Bill O’Connor is the Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer at Jackson Family Wines. Based in Sonoma County, the heart of California’s wine country, the business is one of few family-owned and operated wineries of its kind. Founded in 1983, with a focus on artisanal and old wines with a distinct character and quality, their portfolio includes wines like Kendall-Jackson, La Crema, Freemark Abbey, Murphy Goode, Stonestreet, among many others.

On the show, Bill and I talk about the historic partnership between Jackson Family Wines and the home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, and what Bill believes makes for an effective partnership.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What it’s like at a family-owned winery
  • How to effectively handle partnerships
  • The importance of refining your customer’s experience

Key Highlights:

  • [02:00] Bill’s dream job
  • [03:30] The historic partnership with Churchill Downs
  • [04:36] Jackson Family Wines’ tie to racing
  • [11:50] Their wide variety of wine offerings
  • [14:02] How Bill thinks about partnerships
  • [16:06] Refining the customer experience 
  • [20:30] Bill’s advice for navigating new relationships
  • [23:15] A defining experience that made Bill who he is today 
  • [26:54] Bill’s advice for his younger self
  • [29:36] Bill’s recent impactful purchase
  • [31:05] The brands, companies, and causes Bill follows
  • [33:03] What Bill says is today’s biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.