A New Frontier
As many of you know, among the many hats I wear, one is acting President of the Meritage Alliance. Yesterday, we held the annual Meritage Alliance meeting in our cellar. Each year, we feature a guest speaker and this time we were lucky enough to have Tom Wark, whose blog Fermentation: A Daily Wine Blog is one of the more widely read blogs in our industry. Tom is one of those rare gems .a wealth of knowledge and as down to earth as they come. In addition to his reputation as a blogger, he also runs his own PR and Marketing consultancy, Wark Communications. While I haven't worked with him personally, my hunch is that he's darn good at what he does.
However before I go into Tom's thoughts, first I must explain why I've been MIA.
My life has been about as topsy turvy as it gets these last few weeks. After a successful yet humbling week in New York, (more on that later) I came home to the unfortunate news that Leone, my personal assistant and marketing manager of 10 years, was leaving the winery. This came as a complete surprise. Needless to say, it felt a bit like having my right arm ripped off after all, she has been an extremely valuable and trusted member of my team and someone whom I consider a close personal friend. It's certainly a great loss for me personally and the winery as well, but I do wish her all the best in her new career endeavors. After the initial shock wore off, I immediately went to work on recruiting her replacement. Thank goodness for winejobs.com! Within 24 hours, I already had some strong candidates. While it's awful to be in this position, it's a great time to be hiringit's just a matter of finding the right fit. So I'm spending every spare moment meeting with candidates, asking thought provoking questions (can you mail merge, coordinate projects, handle details, provide a shoulder to lean on, and oh by the way, pick up my kid in an emergency?!) while trying to find my clone for the next ten years.
Back to the Meritage Alliance meeting - we had a hodge podge of attendees from vintners, journalists, and PR people, although I was disappointed that more didn't take advantage of this FREE opportunity to learn from one of the best in the business.
Tom covered numerous topics related to blogging and social media I managed to scribble down a few notes...
Traditional Media (newspapers, magazines, etc.) distributes content to the consumer, and in Tom's opinion, it is far from dead. The new Social Media is the direct to consumer avenue for distributing content to the consumer. It allows you to have:
The defining essence that ties the two together is that both are vehicles for telling your brand story. And, just like with all marketing communications, it is critical to be consistent and on message, saying the same thing over and over and over and over again. Then, when you think you've said it enough, you start over again! The difference between the two is that traditional media is like the 3 tier system- content goes from the company/product, to the publication/writer, to the consumer. With social media the content goes directly to the consumer. As marketers of just about anything - wine, clothing, computers, whatever, we need to embrace both.
Tom focused heavily on Facebook and actually took us through a step by step look at how it works. He is convinced it's effective-that it actually can help sell a product and grow a brand, despite what many skeptics (myself included) believe. He stressed the importance of making Facebook a priority-if you're gonna do it, do it well and do it often. Post info on wines. Post info on events. Post info on wine related topics. Post questions that customers might be interested in. Post photos of customers. Post while you're on vacation. Post photos of your vacation. Post, Post, Post!
Hmmm, all this left my head spinning how the heck is anyone supposed to have time for all this??? Sure, I'd like to have a more intimate relationship with my customers. But truth be told, I'd like to start with my husband and kids whom I've missed sorely lately.
This is a blog about what it's really like to be in the wine industry...so sit back, take a sip and enjoy!
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