In the latest issue of Forbes (the one with the scary bomb on the front) there’s an article on page 21 about a little known Bourbon Whiskey brand, Pappy Van Winkle’s that caught my eye. The company consists of a father and son team (both descendents of Pappy) who brew a specialized Bourbon that sells out in most markets before the retailers can even stock their shelves.
The thing is, they don’t actually brew the bourbon, haven’t for 60 years. It’s brewed by another distillery whose name you wouldn’t recognize. All they do is provide a slightly different recipe and the right marketing strategy and sell it to the customers (retailers). You see, Pappy Van Winkle doesn’t make Whiskey, he runs a product management company.
As I read the article an idea crossed my mind, there are a number of products out there today whose marketing will be fundamentally changed by social media. We’re seeing it some places already, but for the most part these industries haven’t changed much, yet. Astute social media experts with a little capital should stop trying to build the next Twitter or even working for marketing/pr/advertising firms. They should instead identify these industries that will be changing, creating products whose production can be outsourced in these industries, and then crush the current competitors who can’t survive the new paradigm.
This is not a new idea, of course, it is to marketing what Bain Capital is to Strategy Consulting. When the consultants at Bain realized how poorly some industries were run; they figured they could make more money buying a horse, training it properly and winning that industry’s race then they could consulting for the existing horses. As far as I know, no one has applied this to marketing (especially not social media marketing), anybody know differently?