An interview with Erika Finnimore, VP of Marketing at Tastry

We sit down with Erika Finnimore, VP of Marketing at Tastry. Tastry empowers winemakers and retailers by providing unparalleled visibility between your wine’s chemistry and how consumers will perceive it.

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How did you end up at Tastry and what problem does Tastry solve for its clients?

I first learned about Tastry when my boyfriend and I were visiting his college town, San Luis Obispo. One of his friends worked at Tastry and once he learned about the kind of work I do, he insisted on introducing me to Katerina, Tastry's CEO. The rest was history. Tastry helps customers choose the best products for them, helps stores choose better products for their customers, and helps producers make products people love. Tastry's ultimate goal is to optimize every part of the supply chain, make customers happy, and mitigate waste.

As the VP of Marketing, what are your main responsibilities at Tastry?

At Tastry, I'm focused on learning how our clients are using our products to accomplish their goals and telling their stories. I interview clients to create case studies and spotlight articles highlighting them and their expertise. I also work directly with the marketing managers at wineries to help them use our data to generate hyper-personalized marketing messages to their customers at scale. I design infographics that help our clients showcase the marketability of their wine and came up with an idea for a tool that allows clients to generate an infographic sell sheet in their dashboard on demand. Recently, I re-designed the Tastry website to be more approachable and communicate clearly to our audience.

To get a bit more technical, which methods work best for making people aware of and interested inTastry , and why do you think they work so well?

Sharing our clients' stories is and has always been the most impactful method of generating awareness about Tastry. The wine industry, the niche we are currently focused on, is a tight-knit audience. Everyone knows everyone and everyone talks. Coming into this industry, I knew right away given the audience, the most powerful thing I could do as marketing is give all the people who were already working with Tastry a microphone and a chance to talk about who they are and what they're doing (and how they're using Tastry). People don't want to listen to ads. People listen to people they like, trust and relate to.

At ColdFire, when we look at our clients' Marketing strategies, they vary greatly. Some have found a single, scalable client acquisition process while others thrive on a mix of top-of-funnel strategies. How would you summarize the high-level marketing-related strategy of your organization, and what key elements contribute to its success?

Our top-of-funnel strategy involves a lot of detailed research on prospects' organizations, and tailored outreach based on roles and the projects at Tastry that might interest them. I've been able to scale this outreach through our CRM, creating emails that feel very personal, from either our CEO, myself, or director of winery relations, and making sure we're sharing only information that is relevant to that individual. We use email journeys to stay in touch with contacts, depending on the stage they're in. We share our client success stories, which tends to garner the most interest.

What marketing tactic have you employed at Tastry or past companies that you feel is often overlooked by marketing teams, and what makes this technique effective in your experience?

I've used client research to drive all of my marketing decisions. I speak with clients to learn how they view the industry and how they view Tastry. A brand is never what you (the company) says it is, it's what they (the customer) say it is. The language I use to describe Tastry's value directly comes from what our clients say. This marketing messaging is woven throughout our website, brochures, and all our marketing collateral. In short, I let our clients tell our story for us. It's effective because it's based on real problems that real winemakers, retailers, and wineries have had and solved with Tastry instead of it being hypothetical.

Has your Marketing team experimented with some kind of cold outbound strategy (like cold email)? If yes what was the general outcome and if no, why not?

Yes, I execute outbound campaigns to highly tailored lead lists in our CRM. We keep our campaigns small, only emailing about 200-500 people weekly and the intention is to schedule a conversation and get the lead's expert opinion on a program we're running at Tastry and see if they think it would be useful to them. We're always first seeking where we can create value. The campaigns generally have 2-3 follow up messages if no response. Our reply rates range from about 4-6%. It depends on the season and audience segment. Still, due to the nature of the industry, in person speaking engagements generate the most deals for us.

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