3 Marketing Lessons From Pappy Van Winkle

I’ve been reading the Wright Thompson’s book, Pappyland (link), the last few nights and you actually can learn quite a few marketing lessons from Pappy himself.

Hold the Line:

In the first part of the book, Wright talks about how one of the big reasons that the Pappy Van Winkle bourbon became such a big hit was due to Pappy’s standards.

He was famous for not watering the bourbon down to be able to have more product to sell and not compromising.

Hold the line!

For marketers, this can mean know what you are doing in many ways:

  • On pricing, the price is the price.
  • On strategy, you are an expert and a strategist…act like it and don’t equivocate when you know the right direction.

On it goes, but hold the line.

Know the Role of Sales in Marketing’s Success:

In the book, the story of the Van Winkle holiday punch bowl is shared and how each year the punch bowl was engraved with the top sales person from the year and at the holiday party the punchbowl was filled with egg nog so that folks could celebrate the salesperson of the year and the ones that had come before.

Sales is an important part of marketing and depending on the marketing plan you have put together, your sales team can be the public face of your brand.

While marketing is the strategy process that gives sales the ability to succeed. As a marketer, you have to recognize how much value your sales team can create for your business.

Do What You Do Best:

The real Pappy Van Winkle had a great palate. His grandson, Julian, has a great palate as well.

Julian’s father, Julian Jr., was an entirely different man. Someone his son describes by his accomplishments in the military, not his heritage as one of the most famous folks in bourbon.

In the second section, Thompson writes about how Julian Jr was grappling with the man he wasn’t so that he struggled to become the man he was. While at the same time, he writes about how Julian is comfortable in his skin and knows who he is exactly.

In marketing and business, a lot of people fall into the trap of trying to be everything to everyone or doing whatever folks need done.

In other words, they can be afraid to be or do what they are best at.

We all need to keep that in mind. Do what we do best and don’t try to squeeze ourselves into every role, especially if it doesn’t put us in a position to be successful.

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