The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk

I just finished Gary Vee’s new book The Thank You Economy and I have to say he’s done it again.

He’s been the most visible and productive advocate of using social media for marketing in the wine industry, and has demonstrated in the promos for this book that he’s not lacking for innovative new ideas for book promotion as well.

Here’s some excerpts from his in-your-face, straight-talking, get-out-of-your-chair-and-do-this manifesto of modern marketing.

“People can spell bullshit even across an oil slicked Gulf”

“Social media is not media, or even a platform, it’s a massive cultural shift.”

“If you’ve already experimented with social media and it didn’t work, there are only two possible reasons: your product or service isn’t any good, or you’re doing it wrong.” (great line, but I’d add a third or maybe a corollary for both…you don’t have clear objectives)

“It’s not the number of followers you have or “likes” you get, it’s the strength of your bond with your followers that indicates how much anyone cares about what you have to say.”

Right on bro’! We’ve been carrying that flag for a while now…Facebook fans and Twitter follower numbers are nice, but it’s the depth of the engagement that we’re interested in. We’ve created a proprietary tool to measure engagement level across social media platforms and that tells us more about how we’re doing than likes or followers. Combine that with social media monitoring tools like Sysomos and you’ve got some powerful real-time, behavior-based market research.

“Intent Matters”

You said it Gary. The better you can intuit intent, the more likely you are to delight customers. That’s why social media monitoring and tools like the engagement index are so important to us. They help us understand why people feel compelled to converse with us, so we can respond with more content of value to both of us.


Drinking St. Patrick's Day Style

I'm not Irish. But it sure is fun to pretend to be for a day once a year! That's why today I'm offering up a variety of drinks of both the beer and spirit persuasion that are ample to serve up this St. Patrick's Day.

Don't be surprised that the thing called "green beer" is not included on the list. There is always a time and place for something kitschy such as green beer, but I know you guys have it in ya to step up your game! Try any of these great drinks as a different and more creative approach to celebrating St. Patty's and let me know what becomes your new stand-in. :)
  1. Irish Coffee - The best part of waking up on St. Patty's is with a dram of Jameson (not Folgers!) in your cup. I enjoy this recipe from Imbibe as a go-to Irish Coffee.
  2. Black Velvet - Have some Guinness on hand? Rather than just downing a pint, why not consider adding a bit of fizz to your glass? The Black and Velvet I experimented with earlier in the year is a nice alternative to drinking Guinness on St. Patty's. You can also read Paul Clarke's take on the drink here.
  3. Irish Appletini - Offering a sweeter edge, the Irish Appletini (pictured at top) is a great cocktail to switch up the heavy beer-oriented focus for St. Patrick's Day. With a touch of effervescence at the end, this drink is refreshing and takes the heat off the Jameson whiskey.
Irish Appletini
2 parts Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 part Hiram Walker Sour Apple Schnapps
Top with Ginger Ale

Shake whiskey and schnapps in a shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass. Top with ginger ale and garnish with a green apple slice.

Saving the best for last is the Pickleback. Never heard of one? You're in for a treat. The drink itself is notoriously simple. The Pickleback consists of one shot of Jameson followed by a pickle juice chaser. While its origins are unknown, the Pickleback can now be ordered in cocktail bars throughout the country. Slightly sweet, slightly salty, the Pickleback is surely one to try this St. Patty's Day.

Any other St. Patrick's Day rituals that you drink (or eat, for that matter) today? I'd love to hear your feedback, as always!



You Gotta buy this Book!

Kudos to author Greg Dicum and the folks at ClearGrape, Shelley Alger and Tim Childs for publishing a fabulous new book on Pisco titled "The Pisco Book". (It's available for sale at Amazon.com, but hurry, there are only 18 copies left!)

Folks, this is the new definitive source on the subject of Pisco. Whether you're in the cocktail community or just love a good story, you'll enjoy this read. If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a falca and an alembique, where the name Pisco really came from, or the Peruvian/Japanese origins of ceviche, you’ll find the answers here.

In our travels around the country to mixology bars and conversations with bartenders, cocktail writers and aficionados, we’re seeing the nascence of an emerging trend. People are looking for something new and different from vodka, tequila and rum. And Pisco clearly (no pun intended) fills the bill.

There are some great Pisco recipes in the book, several created and contributed by Pisco Maestro Johnny Schuler, Jim Meehan of PDT, Dus Dushan Zarick of Macao Trading Co. and a few that are on our “we gotta try these next” list.


U.S. Drinks Conference Expands Educational Offerings at WSWA

For anyone who will be attending the annual WSWA Convention & Exposition in April, we look forward to seeing you at this new educational track offering brought to you by the U.S. Drinks Conference. You can read more about USDC as well on Steve Raye's BATChat blog, where he recapped much of the 2010 conference, or by reading the press release below. Cheers!

Partnership Launched to Expand Educational Offerings at WSWA Convention & Exposition

U.S. Drinks Conference focuses on providing WSWA attendees with practical information to be successful in the U.S. beverage alcohol market.

Washington D.C. (March 8, 2011)—The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) has incorporated a newly expanded educational track to its upcoming 68th Annual Convention & Exposition April 10-13, 2011, in Orlando. The U.S. Drinks Conference (USDC), established in 2007 by Brand Action Team, MHW, Ltd., and Next Level Marketing, will be coordinating the business-related programs at this year’s convention. In 2012, USDC in its entirety will be co-located with WSWA at their convention in Las Vegas.

The USDC has established a reputation for providing practical information that suppliers and distributors can use to introduce and grow brands in the U.S. market. The four programs that USDC will host are slated to feature industry experts and veteran influencers offering key takeaways that attending wholesalers and wine and spirit suppliers can put to work right away.

Sessions will be offered on Tuesday, April 12 from 12:30 - 4:30 p.m. in a multi-track format and will include:

· Social Media as a Marketing Tool

Attendees will hear a panel discuss how suppliers and on- and off-premise wholesalers are leveraging social media to make sales happen.

· How Brand Ambassadors Can Add Value

Suppliers may be paying for them, however, distributors can also benefit from the power of this dynamic resource to engage consumers at the point of purchase.

· Brand Builders: Case Histories of Successful Brand Launches, Expansions and Initiatives

Tune in for a summary “distillation” of the latest industry trends, from the retail, on- and off-premise and consumer perspective.

· Navigating Brand Entry: Understanding the Three-tier system.

Perfect for attendees who are new to market, this seminar will cover the basics of control versus open states and how to navigate the complexities of the unique three-tier system.

“Aligning our convention with WSWA allows us to reach a much broader audience,” said Steve Raye, Managing Partner of Avon, CT-based Brand Action Team, one of the organizers the USDC. “WSWA attracts 2,000 attendees; people who most benefit from the type of information that we provide at the USDC, along with those people implementing practical information on the front lines.”

“We are thrilled to collaborate with USDC to bring added value and commercial substance to our convention program,” WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf said. “Our goal is to continuously improve the convention and introduce new and interesting elements for the attendees, and the business-related sessions offered this year do just that,” Wolf added.

The partnership between WSWA and USDC efficiently brings new elements to the traditional WSWA convention programming. Noted Raye, “Our partners in USDC, John Beaudette, Mike Ginley and Jeff Grindrod, all agree that there is a tremendous need to provide practical information that wholesalers and suppliers can use to increase sales and margins in this rapidly changing marketplace.”

Raye concluded, “Attendees have the opportunities offered by being at the WSWA convention and, simultaneously, have access to the information from USDC. They fit together very nicely.”

WSWA has also established a special one-day fee of $325 for individuals who want to attend the sessions, but are not able to attend the entire convention. Visit www.wswa2011.org for registration information.


Promo for "Promo Power"

Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to share with you an article that appeared in this week's Nightclub & Bar "Promo Power" newsletter.

Working with wine, spirits and beer brands, one of the things we have noticed over time is the frequency of which brands are beleaguered with requests to sponsor events, either by donating time, space, booze, swag, or - the promoter's favorite - cash. However, many brands do not realize just how much negotiating power they can have.

In this Promo Power piece (boy, try saying that five times fast!), I highlight a few key arrangements a brand can negotiate when determining whether to participate in an event, sponsorship or promotion. The list does not end here though. There are many more on-site branding opportunities and preemptive questions to answer (How many weeks do you have to prepare? Amount of product needed? Anticipated results?) that can be negotiated for to find the right event for you. Please give the article a read and share with me your thoughts.

In other somewhat related news, I also thought to inform you that NCB's annual Convention and Trade Show is just three days away - being held March 7-9 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Between the exhibition floor, concerts and parties at Vegas' hot spots, mixologist competitions, and a craft brewers pavillion, it seems there will be a ton of action across The Strip. Those of you attending, please have a drink for me! :)