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Napa marketing firm aims to be 'one-stop shop'

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If you thought you had to go to a fancy design firm in San Francisco and pay top dollar to find a skilled marketing agency, WineGlass Marketing has another opinion.

Specializing in wine-related marketing, WineGlass Marketing is starting its eighth harvest season while settling into its new Jefferson Street offices in Napa.

“Our clients hire us because we’re ‘fixers,’” said Susan DeMatei, WineGlass Marketing’s founder and president.

“We just jump in and get it done. But then they stay with us because we’re smart, offer a full suite of complementary services, and we’re ridiculously fun to work with,” she said.

A team of 14 experienced marketing professionals work at the new office, an original 1930 Spanish Revival house, said the founder.

“It had tons of potential, but needed a lot of love. It hadn’t been upgraded in 90 years,” DeMatei said.

“The electrical and plumbing were bad, the structure had shifted during the earthquake and there was a lot I had to do to make it work for a modern ADA-compliant office.”

The special touches DeMatei had in mind weren’t cosmetic, but important to a marketing firm dedicated to working with clients in the wine industry. The garage was converted to include a temperature-controlled wine cellar to store dozens of bottles of client wine and a professional photography studio for on-site bottle shots.

In what DeMatei described as a deliberately creative, yet mercurial, environment, “dogs snore under the conference table and Sonos plays everything from Coldplay to Coltrane.” She added that her team handles the needs of more than 60 clients.

WineGlass Marketing is designed to be a one-stop shop while providing clients direct access to a seasoned staff, said DeMatei.

Clients work with a single account executive for all their needs including: website and email design, SEO, SEM and online advertising, social media marketing, wine clubs, database management and photography.

“Some clients need more services than others and their needs often change, so we have to be flexible,” DeMatei said.

“We can be strategic, if needed, but often we’re hired to address a specific issue a winery may be having. Big agencies don’t want that kind of tactical project work,” she added. In addition to project work, WineGlass Marketing also works on retainer and has long-term relationships with several wineries.

Before starting WineGlass Marketing, DeMatei worked for international ad agencies BBDO and Mullen in account service, working on brands like BMW, Sprint and Intel.

She said she never imagined herself starting a marketing firm in a relatively small town like Napa, but admits her location provides many competitive advantages.

“Not only are we geographically close to many of our clients, we’re in the center of the wine world here,” she said.

“Big ad agencies want to work on big clients for big money, sometimes charging $100,000 or more for a website design,” said DeMatei.

“We handle more wine business than (many) other ad agencies because we understand the wine business backwards and forward, we craft great work and we don’t turn small clients away.”

The WineGlass Marketing president said her company hires from the Napa area, so it doesn’t have the turnover big city agencies have.

“As a result, we don’t need to continually train new staff and offer continuity in the way emails are written, wine clubs are set up and the way products are featured on websites we create,” she said.

DeMatei noted that she and her staff have close relationships with their clients. “Show me another agency that will jump in and take over your wine club setup because your club manager is on maternity leave, or walk a frazzled tasting room manager through a point of sale issue during Saturday,” she said.

“We take care of them, and they take care of us. It’s a win/win and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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