Success at SoWine2 - "Secrets" to Creating a Great Industry Event

Yesterday I had the honor and pleasure of presenting "Building a Winning Marketing and Sales Plan" to an enthusiastic audience at SOWine 2.  I was impressed by the enthusiasm, energy and attendance at this second annual event held in Central Point targeting Southern Oregon producers.  In fact, my mind is still racing with thoughts about the knowledge gained from thoughtful audience questions and my colleagues' presentations.

A terrific industry event starts with a strong vision and commitment to planning, organization and service.  It follows through with strong presenters and like a good marketing plan, collects feedback and seeks continuous improvement. If its truly impressive, an event like this leaves attendees and presenters alike feeling energized, connected, educated and ready to take action.

Marilyn Hawkins of Hawkins & Company PR, a b2b PR firm based in Ashland, is the visionary behind SOWine and she gets it!  Marilyn created this event to gather and educate Southern Oregon wine producers (she also owns a small winery there) and her abilities as an event organizer are downright impressive.  This year, to enhance her inaugural program, she partnered with the fast-growing Southern Oregon Wine Institute of Umpqua Community College, directed by the equally energetic Chris Lake.

Below are some of the highlights of my notes:

1. Good design is consistent, transferable, and projects extrinsic cues about the brand promise (the marketing value proposition) - Richard Roberts, Palazzo Creative

2. Don't just "build and blast".  Best practice email marketing starts with a goal, list segmentation, and compelling contest. It includes testing and analysis, focuses on deliverability, and is compliant with CAN-SPAM laws. Terry Miller, CRM Group

3. Consider rotating your email signature to include great press quotes about your winery - Sheila Nicholas, Nicholas Communications

4.  Your social media campaign needs to consider that over 80% of millenials sleep with their smart phones (myself included, although depending on what definition you use, I'm more likely a Gen Xer) - Jeffrey Kingman, Chalkboarder

5.  Before you can build a successful marketing plan, you need to know who you are, to whom you're selling, what differentiates you, when and where you will sell and why anyone should care - moi, Trellis Wine Consulting

Unfortunately, I was unable to stay until the very end of the day, so I missed the late afternoon presentations.  Given my experience at the beginning of the day, I'm confident that they were equally as interesting.  This was a couple of days out of the office well worth taking.