July 15, 2008 | WineDirect Admin
This past Friday we hosted our annual Direct Symposium at COPIA in downtown Napa. This was our 5th year hosting the event, and the turnout was strong, with an energetic and engaging list of speakers on the agenda.
Our theme for this years’ Symposium was Innovations for Today’s Wine Marketplace. Ted Jansen, Inertia’s President & CEO, opened up the day with a thought-provoking talk on the concept of “Accidental Innovation”.
Following Ted was Gary Vaynerchuk, of WineLibraryTV fame. For those unfamiliar with Gary and his energetic style, visit his site… you’re sure to be entertained!
Breakout sessions followed the keynotes – and this year we tried something a little different. We asked attendees to vote on their topic of interest. Based on those results, we lined up the following breakout sessions and speakers:
Direct Shipping Compliance
Speakers Matt Mann, Mike Brown and Sheri Hebbeln of Inertia took the audience through the basics of compliance management and how a topic which appears on the surface to be overly complex and confusing, can actually be simple; especially with the right tools to help manage. Compliance is a necessary endeavor for anyone engaged in Direct Shipping in the U.S.; Inertia’s FREE REThink Compliance tool was designed to provide a solution to help ease the burden of managing a winery’s compliance needs. The audience was walked through REthink Compliance, and lots of conversation was sparked.
Inertia’s Carole Loomis and Angela Sanchez led a session on ways to manage and optimize a website for greatest sales. With this years’ holiday season just around the corner, they led participants in a discussion on preparing for OND (October November December).
Marketing Through Online Social Networks
One of the more popular sessions was led by Joel Vincent (Open Wine Constortium) and Gary Vaynerchuk (WineLibraryTV). Paul Mabray sat in on the session, as well, during an extensive question & answer period. The audience – and speakers! – were in no rush to head out for the lunch break, diving into questions on everything from how to engage in social media, through to whether or not there is a place for PR management in the social space.
Selling Direct to Trade
Andrea Johnston of Inertia, moderated a session on the nuances of selling direct to the trade across the U.S. A line up of panelists contributed input from various perspectives; John Hinman, from Hinman & Carmichael, Gillett Johnson, with International Vines, Inc., Cristin “Moxy” Castro from Impressa, and Mitch Schwartz, VP of Sales for Inertia. Conversations touched on everything from how best to engage with, and sell to, the trade, to leveraging Inertia’s Direct-to-Trade program to legally and effectively open new markets and engage with new customers.
Tom Wark, of Fermentation, Wark Communications and Specialty Wine Retailers fame, led a very popular session on Wine Blogging. On the heels of the morning session in which Gary V. expounded on the need for all attendees to get into the blogging habit, lots of attendees packed into this session to get more information on how and why. Panelists included Mike Duffy, of the Winery Website Report, Julie Ann Kodmur and Deb Harkness, of Good Wine Under $20.
Four speakers brought perspectives on website design to their audience; Ben Chinn of Inertia, Aaron Rutledge & Tom Ajello of POKE/NY, and Dom Moreci of Plumbline Studios. Attendees learned how to design their websites for best user experience, and ultimately the greatest sales.
Finally, John Hinman wrapped up the day with his Keynote speech on how a dynamic wine marketplace in which consolidation is occurring in nearly all aspects of our industry, is creating a snowball effect for which it’s time to decide whether you batten down or ride the wave.
A special thank you to all of our sponsors:
Platinum Sponsors: Wine Tasting Network & Copper Peak Logistics.
Gold Sponsor: Card in the Box
Silver Sponsors: Wark Communications, Open Wine Consortium, Plug n’ Pay, POS Resources, & Payment Logistics, LLC
Thank you as well to all those who attended. Your participation and engagement in lively conversation with the speakers was appreciated by all. We look forward to seeing you all again next year – in the meantime, Inertia is continuing to expand on the workshops and training sessions that we hold throughout the year. If there are topics you are most interested in discussing, or speakers you’re interested in hearing from, let us know. Contact us at email@example.com.