I have wanted to visit Motown for as long as I could remember, as perhaps like you, I grew up listening to SO many Motown artists thanks to my parents’ appreciation for good music. So, I was giddy over the whole experience!
We fully expected to love the tour (and we did!!), but what we didn’t expect to learn was a number of valuable business lessons, including:
1) Market to what appeals to your target audience, NOT you personally.
Berry Gordy didn’t put any artists’ photos on his first few albums because of the racial tensions at the time. He wanted the public to fall in love with the artists’ music and not be distracted by the color of the people on the album cover. Millions of records sold to people of ALL colors proved this to be a lucrative marketing strategy.
2) Get to know your team and ALL of their talents.
Did you know that Marvin Gaye was originally brought into Motown to play the drums and THEN it was discovered that he could sing? Had Berry Gordy kept Marvin “boxed in” to being a drummer, the world would have missed out on his groundbreaking voice and musical style. Don’t “box” people in. Find out what they’re good at and let them shine.
3) Keep track of your business history – it will continue to inspire you and others.
The decision makers at Motown had no idea they were making history while it was unfolding. They had their heads down working hard to reach their goals. One day, they looked up and realized they had created an iconic brand that had positively impacted millions of people around the world.
Because Berry’s older sister Esther Gordy had the good sense to capture the (literal) physical pieces and the history of Motown, it’s still accessible for all of us to enjoy and experience.
Never underestimate the power of the work you do and how it helps others. And keep track of the milestones (and “mistakes”) in your business. There are valuable lessons to be learned there, by YOU and by others.
Next time you’re in Detroit, make time to stop by the Motown Museum… you’re sure to be inspired just like we were!