Sat, 05 Sep 2009 23:38:00 GMT

Being Remarkable Does Not Equal Quality

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.

Tue, 25 Aug 2009 13:39:00 GMT

Some Words Bare Repeating

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.