Wine Marketing Rule #2: LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION
Recently in Washington State at TASTE Washington I gave a talk on ""THE TEN THINGS EVERY SMALL WINERY MUST KNOW TO MARKET IN TODAY'S WINE MARKETING UNIVERSE."
That talk was summarized in an earlier blog post here at FERMENTATION. This is the second post in a series that expands on that earlier post.
RULE # 2: LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION
single biggest change in wine marketing that has occurred in the past 20 years
is that consumers are talking about wine—and they are doing it publicly and for the whole world, including winemakers, to see.
this means is that by listening to these conversations about what wines they
like, how they like to drink it, where they like to drink it, what they like to
pay, etc, etc, you have the opportunity to learn precisely what you need to do
to attract consumers to your wines.
to these conversation. Read the on-line wine bulletin boards like eRobertParker
and WineBerserkers, scan the reviews at CellarTracker and Vinfolio, read
comments on blogs, observe discussions taking place on Facebook and Twitter, scan Yelp reviews. You may not agree with or like what you read but
you will gain an advantage that winemakers 20 years ago did not have: regular
access to the intimate and revealing thoughts of your customer.
Consider the impact of not taking advantage of the public conversations that are taking place on-line. First consider not listening to what consumers are saying about YOUR wines. Consider the impact of not reading a spat of negative comments about customer experiences in your tasting room. Visitors rarely express their disappointment directly to the folks pouring the wine behind your tasting bar. But they will slam you on Yelp, via Twitter, in discussion forums at TripAdvisor and at other venues. Reading carefully what they have to say offers the opportunity to fix what might be a problem costing you thousands of dollars is lost revenue.
But also, consider what you can learn simply by scanning comments about consumers relationships with wine. If you produce, for example, high end Cabernet or Pinot Noir, don't you think it would be valuable to read through on-line forums like eRobertParker where active buyers of these wines constantly and daily react to various wineries' marketing efforts, winemaking styles and the way wineries put their public face forward? You might learn, for example, that certain New Release Letter tactics offend or please buyers. Knowing just this might give you the chance to alter the way you inform buyers of new releases and in turn spur more sales. You may learn that big buyers do or don't care about certain packaging alternatives, giving you the chance to re-evaluate how you package and deliver your wine with information you previously did not possess. The possibilities are endless.
But the key here is listening to the conversation. It's the necessary first step to taking advantage of the most important change in marketing that has occurred in years.
I recommend you set up numerous GoogleAlerts that will send links to blog posts and articles directly to your email in-box that address your brand and issues of concern to you. In addition, you certainly should consider subscribing to CRUVEE, a service that will following Twitter, wine forums, blogs and other online venues and deliver to you a daily report on what folks are saying about any topic you tell the service to track for you. The cost of CRUVEE is ridiculously low.
LISTEN TO THE CONVERSATION!!
Thanks for the helpful links! I’ve never heard of Cruve e before and I’m off to give it a little browse through.
Tom, great points. This is the crux of where I disagree with Steve Heimoff that a winery doesn’t need to hire a social media role. Sure, it’s one thing to have your winemaker/owner/whomever, be a voice for the blog, but a winery needs somebody to do all of this “listening.” Never before has a business had the oppotunity to “hear” what is being said about their brand out there in the world than in this new world of social media. It would be stupid not to pay attention. Well done.
Tom-I’ve frankly been shocked that most (all perhaps) wineries have looked at me with a blank stare when I’ve mentioned Google Alerts. Some of them are certainly better then others (Jean up at Alpha Omega seems very tech savvy as is the rest of their staff) but others frankly don’t have a clue.
You’d think that for the price in time of one basic sales call, it would be well worth their time to see what consumers were saying about their wine and experiences with the brand on a daily basis.