Last week was a big week in the social media wine nerd landscape. If you run a marketing campaign using social media, you know the first word out of your client’s mouth is, “seriously, what’s the ROI in this?” As my pal, Paul Mabray, repeats like a mantra when it comes to this question, “there is only one absolute truth. There is always ROI when talking to your customers.”
The founder of VinTank, a Napa-based wine industry digital think tank, Paul is one of the busiest guys I know. No really – he is crazy busy. Four kids (including a newborn), speaking engagements and a budding start-up. Most of our conversations take place while he is in transit, talking over the unmistakable hum of traffic, or via text (likely while he is at a stop light or changing a diaper), so it didn’t necessarily surprise me when he sent through a brief and slightly mysterious text about the big news he was about to share. Paul is a larger than life kind of guy, but this particular text had more exclamation points than usual, so I knew the news had to match.
It turns out, he was right. It was big news…well, for anyone in the business of selling or promoting wine anyway. VinTank and Vin65, a Canadian wine e-commerce provider and subsidiary of Napa-based WineDirect, have teamed up to integrate their social and e-commerce data, with VinTank providing the former and Vin65 the latter. As reported in the North Bay Business Journal, “that means managers of social media for wine brands can understand the lifetime value of the people they’re interacting with, and e-commerce managers can see all social media posts related to a brand, the companies said.” Put simply, wine businesses can now manage their client relationships and sales more closely to see direct return on investment from social media engagement (e.g., Facebook fans spend 20% more than non-Facebook fans). Well, that’s pretty darn exciting.
Even more amazingly, Paul tells me that Vin65 is essentially “donating $1,800 per year of [VinTank’s] software to 700+ of their clients to the equivalent of $1,300,000” to show customer appreciation and expand their offering. It’s a two way integration, so VinTank customers will also be able to view Vin65’s e-commerce data, including contact info, lifetime value and club memberships. As for the customer, this data sharing allows the business to improve its offering and more closely meet its customers’ needs. In essence, they will become better listeners. Paul likes to say, “in a world of infinite wine selection, the only differentiator is service.” With this partnership, it seems everyone will be happy.
Next up from VinTank is an iPhone app that will allow wineries to manage social conversations on the go. How convenient. Plus, VinTank is slowly getting into the restaurant side of the business, so sommeliers and wine directors, keep an eye out.