24 responses

  1. Ruth Zive
    December 12, 2013

    Marcus, transparency might be one of the key ingredients, but I don’t think I agree that it’s enough of a differentiator on its own.

    You need a ‘secret sauce’ or bold solutions to what’s ‘wrong in your industry’ to capture people’s attention. You can be entirely transparent but offer nothing that is fresh, new, exciting, meaningful.

    Samsung was honest about the ways in which their product stacked up against Apple. But to be clear – the ways in which it stacked up against Apple (according to their campaign) were BETTER and way differentiated.

    Similarly, Dominos might have been honest and transparent about their shortcomings; but they used that transparency to introduce the ways in which they were different, better, improved.

    I suppose what I’m saying is that transparency might be a great way to showcase the purple cow. But IMO, it’s not what makes you a purple cow, necessarily.

    Make sense?

    • Marcus Sheridan
      December 15, 2013

      That does make sense Ruth, it does, but let me give you another example.

      In the swimming pool industry, fiberglass pool manufacturers used to have terrible warranties where they were quite misleading with their “semantics” if you will.

      Seeing this, we called them out, showed the world what they were doing, and told them to stop being dishonest.

      In this case, we didn’t have a secret sauce other than, “Be honest.”

      But it really, really worked.

      See where I’m coming from?

  2. Alan | Networking Secrets
    December 12, 2013

    Hey Marcus,

    I haven’t read that particular book from Seth but I completely get (and love) the concept.

    As someone who was a client of management consultants for many years I was very cynical of these sleazy guys who came in, sucked up all your resources, made a few tweaks and re-branded your materials and presentations as theirs (stealing your watch to tell you the time).

    Then I became a consultant myself.

    So I had an internal struggle fighting all those years of being cynical of what I’d actually become. Actually this made everything so much easier – it was easy to stand out from the crowd by being transparent, genuine and honest and at the same time meeting my own values and principles.

    I still find it amazing how many big companies don’t do this – but I agree with you there are plenty of great examples who are now waking up & smelling the coffee! (thankfully)

    I know you’ve always stood for this from your first business & it’s a great message – maybe the only message.

  3. Alexandra Petean-Nicola
    December 13, 2013

    Great article Marcus. Being a purple cow is so easy cause in fact all it takes is to be yourself and not worry if everybody will like you, or what will they say if you raise your price compared to the market. Your audience is sure you have a reason, explain that reason and they will most probably understand. The ones that won’t are the ones that weren’t meant to be your clients from the beginning.

  4. Al Smith
    December 13, 2013

    Hey Marcus,

    I read all your posts, but had to comment on this. Absolutely Fan – tas – tic !!

    Love it. Transparency IS the Key. I am trying to convince people of that. All the time. Ha.

    Thanks man. Hope you and the fam have a great Christmas and I know, your “Fabulous Growth Experience” in January will be Awesome !!

    Take CARE brother,


  5. Ryan Hanley
    December 13, 2013


    Definitely agree on Transparency…

    One I might add, (as coincidentally I’m reading Purple Cow right now), is “Making good on your promises.”

    It seems silly, but as I think my own experiences as a consumer and what I really want out of the organizations I do business with is simply for them to make good on what they say they can and will do.

    With all the marketing that takes place in today’s world this happens far less than we would expect.



  6. Churchill Madyavanhu
    December 13, 2013

    Though I haven’t read the book, the idea of being a purple cow resonates with me. I am just trying to figure out how to apply it to the marketing of a school. “Purple Cow” is now on my reading list. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Martha Preston
    December 13, 2013

    So basically not being afraid to be ourselves is the best way to go. I think showing that we are human and we mess up just like everyone else makes everyone feel like they could do what the writer is doing.I always new this I always feel vurnalble and I feel know reallly wants to know about me and whats me unique so I go with general stuff..maybe I should suck it up

  8. Andrea H.
    December 14, 2013

    I agree 100 percent. In this world being honest and transparent really makes you a purple cow. Unfortunately because that’s not the way it should be.

  9. JA
    December 17, 2013

    Marcus –

    Great words, as always.
    Thanks for handing out yet another fresh, attainable, optimistic perspective.


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