When I first started working for Stormhoek, I started marketing it via the blogosphere i.e. sending out samples of the wine to other bloggers in the UK, Ireland and France. It worked well. Later, when we launched in the USA, we started sponsoring geek dinners. That too worked well. Very, very well, actually.
So why Twitter?
No, it's not because Twitter is the hot new Web 2.0 app of the moment [Some people would argue that it most definitely isn't]. It's something more fundamental than that. Something to do with what I call "Micromarketing".
Stormhoek has sponsored a few hundred geek dinners over the last two years. The smallest were just a handful of people. The largest was the now-legendary Techcrunch party in Silicon Valley.
Techcrunch's Mike Arrington is a good friend of both me and Stormhoek. His is probably the only large event we'll keep sponsoring from now on.
Why? Because frankly, we find the smaller the event, the more we seem to get out of it. Having personally attended many of the parties, both large and small, I've seen this in action. When we sponsor large parties, nobody notices, talks about, or remembers the name of the wine that was served that evening. With smaller parties, the opposite is true. People seem truly appreciative that a commercial wine business would go to all that trouble, just to reach out to so relatively few people. But why not? From trying to connect with people on a much more intimate and human level, we have far more stable and stronger building blocks to create a community around our brand.
As opposed to the other extreme. London, the town I live in, is awash with parties sponsored by large wine and spirit brands. We've all been to them- probably far more than we'd care to admit. Usually held in large, impersonal downtown nightclubs, the venue teeming with random hangers-on and wannabe's, all waiting for the celebs to show up, all trying to be heard above the din, all trying to get laid, all trying to get drunk, all trying to quickly make some useful business contacts. Total meat markets. In spite of all the time, money, effort and PR thrown at them, for the most part, they're just not that fun, interesting or memorable.
So here am I thinking, maybe it's a good thing that we instead decided to aim for the other extreme. "Push the Edges" in the complete opposite direction. Instead of large, paparazzi-infested events, we'd send some wine over to, for example, a small group of six or seven geeks in a small town in Wales, who are having a small dinner party at one of their houses. Why not? Exactly.
So that's exactly what we are doing. The aforementioned small dinner party in Wales is going to be the first event that we're going to be sponsoring, once the new bottles arrive in the UK towards the end of this month.
i.e. Everybody is sponsoring the big mega-events, with the disconcertingly faint hope of scoring Mainstream-Media pickup. Instead we're going for the opposite extreme. Micromarketing. Micromarketing on Micromedia.
[UPDATE: The standard schpiel on the Stormhoek Twitter UK Promo: I've been allowed to send sample Stormhoek bottles with the new labels to anybody who wants one. The deal is, you have to be UK-based, of legal drinking age, and on Twitter. And as always, no, you don't have to blog or twitter about it if you don't feel like it. Please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping address, if you're interested, Thanks. Rock on.]
Posted by hugh macleod at November 15, 2007 9:55 PM