AdVini formed in 2010 to unite 7 wine houses — in France, Chile, and South Africa — with a global sales team stationed across 4 continents. Soon after, their key executives came to my San Francisco office with a big problem: communication between their marketing teams, sales teams, and clients, was broken.
The wine houses couldn't meet demand for product information in a dozen markets, including mine. Many versions of the same wine brand were sold in multiple countries. Listing one client's version on a web site would confuse, even anger, clients in other markets.
Sales teams were using years-old vintage data and marketing materials that weren't even localized to their customers' languages. There was no single, authoritative resource for current information. When salespeople had to chase each wine house's marketing team for information, they usually didn't bother, and the entire company became disparate, confused, and fractured.
So the solution I proposed to the management board was three-tiered:
1) Create a central CMS for product and news content, on a modern Ruby on Rails framework.
2) Build "Market Sites" for each country's unique product portfolio, in clients' local languages.
3) Develop an API to serve product and news data to each wine house's consumer web site.
Altogether, I called the platform "Avenir" (or "future" in French). I hired a great development team, The Other Firm, and took on the roles of architect, product manager, and front-end designer.
However, one gap appeared in this framework. AdVini's market web sites would feature products that are already imported to their given country. So how do salespeople send product information for new products? Or drive awareness of new vintages?
Avenir includes a "Push" feature, where salespeople can customize a selection of any wines in the Avenir database, add attachments, and generate a custom web site for their own audiences. Avenir generates a beautiful e-mail with the sender's custom message, contact information, and links to the custom site.
Now, AdVini's wine houses have a definitive database for every wine, in every vintage, and current news. AdVini's salespeople have an official source for the products they sell. And AdVini speaks their clients' language. Most importantly, each house's marketing team has a platform for promoting their brands in new markets.