside the lines, don’t ask too many questions in class, and whatever you do be sure your homework fits on the supplied piece of cardstock. We have been taught to conform.
Fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.
Since just about everyone else is petrified of the Purple Cow, you can be remarkable with even less effort.
You cannot follow the leader. You’ll never catch the leader by being the same. Figure out how you can be different.
More turbulent, more and more people seek safety. They want to eliminate as much risk as they can from their business and their careers. Most people mistakenly believe that the way to do that is to play it safe. To hide. So fewer and fewer people work to create a new Purple Cow.
You don’t have to be remarkable all the time to enjoy the upside of being Purple. Starbucks was remarkable a few years ago. Now they’re boring. But, that first burst of innovation and insight has allowed them to grow to thousands of stores around the world.
<ul><li>Create something truly remarkable, the challenge is to do two things: </li></ul><ul><li>Milk the cow for everything it’s worth. Figure out how to extend it and profit from it for as long as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>Create an environment where you are likely to invent a new Purple Cow in time to replace the first one when its benefits inevitably trail off. </li></ul>
Don’t go for “remarkable” because they think the opposite of remarkable is bad or mediocre. Thus if they make something very good, they confuse it with being virus worthy.
Very good is an every day occurrence and hardly worth mentioning.
Have the email addresses of the 20 percent of your customer base that love what you do? If not, start getting them. If you do, what could you make for these customers that would be super special? For ideas go to sethgodin.typepad.com and sign up for Seth’s blog.
The band Pearl Jam released 72 live albums, all available on their Web site. They were not trying to interrupt strangers; they’re selling to the converted. Pearl Jam knows that once they have permission to talk to someone it’s much easier to make a sale.
Developed a Purple Cow – bandages with characters painted on them. Kids, the prime consumers of small bandages, loved them…and therefore so did the parents. It didn’t take long for Curad to grab a big chunk of market share from the major competitor.
Captured market share by changing the can. Paint cans are heavy, hard to carry, hard to close, hard to open, hard to pour from, and no fun. Dutch Boy realized there was no reason to stick with the conventional can and introduced an easier to carry, easier to pour from, easier to close can. Sales went way up. Not only that, people were willing to pay a higher price for it.
If you don’t want to be purple, you have to be cheap. Cheap is the lazy way out of the battle for the Purple Cow. Cheap is the last refuge for the marketer who is out of ideas.
You have to ask yourself is this: Do you want to grow? If you do, you need to embrace the Purple Cow. You can maintain your brand the old way, but the only route to healthy growth is a remarkable product.
Selling nuts to squirrels – Seth Godin In All Marketers Tell Stories , I argue that most organizations shouldn't try to change the worldview of the audience they're marketing to.
Worldview is a term popularized by George Lakoff. It's the set of expectations and biases that color the way each of us see the world (before the marketer ever arrives on the scene).
The worldview of a 45 year old wine-loving investment banker is very different from that of a fraternity brother. One might see a $100 bottle of burgundy as both a bargain and a must-have, while the other might see the very same bottle of wine as an insane waste of money.
Worldview changes three things: attention, bias and vernacular . Attention, because we choose to pay attention to those things that we've decided matter. Bias, because our worldview alters the way we filter and interpret what we hear. And vernacular, because words and images resonate with people differently based on their worldview.
It's extremely expensive, time consuming and difficult to change someone's worldview. The guys at Opus One Winery shouldn't spend a lot of time marketing expensive wine to fraternities because it's not efficient. Sell nuts to squirrels, don't try to persuade dolphins that nuts are delicious.
There's an exception to this rule, and that's the necessity of changing worldviews if you want to become a giant brand, a world changer, a marketer for the ages. Starbucks changed the way a significant part of the world thought about spending $4 for a cup of coffee.
Or consider Facebook. It started by selling nuts to squirrels. At first, Facebook was social crack for lonely (all college students are lonely) college students. Over time, the social pressure it created snuck up on and surrounded those with a different inclination, those that would never have signed up on their own.
The interesting truth in both the Starbucks and Facebook example is that a different worldview was at work. The latecomers to each company were sold a very different story--the story of, “You need to be here because all your friends are." That worked because it matched the latecomers' worldview, the one that includes an imperative, “Don't be left out." Different nut, same squirrel.
Often, agents have said they “Don’t have time for social networking,” and they would appreciate if all of the social mediums were organized in some platform. In the past we’ve shared a site called HootSuite, a web-based software that helps organize Facebook, Twitter, and other sites onto one website. Hypothetically speaking, what if you “Didn’t even have time” for that ?! Thus, I present to you…[drum roll please]…RockMelt.
RockMelt is a web browser, similar to Google Chrome or Firefox, that is essentially framed with your Facebook information and alerts you with Facebook chat messages, friend requests, and notifications–all of which can be responded to without going on the actual Facebook site! If that wasn’t good enough, you can also post status updates, see Twitter and Facebook updates (again, without actually logging onto their websites), and view RSS feeds! There is even a “share” button next to the URL bar so that you can share content with a simple click.
<ul><li>Download RockMelt at www.rockmelt.com </li></ul><ul><li>Login with your usual Facebook information and subscribe to RSS feeds on various websites. </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoy! </li></ul>
As Always... if you know of anyone who would appreciate working at a rewarding and professional real estate office that is dedicated to enriching the lives and careers of its agents, please call me with their name and business number and I would be happy to follow up and take great care of them!