ZIFFPAGE TITLESoftware for Growth

By Deborah Gage Print this article Print

The 9/11 attacks dried up the market for J Vineyards' sparkling wines. Sure, it could cut costs. But it really needed to figure out what it could sell instead, and to whom.

Software for Growth

DiLuvio says he has tried to stick with software packages like Lotus Notes and Microsoft Great Plains that are scalable enough to allow the winery to grow—and even acquire other companies. The CEO of eSkye, Smoke Wallin, says J Vineyards pushed eSkye to move Campbell's Blend program from a Microsoft Access to an SQL Server back end a few months sooner than the vendor would have done otherwise. The move improved Blend's performance, DiLuvio explains, since the winery tracks so much data.

Watkins, meanwhile, wants to use Indianapolis, one of J Vineyards' most reliable markets, to figure out the return on his marketing dollars now that he knows the cost of sales. If he takes four sales reps and backs them up with four billboards, buy-by-the-glass promotions in restaurants, radio spots during the morning and afternoon commutes and a dinner, he figures he should be able to measure how many points he gains in distribution and whether sales go up in retail.

"[Business in] Indianapolis is slow and steady," he says. But a campaign developed in such a stable market could provide a good baseline for tackling mercurial and more expensive markets like Chicago, D.C. or New York.

This article was originally published on 2005-07-08
Senior Writer
Based in Silicon Valley, Debbie was a founding member of Ziff Davis Media's Sm@rt Partner, where she developed investigative projects and wrote a column on start-ups. She has covered the high-tech industry since 1994 and has also worked for Minnesota Public Radio, covering state politics. She has written freelance op-ed pieces on public education for the San Jose Mercury News, and has also won several national awards for her work co-producing a documentary. She has a B.A. from Minnesota State University.

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