Monday, April 21, 2008

Social Media Marketing: Working with Wikipedia

As we get more involved with social media, we've learned three very important things:
1) You have to play by the rules
2) You have to know the rules to play by them
3) The rules are always changing

Recognize that Wikipedia is a third party source. That means that it does NOT publish original information, only secondary information tha is referenced or validated by some other first party source. For our clients that means we need to get the trade press to publish what we would like included in Wikipedia and then we can reference it.

Wikipedia should not be looked at as a tool to generate links or traffic. ALL links on wikipedia are rel=”nofollow” meaning they are NOT counted as a link by Google or the other search engines which use links as part of their algorithm. No follow links are internal to the site they’re on.

There is a Wikiproject Food and Drink which is an attempt to build a comprehensive and detailed guide to articles on food and drink on Wikipedia. If you are interested in editing pages related , you need to visit where you can join the project and/or contribute to the discussion

Making Contributions to Wikipedia guidelines:
-Don’t write it yourself
-Don’t directly edit it yourself
-Don’t hide/be anonymous/or use a fake persona
-Start at the talk page, Introduce yourself and identify your affiliation on the talk page and ask for permission to do things
-Make your edits suggestions via the Talk page and let others do the posting

Newbie Mistakes
-Don’t use a promotional username (e.g. with your brand or company name in it)
-Copyright violations/fair use of photos
-Conflict of interest…don’t write about yourself
-Not clearly understanding what defines a neutral point of view.

Use the system to your benefit
by following the rules and participating.
-Let your audience do the marketing
-Content spreads virally because of open copyrights
-Participating can build your reputation
-Things learned on Wikipedia can be applied elsewhere
-Become a part of community/forum, answer questions, interact with editor, donate images, report problems, building goodwill and obey social norms
-Do not badmouth competitors and withdraw from personal attacking.
-Only secondary knowledge can be posted (has to be published somewhere else before going on Wikipedia) and info has to be referenced
Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wine E-commerce

In spite of the recent Costco et al. verdicts, e-commerce’s time is coming in the industry. As many of you know I’ve been a passionate advocate of DOING SOMETHING NOW rather than waiting for the perfect solution to magically appear sometime in the hazy future. That said, Mike Roth of Beverage Media and I had a very interesting conversation on the subject and I’m even more convinced that their network of retailer websites is the place to start. Following the philosophy of "Get the Free Stuff First" and "Use Other People’s Money" it is really a no-brainer. It’s an existing network of ecommerce solutions to add value to the BevMedia database in NY, NJ, MA, CT and several other states. The brilliance lies in the fact that to begin the process, all a supplier has to do is provide the content (and hey, they say Content is King right?...more on that later), and the retailer can sell out of the distributors' virtual inventory. It’s the “Long Tail” concept served up to suppliers with the vision to recognize the opportunities ecommerce has to to address the inequities of the US three-tier system for smaller, poorly distributed brands. To that end I had some great conversations (well, I talked they listened, does that still count as a conversation?) with a couple of producers…Yanni Papagiannis from Fantis Foods Inc, one of the major Greek Wine importers (Tsantali et al wines), a perplexed but interested group of wineries exhibiting under the aegis of the Madrid Chamber of Commerce . Sphere: Related Content

Be Part of the Conversation

We’ve heard a lot of people repeat the Web 2.0 cliché that “Content is King”. But the new thinking is that Content is not King, Context is. The internet has evolved in stages over the last 10 years from “Surf” to “Search” to “Find” and now the challenge is to “Filter”. We can get a massive amount of relevant information in a nanosecond…Great…now how do I winnow out of that only the information I need?

That’s why BAT is working so diligently on developing our Social Marketing capabilities. Our client brands’ consumers are seeking out and talking with others of like minds…in blogs, in newsgroups, through RSS feeds, community tagging tools such as Digg and, social networking sites like Facebook and more. These are the places people are going (those people?..they’re us!) because we’re learning that we no longer need or are limited to looking to published authorities for guidance, but are finding more relevant and trustworthy information knowledgeable peers (think Wine Spectator being dethroned by Gary Vaynerchuk at Wine Library TV)

So here’s the message marketers in this brave new world need to get…Be Part of the Conversation…With or without you, the conversation is taking place. The choice then is to participate and help shape it, or ignore it and let it shape you. Sphere: Related Content

WSWA musings: On the "liquor guy look"

Have you ever noticed that liquor guys look different from everyone else…even without the badges we seem to stand out, maybe it’s the slicked back hair, tan faces, $3,000 suits and a penchant for “shooting the cuffs”…well, I’m just sayin’… Sphere: Related Content

“This Guy Told Me He’s Best Friends with Harvey Chaplin and he can get me…”

Many of the newbie foreign suppliers we saw at WSWA seem to sing this same song to us on our first meeting. They’ve met some random guy trying to sell them on the guys’ relationship with Harvey Chaplin (or John Magliocco or Vern Underwood or…) He promises to not only get a meeting, but imply that it means Southern is not only going to take on the brand, but also focus the entire 30 state operation on developing the brand for you, (even though it might be a direct competitor to the bread and butter brands from the big boys).

Well, in spite of the WSWA’s public rhetoric to the contrary, distributors do not build brands; it’s the suppliers’ responsibility to do that. And the only sure way I know to get the attention of one of the major distributors is do something Marty Wolinsky and Dave Eickholt used to pound into my head: Focus, Focus, Focus. And in today’s Bev Alc industry, that means: start small and targeted, concentrate your investment and energy in a few markets, and build sustainable, repeatable, noticeable and measurable success founded on retailer support and consumer pull. THEN you can go to a distributor and present a fully integrated support program that’s scaleable. The key is to demonstrate that you have done it, not that you’re going to do it. Sphere: Related Content

WSWA observations: Don't Paint the States

I guess we owe an acknowledgement (or perhaps an apology) to Ron Lepow of Glazer’s. He used the metaphor of offshore suppliers thinking they can just “paint the states” at the US Drinks Conference in London last year, and evidently it really struck a chord…so much so that he told me he keeps hearing it come back to him third and fourth hand. By Don’t Paint the States he means don’t look at the US Bev Alc market as one market; it is really 51 different markets (don’t forget Montgomery County). One strategy will not fit all but it is a pretty good recipe for failure.

New suppliers trying to get in to the U.S. market need to recognize it’s far different than the EU. In fact our friends from the former Soviet Union countries tell us the US market is more complicated to navigate than the Communist bureaucracy, but they could at least manage their way through it with “gifts”. Sphere: Related Content

More on Absinthe

There was only one Absinthe exhibited at the WSWA show (Mythe) and we were quite surprised at the dominance of licorice in the flavor profile. The folks there told us that the category is being consumed not only with the two rituals, but also as shots, mixed with Red Bull, and a depth charge in beer (A-Bomb). I think we’re gonna see this new generation of absinthe drinkers take ownership of the category in ways even our most creative mixologist friends like Robert Plotkin, Tony Abou-Ganim and Brian Van Flandern can’t even imagine. Ah, to be young again! But seriously folks, I think we’re going to find better acceptance of the authentic “Bohemian” style. It’s inherently more mixable because it doesn’t hit you in the nose with a 2 x 4 of licorice flavor. Sphere: Related Content

MHW is a New Products Juggernaut

Even thought we work with John Beaudette on a number of products I never really appreciated the range and scope of the new products with which MHW works. From historic brands like Combier’s Triple Sec (wow, was that stuff good!?) to creative new concepts like Kai, a lychee flavored vodka from Vietnam, he’s put together a portfolio that really demonstrates that the future of new brand development is with the little guys. John, I think it’s time for you to get a bigger table in MHW’s conference room. Sphere: Related Content