By Tom Jackson
Wine industry professionals know a key aspect of their success is how effectively they promote the business, yet few actually use their marketing dollars effectively. I see many companies with a great message or story who are failing because they can’t get it out into the world. You can be the best at what you do, but if people don’t know you exist, you will fail. Many devote untold hours to their product and then leave the marketing budget—the second most important factor in their company’s success—until the last minute, giving it very little thought.
How to Succeed – Where does your target audience “live”?
By truly diversifying your marketing, you have the ability to show up everywhere your customer is. Don’t get stuck in the “all eggs in one basket” mindset. You can aim your campaign at your audience by looking at a variety of demographics, such as age, race, gender, habits, locations, and much more.
Think: who is my desired customer; what are their habits, what do they do, read, watch and listen to, where do they go for fun or work, where do they live? For instance, a great majority of winery visitors/tourists are out and about touring the area; advertising on major highways or near popular attractions has indeed proven effective in reaching the folks that are already out-and-about exploring wine country.
Another powerful Marketing trend is “going local” by involving yourself in relevant community-based events and partnering with like-minded businesses and organizations to cross-promote, and become part of community philanthropy opportunities to get your name out there.
One important factor often forgotten at the beginning of a marketing push is to make sure that your budget is evenly spread out and sustainable. If you’re starting a branding campaign, your budget will need to be maintained over a fairly long period of time and again not just in one place. Brand recognition doesn’t happen overnight, but by consistently putting your message out there, being memorable, and diversified you can make a lasting impact.
What to Say?
In today’s world of information-overload, the key to your marketing success will be more than just quality and quantity. Be bold. Your message should be unique and targeted. Keep it simple; don’t confuse your audience with too much information, or multiple agendas. Your focus should be kept to one main point. Today’s instantaneous, internet-focused world demands that your message be interesting enough to grab attention, yet specific enough to make an impact in a split-second. The angle you choose might range from a new product or service, a seasonal event, or a special promotion. Consider your options, and make your choice based on what will speak best to your target audience at that moment, while complementing your other marketing endeavors. Later, don’t be afraid to constantly refresh your message and update the language you’re using to deliver it.
Big Marketing Opportunity
Wine Country businesses have a huge opportunity just around the corner in February 2016 as the SF Bay Area hosts Super Bowl 50. Attendees have money in their pocket to spend while they’re in the region, and Wine Country in particular will be getting major attention at the Wine Country Experience, a showcase at the Super Bowl City Fan Village designed to inspire visitors to see California’s Wine Country. Thousands of unique visitors are expected to flood the greater Bay Area… so the question I have for you is…how and where will you be seen?
These tourists will be looking for an experience outside of the city. Opportunities for outreach are diverse and plentiful so be on the lookout for new ways to promote your business to them. And at the end of the day, wherever your clients (potential or existing) are, you need to constantly be as well.
Successfully marketing a business is a continuous, never-ending, ever-changing process. Making it a priority and being as aggressive as possible will keep that pipeline of business flowing in. Revisit your plan quarterly, and be open to change what doesn’t work and refining what does. By constantly evaluating and updating the results of your strategy, and thinking outside the box, you will produce a stellar plan to fuel your business well into the future.