By Dawn Dolan
The millennial consumer continues to rise in prominence for the wine industry, but being able to identify the important trends and mediums to connect, engage, and build loyalty with them is a challenge for traditional wine marketers.
“It’s not a game. It’s not a fad. It’s business. Millennials are about to move into their prime spending years,” Jessica Alteri, CEO of Wine Channel TV flatly states. “Investing in talent that knows how to use the right technology and fuel engagement with Millennials will be key to the success of wineries in the future.”
Altieri is a Certified Sommelier, a California Wine Appellation Specialist, and listed as a pioneer in the world of digital wine lifestyle entertainment, having created the world’s first digital wine lifestyle network, Wine Channel TV.
“The wine industry has traditionally been, let’s say, a little behind in embracing the internet,” Altieri says. “Millennials buy and drink wine in big numbers, but how do they buy, and why do they buy certain brands?”
That question will be the focus of the WIN Expo session: Insights into the Millennial Mind: Tapping into their $1.3 Trillion Spending Power, which Altieri will be moderating.
“Millennials, as we know, are embracing technology fast,” Altieri elaborates. “So the question is: How do you talk to them? How do you engage with them? Do you have any idea what the best medium is today? These are topics she will be focusing on during the session.”
George Christie, president of Wine Industry Network (WIN) who produces the North Coast Wine Industry Expo emphasizes that this panel will be composed entirely of actual millennials.
“Marketing to Millennials is something people talk about and want to explore, but it’s usually non-millennials doing the talking. We wanted actual millennials to share how this group consumes information? What works for them versus what doesn’t? What kind of brands resonate with them? These are things the wine industry needs to understand to be more effective in their marketing,” Christie states.
“The millennial consumers are there waiting for you to grab their attention and show them what you have to offer,” says Altieri, who hopes to lead the discussion toward what is the best way to get their attention. “Millennials are changing the way the retail world works. Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are accelerating engagement and activation to buy with live, user-generated content.”
Christie adds to this, “They rely on peer recommendations and personal experience. They don’t want to be told. It’s all about the authenticity and passion for the product, not about glamour. Fortunately for the wine industry, the kind of people that successfully own or work at wineries do it because they love it. If it was about the money, they’d be in Silicon Valley, not Sonoma Valley!”
While you can’t teach authenticity, Christie designed the session to convey the identification of key trends and mediums you need to know about to connect, engage, build loyalty, and share your winery’s story with the millennial audience.