Posted: Wed 27th Nov 2013
All you Seth Godin fans will know exactly what I'm talking about. The whole purple cow thing is about being remarkable, standing out from the crowd. If your business or product is just like everything else on the market, it makes it difficult for customers to choose you, and for you to be successful.
Andrea Opoku runs GreenBean Marketing, offering small businesses essential marketing and branding advice and services.
Be a 'Purple Cow'
Knowing that you need to be a purple cow and knowing how to become a purple cow are two different things. Not every business can completely reinvent itself and come out with a completely new way of doing things or a completely innovative product. So for the majority of us, the key is to make small changes to make ourselves or our businesses remarkable.
Maybe look at targeting a specific group that is underrepresented in your market; for example, wedding planning services for couples over 60 (just an idea!). Or try tweaking a run-of-the-mill product slightly, like GDesserts has done with their Cupcake in a Jar. These all pique people's interest and make them want to find out more, which is what you want.
So, what makes you different from the rest? Does it make you a purple cow?
Sell solutions not products or services
Be clear about what you offer your customers. Do you sell designer baby clothes or do you actually sell an opportunity for parents and their children to fit into a certain crowd? Do you sell loaves of bread or the key element in making the prefect sandwich? Those offering professional services are generally better at this than those offering products.
When you're clear on what you're actually selling, then you can begin to market it effectively.
Use social media
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube are such hot topics these days you can't really ignore them. Even if you don't think your customers use them, your competitors, partners and suppliers probably do. If your customers aren't on Facebook, going by the rate of sign up, they soon will be! You have to be there, ready to receive them.
There is so much information on the internet about how best to use your social networks, but the best way to learn really is to just get online and play around. Set up your accounts and allocate time everyday if you can (it need only be 30 minutes to start with) to update your profiles, post updates, look at what other people are doing""just really learn how things are done.
At a Women Unlimited Conference, one of the speakers was Lara Morgan, founder of Pacific Direct. One of the points she made about getting ahead related to networking; the phrase she used was "Network relentlessly!" This really is so true. Everywhere you go, everything you do, you meet people that could turn out to be "" or could put you in touch with "" your next big client or customer. So it really does pay to make more contacts, and make use of every single one.
A few tips for effective networking:
Always follow up, ideally within 72 hours of meeting.
Invite them out for a coffee or a quick lunch to see what opportunities for collaboration there are. Making a personal (face-to-face) connection with a contact outside of where you first meet is always good""it can only better the relationship.
Keep in touch. Drop them an email or go out for a chat over coffee every now and then to find out what's new. It helps them keep you front of mind""you never know when they might need your products or services.
Have a plan
Do you know the phrase: fail to plan and you plan to fail? I should know, I've been running GreenBean Marketing for 5 years now and I've only just finished putting my business and marketing plans together! It really does help keep you focused and it can also help the marketing activities you're doing work more effectively.
Your written plan doesn't have to be huge. It just needs to cover a few points:
what you do
who you're targeting
how you plan to communicate to them
when you plan to do it
You could also add:
where you want the business to be in 1/3/5/10 years' time (delete as appropriate).
As long as you keep reviewing your plan and updating as necessary, that should enough.