W20Group.com Acquires VinTank
W20 Group has acquired VinTank, the wine tech leader in social media analysis and communication. The purchase was just announced this morning.
“W2O is known for their analytics work. They can take a brand, look at all the social media data, identify that brand’s audience, and identify what they like so you can advertise smarter, and even predict future sales.” Paul Mabray, CEO and co-founder of VinTank, explains. “VinTank lets you communicate with them in real time. It completes the circle.”
Working with major brands such as Verizon, Intel, Red Bull, and Warner Bros., W20 Group has won multiple innovation awards for their work.
In purchasing VinTank, W20 Group gains unique technology that allows them to incorporate the next step in brand building. With VinTank software, W20 Group customers will be able to not only better understand their audience, but now also connect directly across social media platforms.
The acquisition proves significant for multiple reasons – This type of sale of a wine technology company is unprecedented. By combining the resources of W2O Group with the data of VinTank the insights into the wine industry to be gained should be monumental. The ability to communicate directly with customers that VinTank offers W2O Group will have reverberations far beyond wine.
Successful Wine Technology
This is the first time a company from completely outside the wine industry has purchased a wine technology company. VinTank effectively created software for the wine industry that can scale beyond the wine industry.
VinTank’s success in wine technology is unique. The wine industry proves to be one of the most difficult industries within which to successfully advance social media technologies due to the industry’s own resistance to such change, and most winery’s limited financial resources.
“I’m really grateful for the challenge of building this kind of technology within the wine industry.” Mabray says. “There was this sense of banging my head against the wall but that eventually gave insight into what we needed to do.”
Wine tech success stories are few. While many such companies have launched, very few have succeeded. Successful examples include Ship Compliant, Wine Direct, and VinTank itself.
Gary Vaynerchuck stands as another clear leader in wine technology, thanks to his early success with the Wine Library video series. However, it is significant to point out that Vaynerchuck’s current success is largely thanks to his quickly stepping outside the confines of wine itself.
What makes VinTank significant beyond the wine industry?
“We’d already made software to work beyond wine,” Mabray explains. “But as a self funded company we needed to stay focused on wine so our attention wasn’t divided. Now the development conversation can expand and prove what the software can do both in and outside of wine.”
VinTank’s power beyond the wine industry rests first in how brands can communicate directly with customers. It also depends on VinTanks ease of use.
Currently, VinTank software pinpoints social media mentions for specific wine brands giving their customers the ability to identify who is talking about them, as well as the opportunity to communicate with those customers directly. Even more importantly, it allows you to communicate with those customers in real time.
If someone mentions a wine brand on Instagram, via the VinTank app that winery can respond in Instagram. Same with Twitter, Facebook, Delectable, blog platforms, and more.
Part of what makes VinTank so easy is that to have these conversations, wine brands don’t have to be logged into every social media platform. Instead, they can communicate across any of them from within the VinTank app.
Now imagine that same capability for any brand in any industry, not just wine.
In an age where customers more than ever want to feel directly connected, VinTank technology makes communicating directly with those customers possible. It also makes the noisy chaos of social media understandable.
As significant as the VinTank acquisition is for industry in general, it promises to change the wine industry as well.
The Next Step: Analysis
“We have the largest set of data on wine consumers in the industry,” Mabray points out. VinTank analyzes one million social media conversations about wine per day and has now for years. “I’ve always wanted to dig into that data but haven’t had the money to hire analysts. W2O already has data analysts in house.”
The insights into the wine industry made possible by this merger are unprecedented.
“We will be able to do things like predict variety popularity before a boom,” Mabray explains. “We will be able to predict leading regions, varieties, and brands based on social media interaction.”
Such analysis will also give insight into key influencers – the people that impact wine sales and increase interest in particular wines just by talking about them.
VinTank already has the ability to identify who the influencers are, and the impact of their message through how it spreads online. With W20 analysis, VinTank will also be able to predict new influencers before they happen.
Imagine companies being able to use such insight to connect with those influencers directly.
The Power of Influence
Part of what VinTank technology has already helped make clear is how influence in social media operates.
“We look at people that might not have a huge audience,” Mabray explains, “but whose audience listens tightly to what that person says.”
An individual with a small number of followers on social media could have more impact than someone with a much higher number of followers when at least two elements are in place – followers trust and act based on what the individual says, and the followers also influence others.
The point is simple – “Who influences the influencers?” Mabray points out. “We can identify not only who the key influencers are, but also who influences the influencers in microwaves from the side. Someone might be a key influencer, but who has direct lines to him or her” and influences his or her decisions?
The importance of such insight is crucial in the world of social media where key influencers might not even be known critics, but instead simply people that speak up about certain subjects like wine.
The Future of VinTank: A Commitment to the Wine Industry
“W2O is committed to the wine industry, and we’re committed to staying,” Mabray explains. “James and I both live here [in Napa] with our families. We’re not going anywhere.”
While W2O Group is not a wine company, their purchase of VinTank includes a commitment to the wine industry. Indeed, VinTank has been looked at by other companies but part of what convinced VinTank to accept an offer from the W2O Group is its ongoing commitment to the wine industry.
What W2O offers the wine industry is greater resources. “They’re a company with resources, and they’re dedicating those to the wine industry.” Mabray explains. “We can now expand our work for the wine industry.”
VinTank’s Napa office will remain open.
VinTank CEO Paul Mabray will lead the business side of W2O Group’s software division for data driven engagement. VinTank CTO James Jory will lead the technology side of the same division.
“We’re essentially two sides of the same coin,” Mabray says. “We come together.”
To read more on the VinTank acquisition:
The official press release: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150330005194/en/W2O-Group-Acquires-VinTank-Social-Engagement-CRM#.VRlDRVz4vFK
VinTank’s own blog post about it: http://www.vintank.com/2015/03/the-next-chapter/
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