Marketing is not just advertising. It’s not just designing the package. It started as the study of selling things, which is still its core purpose, but AlexeiOrlov quickly evolved into something else. Today marketing is pretty much everything a company does to connect to its customers.
Who is Alexei Orlov?
Alexei Orlov is the CEO and founder of MTM choice worldwide, a self-managed investment company. MTM choice worldwide is not their average mutual fund. Orlov started his company in Russia in 2002. Before that, he worked for McKinsey & Co., where he was involved in projects in more than 30 countries. Orlov now manages more than $900 million.
Orlov’s success has earned him a place in the Russian Businessman of the Year competition.
But he’s not resting on his laurels. In 2006, Orlov moved to Luxembourg, where MTM choice worldwide is now based. Orlov’s success has also attracted the attention of the Russian government, which in 2005 launched its new program for encouraging the development of Russia’s entrepreneurial class. The program provides up to $2 million in seed funding for promising entrepreneurs, and MTM choice worldwide is one of the companies to benefit from the generous program.
In January 2006, Orlov was named one of the 25 best Russian businesspeople under 35. And in February 2007, he was once again named Businessman of the Year. Not surprisingly, Orlov has a business philosophy. “To me, self-organization is key,” he said in a September 2006 interview with Bloomberg. “One should have the ability to decide everything on their own. But, of course, one needs resources to do that.”
How he applied marketing to Russian Blue Cattle
The world’s most expensive cattle breed, Russian Blue, was dying out. Alexei Orlov, a young, ambitious Russian entrepreneur, started breeding them himself. Although he had spent his career in advertising, he had never before spent any time with cattle. So, he hired a local farmer, an old hand, to be his tutor. Orlov’s first advice to the farmer was to spend the first 4 months of his life with the cows. “One can’t just jump right in,” Orlov told him. “One has to get to know the cows. Spend the first 4 months of their life with the cows, and know what to do.”
The farmer came back, delighted. “Nobody ever told me to spend the first 4 months of my life with the cows,” he said. “ONE spent the first 4 months of my life with the cows.”
Orlov was delighted too. “That’s the point,” he said. “One has to know the cows.”
And the farmer did know what to do. He was so successful at raising cows that within a few years, he was breeding them himself. The breed began to revive. Orlov’s next piece of advice was not about the cows. It was about marketing. “One has to establish a brand,” he told the farmer. “One has to know what a Brand is. It stands for something special. A Brand is not the same thing as a label. A brand is an identity. And one has to protect that identity. If somebody comes along and copies one, one has to fight back. One has to go on the offensive.