I recently had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking with Mr. David van de Velde, the extremely successful businessman gracing our cover this month. He is an expert in marketing, so I asked him if he could offer advice to businesses today regarding their marketing, what would that advice be? He stated, “It’s simple. I would advise them to tell their story.”
I replied, “Well, that does sound simple. Can you elaborate?”
Mr. van de Velde went on to share a story with me, as he typically likes to use analogies to explain his point. During his time in the world of vodka, he learned about a taste test where individuals were offered an opportunity to taste unlabeled shots of vodka. However, before tasting, the participants were asked, “What is your favorite vodka brand?” Many of them proudly proclaimed Grey Goose.
During the taste test, the participants selected their favorites and then selected the vodka they felt was the least appealing. The results were unanimous; the least favorite among the group was Grey Goose, the very brand most had previously said was their favorite. I asked Mr. van de Velde, “How could this be?” He replied, “Marketing. The company that produces Grey Goose has perfected its marketing and is extremely successful at telling their story.”
Mr. van de Velde learned a great deal about marketing from that one particular taste-tasting event, so much so that Ketel One Vodka is now the third largest vodka company in the nation.
He explained further that businesses should take the opportunity to allow customers to know more about them every chance they get. When a customer knows who you are, and knows your story, they are more likely to show loyalty to the company with whom they feel they have a personal connection.
So the answer to marketing is simple: Tell your story, always strive to be the best, take great care of your customers, and allow them to know you. If you are a small business owner, your customers should get to know you, the owner, personally.
As always, I learned a valuable lesson from Mr. van de Velde that day, and hopefully you will as well when you read our cover feature this month. He is a deep well of information, and he has become a great friend and mentor to me. He stated his goal was to share his knowledge with as many business people as possible before he passes on and takes all of that great knowledge with him. He is a true class act.