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Field Notes from a Wine Life – New York Edition

Odds and ends from a life lived through the prism of the wine glass …

Vino 2011

It has been two years since I’ve been to New York City, a jaunt I like to make at least once a year in order to get my dosage from the city that hooks people like a drug – the energy, the culture, the food, the global village 13.4 miles long and 2.3 miles wide.

The first time I visited, I stayed at a Best Western near Madison Square Garden where I was greeted by a homeless guy sitting Indian style on the sidewalk vomiting in his lap.  If that wasn’t jarring enough, a cockroach acted as my bellhop scurrying in front of me as I walked down the hallway to my room the size of a postage stamp.  15 years hence, the accommodations have gotten better.

As I write this, I’m ensconced in my hotel room at the Waldorf Astoria drinking the 2007 Donkey & Goat Syrah from Fenaughty Vineyard (a fan-freakin-tastic wine, but I’ll bet cab fare to LaGuardia that the wine is on the high end of the 1% latitude producers get from the TTB on alcohol labeling, this one is defined on the label as 14.1% abv). For what it’s worth, I think Lioco and Donkey & Goat are two of the most exciting young producers in California.  And, it should be noted they have much in common from an ethos perspective ...


I’m doing some work, laying plans to visit Eataly, the Italian food emporium, and prepping for the reason I’m here – the Vino 2011 conference that kicks off today, Monday, January 24th. 

You can watch the panel I’ll be speaking on streamed live on Tuesday, January 25th at 2:30 pm EST at the Vino 2011 homepage (link here). Called, “What Emily Post can Teach You About Social Media, Millenial App-titude and Geo-Marketing” the panel deftly combines two wine hot buttons – digital marketing and Millenials; it’s sure to be a packed room.

Tom Wark from Wark Communications and, of course, his blog Fermentation will lead the discussion.  Gregory Dal Piaz from Snooth and several other talented folks will be on the panel, as well.  Full description here.

While I’m looking forward to the panel, I do have to admit that technology and marketing is a tough topic to speak to.  You run the risk of saying something that is totally obvious to one person who might be sitting next to someone for whom your bit of wisdom is received like manna from heaven.  And, of course, the opportunity to completely speak jargon-ese over the head of your audience is an ever-looming threat as well.

I have a number of notes prepared, which I’ll save for the panel discussion, but a point I would like to make here is the wine industry is very guilty of talking about Millenials as if they aren’t in the room, a demographic, a target to aim for as a savior of wine sales.  It’s all very patronizing and kind of counter to the respected inclusion that is a hallmark of the generation.

Instead of laying plans to market to “Millenials” using the nearest, brightest new social media related shiny object, I would urge wine marketers to take a step back and understand two key things:

1) What are the generational high level patterns of technology usage

2) What are the generational high level personality characteristics

The most value I’ve received in gaining insight into this generation, who are very different in sensibility than I am as a Gen. X’er, is not a book on marketing, but a book on generational effectiveness in the workplace – what are the broad generational personality characteristics so as a Manager or a leader you can nurture an effective work environment with young talent?

Secondarily, reviewing high-level survey data on technology usage amongst generations will aid decision-making for places to be and the types of activity to initiate.  To that end, it doesn’t get much better than the Pew Research Center’s Millennial section.

The key in marketing is, in my opinion, not laying plans based on headlines and working in a vacuum, its understanding intrinsic buttons to push.  Once you have that, the marketing plan will nearly write itself.

Here are a couple of recommended resources / books related to technology usage amongst Millenials, as well as effectiveness in the workplace:

- Pew Research Center / Millenial Research
- Managing the Millenials
- Not Everyone Gets a Trophy


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