Written by

Jill Barth


August 10, 2021

A podcast conversation on selling wine in today’s market

“20 years ago wine marketing was much more distant. It didn’t feel like it was on the shoulders of the producers, there were more in-betweeners.”

~ Laurie Millotte, founder of Outshinery

The evolution of wine marketing

A couple of times each month, Laurie is part of the Wine Tech Insiders podcast. This is a group of founders that work in the wine innovation space, and the conversation is often centered on big news in the industry, with a reflection on how or why new tech could make an impact.

Your Insiders are:

In a recent episode called Evolution of the Marketing of Wine, several key points were made. You can listen in here:

Lifting the burden

Wine marketing now is very much in the hands of wineries, with all hands on deck. Nowadays it’s not unusual to see even the winemaker themself conducting a virtual tasting from their own home. Seb says that wineries should rely on chat and email tools (like Drift or Active Campaign) that provide a “highly personalized” style of marketing. He recalls a time when consumers didn’t have as many resources to research wineries on their own, but now there are so many ways to do that, some better than others. 

Jonathan shares that back in the day — particularly at live trade events where wineries met with people interested in buying and selling their products — wineries would use a “shotgun approach” hoping that someone would bump into them and want to work with them. “The pandemic brought us from shotgun to scalpel,” he says. “Now it’s precision and improved technique.”

“It’s not enough for the liquid to speak for itself,” says Laurie. The wine industry is “embracing a new way of doing marketing.” She says that wine occupies a sweet spot to be the vehicle for great storytelling: it is relevant, entertaining, and offering something extra to the consumer. “It’s not a pack of cereal, but not a Louis Vuitton bag!” This spot in the middle allows wineries to take advantage of practical advice and luxury appeal. 

Consumers want to be addressed by name

Seb points out that “a segment of the population was forced to buy online during the pandemic.” Now that wine is readily available on the web, and people are willing to buy in there, wineries need different channels to reach customers. “Tasting room as a discovery has been a problem for years,” he says. Multiple channels providing interesting touchpoints are the way forward, because this is not only relevant, but scaleable for wineries of any size. “Customers want to be addressed by name,” says Seb, and technology makes this possible.

Laurie chats about how the tasting room or initial buying experience can translate to a long-term relationship with a customer. Because it is always easier to sell to a customer who has already had a great experience, “don’t let them forget about you.” 

Jonathan has witnessed the surge of digital events over the past year and a half, and he says these are being pioneered by regional associations as well as individual producers. Don’t waste the opportunity to create an event with partners, if that will appeal to additional or new audiences.

Seb suggests that data collection is the best method for achieving personalization that keeps the conversation moving after the sale. Get the attention of consumers and find multiple ways for people to connect with products that are relevant to them.  “Once they’ve discovered your product, they need to see it eight times,” he says.

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