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missedTargetBasically inseparable, sales & marketing most often seem to completely misunderstand each other.  Marketing, loaded with creative talent, big thinkers and sometimes a budget to back that up, creates tools, information and events that can make or break a brand, a launch, a quarter.  Sales, always on the go, focused on low hanging fruit, relationships and quotas provide the revenue that can make or break the company.  So how can such a close pairing, like steak and cabernet sauvignon, so often be on completely separate, parallel, uncomplimentary tracks with each other?

SAME:

The product

The team/company

The Goal

DIFFERENT:

The job

The how, when, where, who…

The mindset

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Since I worked first in marketing then in sales in the wine industry, I’m currently fascinated with seamlessly tying the two halves together to function as a successful, profitable wine sales & marketing unit.  With input from colleagues and customers, I look forward to a thoughtful and provocative conversation that offers a basic and varied set of solutions here.  Digital marketing, social media and e-commerce have changed the way we shop, buy,  research and share. Internet opportunities, apps and experiments pop up and multiply quickly so I look forward to evaluating them for the wine industry here as well.

Your comments are essential.

Thanks for participating.

PS.   In the series to follow, data from the Forbes article that also referred to sales & marketing as Mars & Venus (an apt comparison) will be posted and referenced with valuable details about marketing lead generation and sales response time.

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SMicons2Now that social media in wine and hospitality seems mainstream, facebook fan pages are de rigeur, and the twitter, flickr, fb, digg, etc. logos are plastered everywhere, there’s something significant missing in the translation of the message on connecting.  Referring back to the cocktail party analogy, would you host a party and not be there?  Invite guests to your home to connect and entertain them and leave everything up to a catering staff for interacting with your guests?

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I sure hope you answered no to both questions.  If you did, why on earth would you launch a social media program and issue automatic direct messages to your guests?  Why would you post generic, monthly or weekly messages (imagine a PA system a la high school) announcing, shouting at people something they didn’t ask you about?  Do you understand the concept of real conversation?  If I come to your home, I’m excited to see YOU…and if you have the butler answer the door, the bartender entertain me and the cook tell me loads of information, guess what…I’m probably not coming back.  Nor will I tell my friends anything positive about that experience.

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Maybe you’re mislead by the cold, technological tool in front of you…your laptop (i-phone, Storm, whatever).  What you must not forget is that there are real, flesh and blood, passionate people on the other end who love wine, hospitality, their friends, family, travel, SCUBA, or whatever FAR more than they love your bottom line.  While technology extends our reach by several orders of magnitude greater than we can imagine, you cannot lose your sensitivity, your listening skills, your inter-personal talents in the hopes of automating connection.  Businesses hoping to increase their business without getting involved, asking questions, caring and listening are doomed to fail, and fail on a large scale in public.

Our friend @winebratsf is right.  And she is doing businesses a service by letting them know what she wants and why she’s there.  Many people I know just “unfollow” a business that gets impersonal, automated or uninteresting.  If you can’t make the personal investment in the relationships, you are in the wrong place.  Give more than you get.  Provide value.  Care.  Share.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading.  Cheers!

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Because he can.
Because he does.

And because he has mad Web 2.0, Social Media and interpersonal skills:

Vote For the DirtySouthWine

DirtyGoode 

Looking forward to this wine meets social media in practice study…and how it turns out!

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Yep, another beta tester:  The American Winery widget is working its way into California Wine Life.  While I talk more about the wine industry here and I don’t review wines, I certainly enjoy them with friends, family and co-workers…hey, it’s my job!  So I’m happy to share with you my favorite finds.  Put it this way:  I have access to a different set of people and information.  Yes, that impacts the wine I enjoy and if I can share the fruits of a great winery with you…along with some inside information, isn’t that cool?  AND, you can get the wine fast and easy…

So what do you think about the widget:  Its features, functionality and form?

Other blogger friends trying out the WineCliq: RickBakas.Com and 1WineDude.

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web20logoSo much of the Web 2.0 Expo conversation about Social Media will be obvious to blog readers.  But what is so interesting  and invaluable for long term adoption is that multiple sciences are brought here in this conference to bear out what we have instinctively found: that online/Social Media and Social Networking offers us tremendous value.  Social Media brings us value to our every day lives on a personal level, for example, connecting with our friends on facebook.  Social Media offers us a deep value by connecting us with our families through share sites like flicker or 12Seconds.tv.  And Social Networking offers us immeasurable value professionally and intellectually whether through sites like LinkedIn, Dopplr or blogs that bring like-minded people together for conversation, debate, travel or inspiration.

Seth Godin has famously having dubbed these collectives or groups of people tribes.

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It is fascinating to watch giant corporations like Ford level their full array of resources, people, funding, third party consulting and enough legal freedom to pursue a social media program.  They seem to be doing everything right, even when they make mistakes…because they’ll need the grassroots groundswell of support to survive the current organizational and financial fiasco their industry is going through;  however, I am left with the question that is always a bottom line for any business…”Is the product really that good?”  I know, I know, forgive me!  The Mustang is a classic…and Ford = American business success…perhaps.  But only if they can deliver on all cylinders (I couldn’t resist)…product, conversation, community, service.

Social Media and its place in business is still in its infancy.  But you  are all early adopters and therefore building the structure, creating the atmosphere and guidelines and therefore the climate within which this space develops and thrives.  Another relevant, interesting session was specifically dedicated to the sociology and metrics of “the conversation” called Beyond Buzz: On Measuring a Conversation.  More on that in follow-up.

There is also the  session talking more about the people than anything else:  It’s the People, Stupid, hosted by Debs Schultz and Brian Oberkirch.  They talk about human interaction as being at the very core of this technology and online medium.  While it can be so easy to forget while you are posted at your keyboard that your communication goal is to reach another person, the people who can remember that you are connecting with real people with real needs, feelings, quirkiness, passions and so on…those people will succeed the most in this space.

There will be much more in follow up and conversation I hope.  I’m about at my word limit for a single summary.  But because I’d like to leave you with a smile…enjoy the LolCats…and please post your comments and thoughts.

kitten-is-on-top-of-work

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Clearly I’m pissed…annoyed, perhaps.  Actually embarrassed.  As tweeted earlier today, I took friends, a wine blogger from SF and a Food and Beverage manager from New York (this is all context) on a spontaneous wine tasting day in our beautiful Napa valley.  Sunday morning seems to be one of those days that begs for bubbles.  We headed north to Domaine Chandon.  The rain, the fog, the day was, frankly, stunning.  We arrived at D.C. as the prologue to start our venture into the best of Napa Valley Hospitality.  Or not.

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We entered the store where 3 employees chatted amongst themselves and greeted us before resuming their conversation.  Heading upstairs for the tasting room, we found a place at the bar and tables ready for us.  Fantastic  blood oranges adorned the champagne cocktails as winter life during the mustard festival buzzed on this delicious Sunday noon.  As we chatted about where we’d lunch and visit it was almost 15 minutes of waiting without a single word, glance or acknowledgment,  from anyone working there.  Totally invisible, we looked around, found another place at the bar for about 2 minutes before deciding we were not going to be helped in any way.  Domaine Chandon was clearly too important to care.  With too many choices in the valley we left.  Sadly surprised at this discouraging start, we walked out past the same 3 chatting employees (greeters?) who didn’t say good bye or interrupt their conversation…yet another missed opportunity.

Generally we expect adequate service.  That’s the kind of service you barely notice as it becomes part of your daily routine…basically it is the bare minimum.  Occasionally we get really good or even great service or great hospitality.  When we do get that kind of service, it changes our day.  We talk about it …a lot.  We go back.  We take our friends.  When we get bad service we talk about that too…but it also changes us, or at least it changes our day.  Soured, disappointed,  a hospitality fail is incumbent on every person working there.  From the manager down to the newest tasting room hire, any guest leaving with a bad experience does so because each and every person on that team failed to do their job.

Simply put, we were ignored…for over 15 minutes.  No “hi”, no “welcome” no, “we’ll be right with you”, no nothing.  I would never do that to my friends coming to my home.  Why would any winery let that happen?  We left with me embarrassed by my choice to go to Domaine Chandon and the lack of hospitality here in Napa.  I am so grateful that Elizabeth Spencer (a fabulous tasting room just across from the Rutherford Bar and Grill), and specifically, Vanessa, turned our entire experience around.  With a calm ease and charm, she shared the wines and delightful conversation reminding me that a Sunday with friends in Napa Valley can be a spontaneous joy with just a little hospitality.

I’d recommend anywhere else for bubbles in Napa: both Domaine Carneros and Mumm are less likely to ignore you than Domaine Chandon.  But at Elizabeth Spencer (and at Darioush, Rutherford Bar and Grill and Rubicon Estate) you’ll get at least good service, if not great hospitality.  Customer service is the best marketing, hands down.  For another perspective on the same visit, check out The Luscious Lushes’s Blog, or The Roger Smith Life. It wasn’t just me.

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I’m kind of in my own world here both at my company and in the wine industry, living in social media.  Ok, wait!  Yes, there are a few hands-full of early adopters, bless you!  The wine bloggers, the tech savvy, the curious, the adventurous…you know who you are.  But on average, in the general part of my industry…where I live, we are in the minority.  My point is that the leadership at my company (thank you Bill Leigon, Evelyn Pool) are dedicated to connecting online with wine lovers and allow me to participate, learn and share with you all a great deal.  But that’s not enough.  Within the rest of the company (a couple dozen talented sales reps and admin across the country as well as a winery full of craftsmen & women) I feel compelled to convert the un-initiated at Hahn to a high level of social media participation…to participate somewhere, anywhere online.

btf4

I think it is the essential place to start.  As a brand or company, you can’t go forth and exist online for your brand alone.  Working toward a tipping point within your own company is critical.  Your co-workers may all participate at different levels and perhaps even in different places, but that they ARE participating online is essential.  It is a slow process inviting and training people into the medium, we’re all so busy already.  But, in addition to the presentations I do at every National Meeting, I work to send regular updates, links and direction on participating online whether that is inviting our people to comment on a blog (personal interest OR professional, anywhere is a great place to start), learning about “Twitter in Plain English” or getting them on ICanHasCheeseBurger …whatever it takes.

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We all know from experience that once you get the bug, whether it was from wine, biking, politics or just connecting with your family, you get hooked.  And that is the addiction I am pushing: an electronic connection with others that broadens our social circle and our filter for information.  We all know that amazing things happen when we do that here, on twitter, blogging, on facebook, wherever.  But it takes time.  It can be frustrating.  It can be very slow going….and it must be one of the primary pursuits of any company working to thrive online.  So I approach my co-workers with the suggestion that they pursue what they love to do in real life…and find a place that fits in with that passion online.  Whatever your passions, professional or personal, there are groups, social networks and loads of sites online where you can connect, learn, share and participate with other people who share your passion.  It makes you an essential connector within your company; a powerful brand ambassador, and a socially knowledgable participant in what’s happening right now.  It is another way to get an edge in your own marketability too.  Just make sure you do it right. (And that is in  several other blog posts!)

Now get in there!

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