This year’s DIRECT Conference was one for the books. Our event was jam packed with excitement, inspiration, innovation, and everything in-between. We are thrilled it was such a success, and are already eager for DIRECT 2017!
While this year’s event was different, the energy, knowledge sharing, and community building present in past events was as strong as ever. Our theme, Build Tomorrow, was evident throughout the two-day event, from the inspiring keynote speakers, to the educational breakout sessions, to the networking reception.
Since we can’t fully rebuild the experience for those that weren’t at the event, we’re excited to share a recap with all of you. If you did attend and would like to share any highlights from the event, we’d love to read them in the comments!
Poetic Voice Sekou Andrews kicked off our event by sharing his experiences and advocating for DIY Innovation. We laughed, we cried, we wanted a glass of Rose, but more importantly, it set the tone for our conference, which was full of the latest and greatest innovations in the beverage alcohol industry. During the breakout sessions, we explored the latest technologies in the industry, and how they can help you increase sales online. We also learned about innovative marketing practices by people like Tim McEnery from Cooper’s Hawk, who talked about how they used experiential marketing to build their 200,000-person wine club.
The Sales & Marketing track was packed with incredible best practices for wineries, breweries, and distilleries. In particular, Sasha Strauss, Managing Director, Innovation Protocol, walked us through seven key practices to use for branding. This presentation, and many of the marketing sessions, shared specific steps businesses can take in order to know their brand, and therefore communicate more authentically with their audience. Understanding your brand and being consistent about who you are and what you stand for can be incredibly powerful.
Our Ever-Evolving Industry
Again this year, the Wine Institute’s VP of State Relations, Steve Gross, commanded the stage to share with us the most recent and relevant regulatory updates for the direct-to-consumer wine industry. This session is always highly-attended, as it offers an inside scoop of what’s happening in DtC shipping. To no one’s surprise, there were lots of updates, including the exciting announcement about Pennsylvania’s recent legislation to allow direct-to-consumer sales of wine.
A new addition this year was John Beaudette, CEO, MHW, Ltd., who discussed some of the best practices for successfully launching a brand in the three-tier system. The session provided tips on product creation and development, routes to market, marketing and sales strategy and execution, infrastructure, and business planning.
The insights that these two industry experts shared were crucial to our attendees’ business, as we all know that the beverage alcohol industry is one of the most complex and highly regulated industries.
What We’re Up To
Our new CEO, Andy Hovancik, of Sovos Compliance, shared an overview of compliance trends seen worldwide, and the role that Sovos plays, and plans to continue to play, in this industry.
Jeff Carroll, VP Product, SME, Sovos Compliance, shared industry trends as usual, but for the first year, provided a mid-year update on numbers from the annual Direct-to-Consumer Wine Shipping Report, including news that the direct-to-consumer shipping industry surpassed $2.11 billion in sales in early 2016.
Kent Nowlin, VP Product, ShipCompliant, Sovos Compliance, discussed some of the changes and innovations that the passionate team behind the ShipCompliant product have experienced and are working on, including our expanded research team, the growth of Product Registration Online (PRO), and improvements in our three-tier product. We’re so excited for the year to come and to see our work impact our customers positively and help your businesses. We’ll be sure to keep you informed on more product updates!
Knowledge is Everywhere
It was evident knowledge was all around us at this year’s DIRECT, including in your pocket (Hello, DIRECT app!). The conversations at the receptions, the idea sharing with our incredible partners between sessions, and Light Up DIRECT were just a few of the amazing opportunities this conference offered, and it was amazing to be part of this exchange of ideas. Light Up DIRECT, which featured quick five-minute passion talks from some of our audience members, was a great opportunity to see the impressive knowledge and passion that exists amongst our attendees.
Thank You to Our Incredible Partners
We have some amazing partners in our mission to create remarkable experiences through technology, service, and relationships, and we want to recognize the incredible sponsors and exhibitors that supported the 2016 DIRECT Conference. We want to give a huge shout out to this year’s sponsors, which included Wines & Vines, OpenEdge, FedEx, Copper Peak Logistics, AMS Software, Golden State Overnight, Vinfillment, and WISE Academy. We also appreciate the support of all of our exhibitors, including Wines & Vines, OpenEdge, FedEx, Copper Peak Logistics, AMS Software, Golden State Overnight, Microworks, Nexternal, Granbury Wine Solutions/vinSUITE, SevenFifty, simplyCMS, Pack n’ Ship DIRECT, Qorkz, Vin65/WineDirect, Wineshipping, uCella, eCellar, and 71lbs.
The 2016 DIRECT Conference was overall a great experience for our team, and we hope it was for you, too. We love getting to interact with our clients in person, and we don’t know if it was all the silent dancing*, the San Francisco air, or the almost-overwhelming sharing of knowledge, but this was certainly our favorite DIRECT (yet!).
Did you miss out on attending this year’s DIRECT? Or are you so excited that you can’t wait to hear about next year’s DIRECT? Sign up here to receive updates on DIRECT 2017!
*Ya had to be there.