Vertical Integration of Consumer Marketing
With the exception of the bubbly producers who will be going strong until the day after new year’s when their wines can be found in the supermarket at drastically reduced prices, most of us will be relaxing for the remainder of the holiday season. The memories of frantically racing around assembling holiday gift baskets and fulfilling online wine orders will be a distant memory very soon. So what did we learn from this holiday season?
I would hazard to guess that every one of us is thinking the same thing…start holiday planning earlier next year! Well, I have news for you…or at least some of you as this may not be news to many of you who wear many hats in your organization. In the wholesale channel, many marketing teams throughout the wine industry begin holiday planning before the end of Q1. In some other industries, holiday planning is often times complete by January! If this is shocking then this week’s BLOG topic on “Vertical Integration of Consumer Marketing” will be a valuable springboard for discussions in your organization’s DIRECT sales planning next year.
Sadly, in the world of DIRECT, often times we are left in the dark when it comes to brand planning on the “other side of the fence”. This lack of communication results in an oversight of the most valuable consumer group for your winery…your very own database of customers & wine club members. One of the most obvious reasons for this is that the resources of most wine companies are focused on managing their distributors. The fact is that this scenario is common across wineries of all shapes and sizes and goes well beyond the holiday season.
Real world example: Your brand marketing team has coordinated a beautiful, full-page ad in one of the top wine publications to coincide with a favorable review of your new vintage (not that there is a direct relationship between advertising and favorable wine scores). They have also worked with a creative services agency to create tasting notes, shelf-talkers, and neckers to distribute to your wholesaler for On and Off premise accounts. In the minds of most brand managers, they achieved their goal…they positioned their brand in a way to maximize exposure to their target consumer. Yep, if their lucky, many of the same people who see that ad will walk right down to the nearest wine shop or restaurant and pick out a bottle of your winery’s finest. But they forgot one small consumer group…your loyal brand ambassadors.
This year, arm yourself with the necessary information (sales growth over previous month/year, growth trends in the DIRECT channel, the lifetime value of each customer/club member in your database) to show your organization the opportunities that they are not capitalizing on. By converting those same people to online customers, and capturing their information in your database, they become a captive audience for future releases, special offerings, winery events, etc… Most importantly, by converting them to wine club members & winery ambassadors they will receive shipments of your wine for years to come (hopefully).
Before I get off my “soap box”, I charge you all with one goal in 2007: take back a piece of the Consumer Marketing pie. Better still…contribute to the Consumer Marketing strategic and tactical meetings BEFORE they reach the final planning stages. This will ensure that the goals of the brand team coincide with the goals you have for growing the DIIRECT channel. And if all goes well, perhaps you will have the resources to bring on some additional help next holiday season to pack those gift boxes.
Merry Christmas (and happy holidays)
& Happy New Year!