In April of this year, I made the decision to leave my job at an accounting firm and join Trellis Growth Partners. I had never worked in marketing before, so I was excited to learn about the business and how Trellis provides service to wine, spirits, and fine food companies. Here are three of the most interesting things I have learned so far.
1. Assembling a national media mailer is no easy feat.
One of the first major projects I assisted with was the production of 24 boxes of “Unique Finds from the Northwest,” which would contain a product from each of our Northwest clients.
The goal of a media mailer is to expose a writer to our clients’ products. If they haven’t heard of a client before, they get to experience something new. If they are familiar with the client already, the mailer’s theme puts a fresh spin on it and hopefully inspires the writer to try the wine and review it.
Including your wine in a media mailer can be a great way to reach out to new writers and put a fresh spin on your brand. In our mailer, each item included was paired with a zodiac sign and a food pairing, and we encouraged readers to use it as a year-round gift guide. For example, Kramer Vineyards was for “the bubbly personality,” and we recommended pairing with quiches, fruit tarts, and Ladies’ Night.
We are very excited with the response we’ve received. So far, we have sent boxes to 14 publications, including Chicago Tribune, Chilled Magazine, D Magazine, Forbes, National Geographic, New Jersey Monthly, Sip NW, Sunset, Travel & Leisure, VIA Magazine, and several freelance writers. We’re excited to see what kind of press comes out of this, and might consider making it an annual project.
2. Social media can be a great tool for making connections
Although I have had personal Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts for a while, I’ve never been big on “social sharing.” Before working at Trellis, I had little interest in tweeting witty thoughts or tagging myself and friends at bars or restaurants (I actually deleted my Facebook at one point, and a few of my friends reacted as though I had become insane).
I am now responsible for several clients’ Facebook and Twitter accounts, and though my interest in my personal accounts has not changed, I’ve seen how useful these platforms can be for businesses. By simply responding to something a follower has shared on social media, the company shows that it is paying attention to its customers’ feedback.
For example, on 11/25, Kelsey Ivey tweeted, “I took a bottle of @Stoller Wine 2011 Pinot Noir tonight to a blind tasting and took first place! Love #oregonwine”
Stoller Family Estate instantly favorited, retweeted, and responded, “Love this!” to Kelsey.
Although this may seem like a simple gesture, it shows that Stoller is interested and communicative with what their followers are saying about them. In our social-media fueled society, a brand has to be aware of what is being said about them and be able to respond accordingly. Lacking an active Facebook or Twitter account just doesn’t cut it anymore!
3. Potato chips and sparkling wine is the ultimate after-work treat
In September, I took a food and wine pairing class at the Wine & Spirits Archive with Director Mimi Martin. We paired several fruits, meats, and cheeses with wines from around the world. Everything we tried was delicious, but what stood out to me was Mimi’s own favorite pairing: champagne and potato chips. Sounds unusual, but the crisp, salty chips matched with a dry bubbly is the perfect snack after a long day at the office. If you haven’t taken a class before, I highly recommend it!
Overall, I am so grateful to be working at Trellis and proud of everything we have accomplished this year for the company and for our clients. Currently, we are drafting our annual report, which will detail everything we accomplished for our clients this year. Highlights include nearly 400 press hits, roughly 475 new media connections, and over 1,000 samples sent. Stay tuned for the final report in early January!
Here’s to more challenges and successes in 2014!
-Erin Stutesman, Account Coordinator
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