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July 24, 2007 | Resources and Tools | WineDirect Admin

The Best $2.10 You Can Spend

Some people like to know what time it is. Others want to know how and why the watch works. If you want to know how the watch works in regards to the Internet and the use of technology for your DIRECT sales, read on.

Last week many readers of this blog went to the Wine Industry and Technology Symposium (WITS) and received a cathartic, technology-centric kick in the pants. Gary Vaynerchuk, a keynote speaker, noted in his remarks, (highlighted from the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat):

The wine industry is missing a huge opportunity to forge deeper relationships with consumers using new technologies such as Web videos and wine blogs.

That was the blunt message delivered to wine industry executives in Napa on Tuesday by a young, outspoken New Jersey wine retailer who said the industry needs to embrace change or die.

“Ninety-nine percent of the people in the wine business are really blowing it,” said Gary Vaynerchuk, director of operations for the WineLibrary, a Springfield, N.J. wine store with a popular interactive Web site.

Citing blogs specifically as a customer acquisition tool, Gary Vaynerchuk, as noted in a recent Inertia blog post, is something of an Internet sensation with his video blog and Josh Hermsmeyer, owner of Capozzi Family Winery and the blog Pinotblogger.com is building his wine business before releasing a single bottle of vino. Hermsmeyer gave a presentation on the power of blogging for wineries at WITS. His presentation is posted at his site, found here.

The best $2.10 you can buy if you’re interested in getting a high-level understanding of all of this Internet/community/blogging stuff is a series of 95 theses written in 1999 and posted on the Internet before being born in book form in 2000. The Seminal book, “The Cluetrain Manifesto” is as good of a primer as any that I can think of to help somebody make sense of some of the large, seismic dynamics that are taking place in the Internet space, a space you are presumably participating in or considering by developing, executing and continuing to enhance your DIRECT business. The preface of the books is:

The Cluetrain Manifesto is a set of 95 theses organised and put forward as a manifesto, or call to action, for all businesses operating within what is suggested to be a newly-connected marketplace. The ideas put forward within the manifesto aim to examine the impact of the Internet on both markets (consumers) and organisations. In addition, as both consumers and organisations are able to utilise the Internet and Intranets to establish a previously unavailable level of communication both within and between these two groups, the manifesto suggests that the changes that will be required from organisations as they respond to the new marketplace environment.

Some of the “theses” of the book are downright Nostradamus-like. When the book first came out, it was heralded and then dismissed as a part of the collateral damage that occurred with the downturn in the economy. Now, these simple maxims, some seven years later, couldn’t be more on target, correct and downright visionary, especially since they were released in the pre-blog era. A couple of examples:

* The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.

* Companies that don’t realize their markets are now networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined in conversation are missing their best opportunity.

* Companies can now communicate with their markets directly. If they blow it, it could be their last chance.

Go to Amazon.com, search for “Cluetrain Manifesto” and buy the book used for a couple of bucks. For $2.10 you can barely buy a cup of coffee and I guarantee this book will have a more lasting impact than a Venti with cream and four sugars.

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