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Talking to your consumers in 2010: Miss Bouquet.

Published:  14 December, 2009

We're all riding a bit of a rough wave at the moment which is both good and bad.

We're all riding a bit of a rough wave at the moment which is both good and bad.

It's good because it means we're forced to look at new and innovative ways of working and it's bad because as a trade we're seriously stuck in our ways.

So last week when I heard Gary Vaynerchuk, the fastest rising star in the wine world, was coming to London I had to go and hear him speak. He was over here launching his new book "Why now is the time to Crush it! Cash in on your passion" or "Crush It!" for short. If you haven't heard of him, where have you been? And if you have heard of him where were you?

Gary is a small American with a big voice, he's made it big time from his visionary website reviewing wines in real time to an ever increasing audience.

His approach can be brash, perhaps too much so for the UK wine trade judging from the lack of you in attendance! In a heaving basement of a city pub, I counted four people from the 100 or so squished in there to be from the wine trade.

You may argue that Gary is more than just a wine guy, he's a born entrepreneur. Fine, but he's a wine guy at heart and he's worth listening to. Get your marketing people following him on Twitter - for a small guy he's got a lot to say and you may pick up a few nuggets of inspiration to help you hit the new decade running.

The event itself was badly put together: too many tickets sold and not enough space. Gary was losing his voice and he had no mic for the first 15 minutes. For what was pitched as a 6pm - 9pm event the man only spoke for 45 minutes and that included a q&a.

Luckily though what he did have to say was short and sweet in a neat @garyvee kind of way. Namely, you need to remember two things for success in 2010: consumer expectation and word of mouth.

The two are inextricably linked and will be ignored at your peril. "Word of mouth is on steroids" so failure to manage your consumers' expectations will not stay between the two of you for long, he warned. One bad review on a forum somewhere and you've not lost one customer, you've lost ones you never knew you could have.

Your consumer's experience is entirely in your hands. They expect a lot and you need to give it to them, manage their expectations with care and you will reap the benefits that good word of mouth can bring.

Never forget that the power of the internet will only get stronger. "It's only just in its
teens, it hasn't even had sex yet!", said Gary, so imagine what it will be capable of in five years time when it's all grown-up and has it's first glass of wine! Miss Bouquet is a London based wine blogger and columnist to The Notebook, Kensington & Chelsea. She has worked in the wine trade for eight years.