Purple Goldfish Strategy: Is Differentiation the key to GROWTH?


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There are 5 factors that influence your growth… which one can you control?

OK – I’ll be the first to admit it.  I am oddly preoccupied with goldfish.  How is that the average common goldfish is 4 to 5 inches, yet the largest in the world can be almost 5 times that size?

largest goldfish

5 Times Larger!!! – Imagine walking down the street and bumping into someone 20 feet tall? How can there be such a disparity between your garden variety goldfish and their monster cousins?  It turns out that the growth of the goldfish is determined by 5 factors. Part of my obsession is my firm belief that the growth of your product or service is similar to that of a goldfish:

growth of a goldfish

Which of the 5 factors can you control?

Let’s assume you have an existing product or service and have been in business for more than six months.  Do you have any control over the market, your competition or the economy? NO, NO and NO.  The only thing you have control over is your genetic make-up or how you differentiate your product or service.  In goldfish terms, how do you stand out in a ‘sea of sameness’. How can you make yourself PURPLE?

So – is it possible for the PURPLE GOLDFISH to become PURPLE GOLDFISH STRATEGY?  Let’s compare it to the critically acclaimed model called BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY.  According to authors Kim and Mauborgne, Blue Ocean Strategy is based on the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low cost.  It’s goal is not to out-perform competition in the existing industry, but to create new market space or a blue ocean, thereby making the competition irrelevant.  The opposite of blue ocean is red ocean. Characterized by competition and a crowded space, red ocean is bloody water. Is there a middle ground or better yet a middle ocean?

purple goldfish strategy

Purple Goldfish Strategy is differentiation by added value. Finding signature elements that help you stand out, improve customer experience, reduce attrition and drive positive word of mouth.

What’s Your Purple Goldfish?

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Getting back to monstrous goldfish, have a look at Bruce from Hong Kong. According to Guinness Book in 2009, he was the World’s Largest Goldfish:

Lagniappe defined: A marketing lagniappe,  i.e. purple goldfish, is any time a business goes above and beyond to provide a ‘little something extra’.  It’s that unexpected surprise that’s thrown in for good measure.

How do you stand out in the sea of sameness? How do you win repeat customers and influence word of mouth?

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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