Naked Wines – A master class in CRM and customer relations


Have you heard of Naked Wines? Do you like wine? Then you should check it out In our industry we talk a lot about customer engagement and CRM / social media usage and often talk about AMEX or Starbucks as the benchmark. There is one company that in my experience has blown them all away, I mean really stand out and that is Naked Wines.

Basically Naked Wines invests in new wine makers, start ups of the wine industry and you are encouraged to invest, the investment is small scale, could be £20 a month for example. This money is then ploughed back into the start ups via your purchases. As you purchase you receive 33% cash back to spend again. There is then an amazing site that allows you to rate and share and see what others are drinking, liking etc. When you do buy some wine, it comes with a personalised message from the wine maker on the label which is a nice touch.

As with Amazon they keep track of what you like and don’t like and make suggestions for you etc for future purchases. This is all good but it is not all of this that has taken me, it has been the amazing contact strategy.

After a few standard emails from them telling me what money I have in the account I then receive an email entitled ‘FW That thing I was telling you about’ you open it up to find Naked Wines have forwarded an email from a winemaker offering a chance to Angel investors to buy a one off. Naked Wine email starts with ‘this is what I love about my job’. It is all a fantastic tone, it draws you in.

As it happens I did not take this offer and a little while later I receive an email entitled ‘Have I offended you?’ This is the text:

Dear Marco

I am baffled.

Every month I tell you about the free bottle of wine that you have earned..and every month you ignore it. It is not a trick, it is your reward for being a loyal investor.

If you are too busy to faff about mixing a case to get your free bottle then I have a solution. (goes on to explain solution)

If there is some other problem then please tell me by hitting reply.

This is an engaging, refreshing and actually quite to the point as an opening approach and had me already more engaged in something I was partially committed to. They continue with a number of contact emails and most are ignored, not out of dissatisfaction, more time, busy life etc and I think that is where I genuinely respect this company – they worked that out!

Every so often though after a period of time, they come back to grab your attention, I liked ‘warning do not open before Christmas’ when you open there is a selection of wines with the warning that they may attract unwelcome relatives. As you read further it continues to push the message – avoid this offer – all the way through, it’s nice, a change of pace from the usual CRM messaging.

To my amazement I then actually got a call from someone to have a chat with me about my wine preferences and what I would be interested in the future, a website that calls you? As it happens I did not have time and so…

Along came the next hook email – ‘I am feeling VERY guilty…’ the opening line is brilliant ‘We’ve got your money AND your wine. That is not good! We owe you £80 of wine and I am losing sleep over it’ then comes the genius and ties back to what I said earlier, they know I have not got loads of time for deliberation so they make it easy.

‘I’ve tried to call you several times, but you are a very hard person to get hold of, so I have a no nonsense proposal for you’ They go on ‘Give me one chance to put a selection of wines together and if you like them you have had some great wine and I get a clean conscience. If not a full refund.’ What did I need to do to get this arranged? Hit reply and say YES! That’s it. There is the beauty of it. Let us do the work and just say yes, show us some faith. I did. On the delivery confirmation email they then propose another way I could work with them that gets me the best wines and with the least hassle until I decide to invest more time in it.

Underpinning this amazing contact strategy is an awesome service. Order before 3pm for next day delivery, follow up emails, great website full of information and social engagement and more. Why have I felt like writing about this company, well because so much time is spent writing off email strategies instead focusing on social media etc etc. I don’t think it is true, it is just not done well. Naked Wines is the best experience I have had with a business bar none and should be a benchmark for all. And at the end of it all as I reviewed the emails they sent me I saw that I had bought a fair amount of wine and I would say 90% of that has come from the email nudges!

Well done Naked Wines and every one else take a good look and learn something.

Hearst to buy iCrossing. Good for Hearst, bad for icrossing (apart from managers)

Marco Bertozzi 20.04.10
I understand why they would. What a great short cut to getting loads of digital knowledge into a business that has been slow to embrace digital, like all media companies they resisted moving from their traditional and core ad models until they could wait no longer. Magazines have been particularly bad at this in the main and have always been playing catch up to some extent.

Read the PR coverage here

Now as the agency world starts to move into Ad exchanges, putting the decision as to what is valuable inventory or not back in their hands and social media and search becomes more and more complicated Hearst has decided that they should buy a big digital independent agency, nice work. It’s a good move for them and it’s an even better move for those who have substantial shares in iCrossing but for the rest of the people there I am not sure what it means for them.

The history of media companies buying agencies is not great and rarely ends well for the people in the agencies, you become second class citizens to the brands you serve. How independent are you exactly? Will iCrossing start to be a digital department of the media group with regular schedule lines being Hearst properties? What about if you just become an internal department of the company, like an IT help desk to answer questions, solve ongoing problems the brands have in digitising. I am sure they will do a great SEO job on Hearst and perhaps provide a search strategy, Hearst still needs to create decent sites with decent content.

I am not sure I like the sound of it, I am possibly not seeing all the facts but if Hearst spends 375m on the agency, they are not going to let it live happily, bumbling along on its own, there will be some significant impact on the staff there.

Loving the Heineken Inter vs Milan event

Earlier in my blog I highlighted the great ‘concerts in a banner’ work, well here is another extremely clever and engaging piece of work which brings together media, PR, viral and stunts all into one idea. Take a look, it is genuinely impressive.

Most praise has to go the wives and girlfriends that managed to get them to the event!

Shifting Direct marketing budgets make sexy social media just another channel.

Marco Bertozzi: 23:01:2010

Brand Republic released news of some research by Alterian that DM budgets are morphing into social media. Now to be clear, I have not seen the research so perhaps it will give me all the detail I am about to question but none the less, its still an interesting subject.

2/3 years ago every client wanted to know how to use social media in their advertising. They wanted to know how to have conversations with customers, how to turn dull into sexy, create millions of fans of car insurance and at the time, no one had an answer. Part of that was the reticence of clients, some of it was media agencies still getting their heads around it and some was actually the fact the very carriers of social audience, did not know what to do either.

While this lack of innovation continued the audiences on the likes of Facebook sky rocketed and advertising rates fell accordingly and that then opened up a huge opportunity for Direct Marketing, not one to one marketing but good old fashion buy it cheap and expect a low response rate type DM. Is this what all those advertisers that have shifted DM budgets into social media have done or have they done anything interesting, have they changed their approach or their channel? I suspect not, I imagine they have bought up vast amount of impressions, overlaid some targeting, just as they would with mail shots and they have accepted a very low response rate and carried on filling their order books. There is still so much room for genuine use of social media and that needs to come from their main brand budgets, not their backwater DM budgets.

Take a look at Compare the Market/Meerkat, everyone knows it, everyone has seen it, but that is a great example of a brave client taking the plunge to make themselves stand out from the competition. I can think of quite a few insurance companies who must be thinking, why were we not brave enough?

A review of digital media predictions for 2010

Marco Bertozzi 10.12.09
As we leave 2009 we start to see the endless list of predictions for 2010, some interesting, some very topline some very specific but all worth having a read if you want to see how 2010 is going to be shaped. It is only a selection, if you want to add yours then leave a comment at the end. I have researched a fair few of them and listed out the main issues for 2010.

As I am keen to make it clear that I have used other people’s musings I have listed them below for you to have a look through as well, but my suggestions may speed things up!

1. Status updates and Tweet burn out will result in a little more culling / blocking of ‘friends’, reducing the social element of social media.

2. Real time search, recently launched by Google will mean brands need to work much harder to stay on top of the sentiments being expressed around them. People will be able to complain in an instant and have it up on the web. It will also make SEO and PPC far more complicated and require very frequent reviews of price and position vs the content around it.

3. Facebook and direct Tweets will replace personal email as the preferred route to reach people.

4. Mobile commerce taking off through a more Apple App store approach to paying for goods, anyone who buys apps on the iphone knows just how easy it is to buy loads of things that you wouldn’t if you had to put your card in every time.

5. As many companies ban social media sites at work, the mobile will be the guilty pleasure and escape from work shackles.

6. Commercialisation of the Twitter audience, I am sure it will come with a vengeance and hopefully some innovative new ad approaches.

7. Less of a prediction, more of an interesting thing to watch, the battle of online news content, to pay for or not? My view is still an Ad funded model as the victor.

8. Convergeance of video and TV. youtube and Hulu and the like taking ever more film / TV content online.

9. The rise of commercial applications as a route to making the most of the social phenomenon where shouting at your audience while they are ‘hanging out’ does not work.

10. Media agencies making some genuinely large structural, technological and commercial changes to future proof themselves in a market where the 2% margin model does not pay.

Below are a few of the links, there are many more, would be great if you added your predictions in the comments section.″″”>