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What are your current Purple Cow projects?

I’m a big believer in being different when it comes to marketing. In fact, being different isn’t a bad approach in most aspects of business and life. Being different doesn’t prevent you from striving to be better than the competition, but it does give you the edge as you seek to stand out from the crowd in this increasingly crowded world. 

Anyone with a passing interest in marketing their business and services will have read Purple Cow by Seth Godin. I was given a copy of this book by Nucleus founder David Ferguson many years ago, and the messages there really struck a chord with me. In essence, Purple Cow tells us that the key to success is finding a way to stand out from the crowd. Marketing genius Godin tells us we need to be the purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins. Nowhere is this more relevant and important than in retail financial services. 

Without actively seeking to be different, IFAs risk being just another dull ungulate in a herd of dull ungulates. What we have to offer in terms of advice and products is broadly similar. The Internet has done a great job of removing many of the differences between different firms, and indeed making it much easier to bypass advisers entirely when it comes to investing money or finding information. 

Towards the end of last year, I had an idea. I wanted to write a book about a social phenomenon of great importance to advisers, individuals and society as a whole; the post-war Baby Boomer generation was starting to reach retirement age. This matters for everyone, but for advisers in particular. This is, after all, a very wealthy generation. They have been described as a fortunate generation by many, amassing large amount of property and pension wealth through a long working lifetime. As they reach retirement age, much of this wealth will be converted to an income which will need to last for even longer than the retirements of previous generations. More money will be spent on leisure activities, medical intervention and care homes than ever before. 

This all seemed like great fodder for a book. I’ve written several books before, three of which were published by traditional publishers and two more recently which were self-published. As someone who loves writing and loves the sense of achievement which comes from writing a book, it was the obvious choice. But being a published author as an IFA is no longer a Purple Cow move. It was a Purple Cow activity back in 2006-08 when I wrote my first three books. Since then, there was been a minor flood of other advisers joining the realms of published authors. This is not to diminish their achievements as writers, only to point out that writing a book about the Baby Boomer generation reaching retirement would not be sufficiently different enough to stand out from the crowd. But how else could I get the message across? 

I don’t know about you, but personally I try not to watch very much television. With the finite free time I have, watching depressing soaps and talentless talent shows seems somehow wasteful. What I will happily watch are documentaries. My Netflix subscription and access to iTunes via Apple TV means I can access a massive range of documentaries at a click of a button. Over the past year I’ve had my eyes opened to a variety of subjects by watching movies including Blackfish, This is War, Forks over Knives, and Fat Sick & Nearly Dead. There are some exceptionally good documentaries out there. 

So, looking for an alternative channel to book writing to spread my message, I decided it would be good to make a feature-length documentary movie. Why not! A few days of online research and I had a kit list, process for movie making and various ideas for structuring the project. As a keen photographer, some of the kit I already had. It turns out that modern DSLR cameras are capable of filming HD quality movie footage – even Spielberg has started using them. Other items of movie making kit were acquired during a particularly fun (and expensive) shopping spree at the end of last year, and then I started reaching out to people I knew to line up interviews. 

During the past six months I have interviewed twelve experts on a variety of subjects, hosted a ‘Death Café’ to explore attitudes towards dying and spent a day filming with wildlife conversation volunteers. To date I have captured over 60 hours of footage which I now need to edit into an 80 minute movie, write a script, add graphics and a soundtrack. 

With the movie nearing completion, it was time for another Purple Cow move. Rather than continue to fund the project out of my own pocket and with the kind support of my business, I set up a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. This has the added benefit of building an army of supporters who can help spread the word about the movie, and securing some pre-sales of the DVD and digital downloads. The initial response has been incredible, with nearly half of the funding I needed secured within the first 24 hours. You can take a look at

Once the movie is finished, it will be initially screened at the Institute of Financial Planning (IFP) annual conference in October. The following month the movie will receive public screenings during Financial Planning Week 2014, and then it will be available to purchase on DVD and online through Vimeo on Demand. 

I’m sharing this story to point out the importance of being a Purple Cow and how simple ideas can result in innovation. I can’t predict how widely my documentary will be shared once it has been released; an audience of several thousand people would be a good result from a commercial perspective, given the time and investment to date in making the movie. What I can know is that making this movie will result in us being the first IFA firm to produce a feature-length documentary about Financial Planning and the first IFA firm to crowdfund a project. These are both Purple Cow moves and will undoubtedly result in positive promotion for the business, helping us continue to grow and succeed. 

What are your current Purple Cow projects?


By Martin Bamford




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Author: Martin Bamford
Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2014 | 12:50:48 PM

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02 December 2015 | 6:06:11 PM  Adrian Reese wrote:
Well done Martin, just great to hear of such a novel idea. I wish you every success with it.
19 June 2014 | 2:08:46 PM  Martin Bamford wrote:
Thanks, Vince.
19 June 2014 | 9:30:44 AM  Vince Harvey wrote:
Thought provoking idea.

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