June 12, 2013

VinTank Evolution

Today marks a major evolution for VinTank.  First and foremost we are releasing our biggest and best version of VinTank as we speak: version 3.0.  However, this is a soft launch so we are only rolling it out to select customers. This release represents the culmination of our philosophy on how we view social media for businesses. Built from the ground up, we have analyzed millions of social media conversations, profiled millions of social wine customers, and our conclusions are these:

The customer is the center of the universe, not the conversation.  Everything you see today and going forward will be about helping you better understand your social customers and their value to your business.

The world is about context, context, context.  Just ask Robert Scoble and Shel Israel and read their upcoming book, The Age of Context.  We agree and we think they agree with us too.

The magical three.  The three most important ways you interact with your customers are when they talk about you, when they talk to you, and when they talk with you. So we’ve added management features to cover all three of these scenarios.

Social media can be overwhelming and is only growing more complex. Our job as a software company is to make it easier. So we have consolidated every one of the three categories (about you, to you, with you) and made them one conversation stream. As a result account managers can spend significantly less time scrolling through columns or social logins and more time engaging and creating content.

The foundation behind what we do is context. Managing social media accounts today means customers on multiple social networks and mentions coming from every direction. By using the new VinTank you will discover the layers of context behind each and every customer. These layers have always been there and they have been trying to tell you a story. The story begins with how many times have they talked to you, with you, about you. From there it goes deeper; are they an e-commerce customer or a wine-club member (through our exclusive integration with Vin65.com), or are they in one of your important customer segments (press, trade, business development, etc).

Customer touch point measurement.  How many times they have liked, commented, shared or checked-in and what does value does that represent? What their interests are and every conversation you have had with them in one place. No more guessing on the importance of each interaction. New customers should be welcomed, repeat customers and advocates should be celebrated. All of this and more can be done right from our new software.

Social CRM should not be a contact management system.  Too many social CRM systems look through the lens of a salesperson vs. how do you scale relationship management for your entire company’s customers and make it accessible across the organization.  Our Board of Advisor, Michael Brito leads the world in his concepts on a social business and we have worked hard to align our software to enable your entire company to manage social media and engage with your customers.

Location, location location. No we’re not talking about real estate, we are talking about your social customers, people who talk about your product, and customers who are at your location right now. Our Nearby feature brings this information to you so you can take advantage of some of your most important customers, those who are at or near your locations. See what posts are being made at your location, who is nearby your location that talk about your product and see where customers most often go after leaving your location. For our Elite clients you will also be able to see people who are within our Napa geo fence (soon Sonoma and more) and invite them to your location.

Organic conversations. Though the organization of the three most important social media interactions are covered by VinTank, we know that interacting with customers when they talk about things other than your brand is also important. As such we’ve decided to enable any platform to leverage organic conversations starting with Twitter. The new VinTank integrates with Twitter lists so that you can leverage tools like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, and others to synchronize customers between both platforms. Once you connect a Twitter list to VinTank, any user that you add/remove from the list in Twitter will be automatically added to the linked VinTank segment and vice versa.

ROI, by connecting commerce to social. We believe there is ALWAYS ROI IN TALKING TO YOUR CUSTOMER. Though the definition of customer has changed with social media we also understand that DTC business is the purest form of customers. As such we have an exclusive integration with Vin65 to connect your DTC customers with your social customers. It WILL get better and better but always the possibilities of understanding how social ties to DTC ROI are becoming limitless.

VinTank Now Supports Napa Restaurants

We have now expanded to the restaurant industry.  Why you ask?  Because we think there are key synergies between the two hospitality industries that can bring even more power and features to both types of businesses.  This is also very important as we work harder to map the locations that represent people coming to wine country so we can better help you connect with NEW customers (as mentioned in the recent Forbes article about VinTank).  Currently we are only accepting Napa restaurants now but will be expanding to Healdsburg, Sonoma, New York and San Francisco in November.  If you are a restaurant in any of these cities that wants to be on our early release list, just send us a message.

We like to get Software in the Hands of Users

VinTank Version 3 is going through a closed beta with a limited set of our customers being upgraded.  The software is so good we wanted them to have it in their hands ASAP.  Over the next month we will be adding features, tightening up bugs and improving the user experience.  We also have quite a few press announcements that we can’t wait to share.  At that point we will upgrade all of our PAYING customers.  Soon after we will upgrade all our free customers to the new VinTank.

It Takes a Team of Superheroes To Make Software this Good

We have done so much work but lots of what we’ve built wouldn’t be possible without key partners.  Here are three companies that made this launch so amazing.

We need to thank our new partnership with Vin65.com/WineDirect.com.  They were early to understand that by putting together customer transaction data with social data we could create a new path of customer understanding and service. We have just begun this journey together but the leadership and innovative thinking of Joe Waechter, Andrew Kamphuis and Sheri Hebbeln are opening all kinds of possibilities how to increase ROI with social media and scale customer relationship management.

There are some people who can map complex ideas into beautiful design and experiences.  Marci and Aaron‘s company Little Arrows specializes in all kinds of digital strategy but is amazing at user experience (aka UEX).  Through hours of conversations they helped us coalesce all of our four years into the new way VinTank will power your business (and we’ve only scratched the surface).

Finally, putting together an amazing product is worthless unless you can tell your story. Stephen Mutch and SimplyPlatformed rebuilt our company website www.VinTank.com (and with responsive design no less).  He is one of the valley’s best web service providers and made the relaunch of our site say what we do and do what we say.  If you are looking for digital design work at a fair price, he’s your guy.

So without further ado, we want to begin to welcome you to the new world of social media powered by VinTank.

  • Congrats Paul, James and team. V3 brings a larger vision, scope; new challenges and [soon] many more successes. Let me know if I can assist in any way!

  • Anonymous

    It is wicked cool to hear of your expansion to the restaurant industry. It is a very good move that I expect will prove successful. Best of luck with the soft launch. ~Pamela

  • @StevePalmer73:disqus and @enobytes:disqus, we have worked so hard to make this a reality and it is our best work yet and it is thanks to your great support that inspires us to do better. Wait till you see what we do next.

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