Tuesday, July 3, 2007

How About a Little Wine with Your Social Marketing?

Social Marketing (also being referred to as "Nomadic Marketing") is quickly becoming the leading edge of Direct Marketing today. Once considered an underground movement, Social Marketing is becoming an important tool for your Direct Marketing strategy. In fact, an up-and-coming wine-maker in South Africa has built his complete direct marketing strategy around Social Marketing.

Stormhoek winery is forecasting sales of an astounding 350,000 cases of wine this year internationally -- up from a measly 10,000 sold locally last year -- and this increase is solidly due to the success of owner Graham Knox's social marketing campaign. The article states that "Knox -- a former advertising whiz -- knew he wouldn't sell wine in an already saturated market by putting pictures of the product on billboards or in magazines. 'Wine is social, people like to talk about wine, so we needed to figure out how to get people talking,' he says. 'Since ancient times word of mouth has been the most powerful means of communication.' "

So what was Knox's strategy? He enlisted the help of Hugh McLeod, who is a cartoonist and also runs the most popular weblog in the UK. He's been called "the most influential blogger in Britain" by the Financial Times. Here's how he did it: "In between designing quirky cartoon-style labels for Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, McLeod began blogging about Stormhoek, realising how easy it could be to create a buzz in cyberspace, which would then translate into profit. He offered a free bottle of wine with a personalised label to the first 100 people in the UK, France and Ireland who would include Stormhoek in their blogs." Brilliant!

Simultaneously, the winery started sponsoring "geek dinners, providing free wine in the hope that people would go home and write about it. They did. The idea spread like a virus and soon Stormhoek was the drink of choice among the smartest, most tech-savvy crowd in the UK."

This initiative created so much success for Knox, that he also applied it to the US market where it has also been very successful.

Interesting, isn't it? Advertising Age included this marketing campaign in its "Top 50 global marketing campaigns last year, along with well known brands such as Toyota, Nike, Microsoft and Apple." So, this is not just the latest Direct Marketing fad. Social Marketing is here to stay.

So, as direct marketers, we need to figure out how to integrate this important tool into our overall marketing strategy. By creating a buzz around our products and services, we can enlist the power of our most loyal customers to more effectively sell them. It's an idea who's time has come and we predict that those who embrace it quickly have the opportunity to reap some great rewards. Consider Knox's answer to the question, " 'Is this the future of marketing? 'Absolutely,' he said. 'It's interactive, it's inexpensive and it has a more potential reach than anything else.' "

So, as you're hoisting your glass of wine to celebrate the 4th of July tomorrow, consider commenting on it! Go find the winemaker's blog or website or go to a wine commentary blog. You'll be on the leading edge of wine drinkers, and directly participating in the success of your favorite bottle of white, red or rose!

Have a Happy 4th of July Holiday! And for those of you outside of the US, have a glass along with us -- then let's blog!

PS Any guesses on what RRW stands for??? Hint: We love wine. If you guess correctly, we'll send you our white paper on Building Loyalty: How to Make Sure They're Drinking Your Brand. Think UB40. : )

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