blogging and our business


My name is Nick Dymoke-Marr. I’m the U.K. Managing Director of Stormhoek.

I suppose the question a lot of people will be asking is, why are we bothering with a blog? Why not go with more conventional marketing practices? Why are we listening to this mad marketing anarchist Hugh MacLeod, when we could instead be basking in the re-assuring glow of a famous London advertising agency?

Because if we don’t rise above the clutter, we will fail. It’s that simple.

Stormhoek is a little winery in a country that is probably one of the least skilled exporters of quality wine in the world. The South African currency is weak and there are day-to-day challenges to their existence that most of the Western world has simply not had to deal with for generations. And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Stormhoek is 6,000 miles away from the nearest significant market for their wines.

We are doing something special… making what we believe to be extraordinary wines that are different, doing things in an innovative way, thousand of miles away from our customers. We were faced with the dilemma of how do we communicate what we are all about to markets half a world away, with an embarrassingly small budget.

We don’t think like the big guys. We are not big guys. We do not measure ROI on our “advertising dollar”. What we do though is answer our phone and field our emails. We talk to our customers and we do look at depletions through our retail clients.

The phone is ringing and the emails are coming in… from people who we have never heard of before and who are learning about the quality of our wines… They are learning this from somewhere, and it isn’t from the ads, because we’re not placing any.

We estimate that in the last sixty days there have been in excess of 300,000 people who have now heard of Stormhoek through the blogosphere. With that, we are also seeing increased interest in many sectors of the market. Do we believe that people’s blogs have driven store traffic?

Possibly indirectly. But what we are certain of is that there is a conversation ongoing in the blogosphere that we both find interesting for all parties concerned, and that it is good for our little winery.

Based upon what we see, we believe that it is inevitable that the 300,000 people will increase by a factor of 10, or maybe even 100. We see our Google mentions have grown from 500 in June to over 20,000 today. Last June at one of the Geek dinners in London, Robert Scoble said the internet has made the world as small as the room we were having dinner in.

This is a comment that rings particularly true for us, as there are now hundreds, maybe thousands of conversations taking place half a world away from our little South African valley.

People are talking about us. They weren’t three month ago. There are hundreds of thousands of wineries all over the world. Yet in the U.K., there are only a handful of major wine retailers. In a former life I was head wine buyer for ASDA, the big supermarket chain, where this reality was all too apparent. Believe me, I know how hard it is to get your wine talked about, let alone spotted by the big retail boys, especially with no marketing budget to speak of.

Something is happening. It may be hard to quantify, but that’s also what makes it so damn exciting. Meanwhile, I hope you will try our wine one of these days. Thank you.


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