By Barbara Barrielle
Emetry, a 2018 WINnovation Award Winner
Paul Mabray, CEO of Emetry, believes that the wine industry doesn’t have an education problem; the wine industry has an engagement problem and the key to solving this is data, but data mined and implemented correctly.
“The wine industry has been obfuscated by their data sources given the traditional three tier distribution system,” says Mabray. “Consumer behavior and the foundation of how consumers buy is not apparent to wineries, so we (Emetry) come in as kind of data miners, gather wells of data, clean them up, and put them in a data lake.”
Mabray knows data well and is considered the longest-standing digital guy in the wine-industry. After a brief foray into sales where he created a CRM to remember details of his customers’ personal lives to better serve them, he took the thankless job of wine club management at Coppola and grew it to 3,000 members with the implementation of quick credit card data. He was instrumental in WineShopper.com (which merged with Wine.com), and founded WineDirect and VinTank which furthered his concentration in gathering data to drive sales in the wine industry.
To that end, Emetry’s services are like a diagnostic health check for a wine brand. Getting the right data can reflect knowledge about consumer behavior, competitors’ brands, whether sales are trending up or down, where media comes from and how does the product fare among consumers seeking like products.
The software allows wineries to look at a broad geographic field or narrow to a specific territory, state, city or even single restaurant. In a two dial input, look at a geographical area and then seek a result such as how does my brand compare to other white wines or Sauvignon Blancs or Chardonnays or even just California wines. Producers can look for data as broad or as specific as they desire.
“Modern marketers use this data with great efficiency. They are enlightened about their customers at all levels,” explains Mabray. “They may think their competitor is X, and it is actually brand Y, or they may think their brand appeals to men, and their market is actually more driven by women. It is really about driving good sustainable growth for a strong future market.”
Emetry’s closest data partner is the food and drink app Delectable, popular among millennials, wine professionals, oenophiles, and wine enthusiasts, that allows the user to scan a wine label and bring up information, reviews and pricing, as well as comparable wines in the same category. This data is extremely relevant to consumer search and buying behaviors and excellent indicators of where a product or brand fits into the buying patterns.
“With our attention to responsible data mining, Emetry gets as close to the consumer as possible, digitally and in real time,” says Mabray. “And while the 21 percent of wines that are the 800 pound gorillas in the big box stores may not be the clients for Emetry, the other 71 percent need to know fast, avant-garde data analyzing consumer behavior as they are purchasing as restaurants, small boutique retailers, and other outlets.”
Mabray explains that markets outside of wine are so much more advanced than the wine industry. The industry has cultural impediments he likens to the Hollywood effect. The wine industry has a kind of glamour associated with it where many people are drawn to it and want to work in the business no matter what they have to do to get into it. Much like show business where people will start anywhere and take little or no pay for starting level jobs, the wine business many times does not seek talent out for executive level roles or seek talent from outside industries.
And, furthermore, the wine industry has not experienced the external pressures that other industries such as retail, travel and publishing have experienced with online marketing giants like Amazon, Expedia, and blogs. “They have had to adapt or die,” says Mabray, “but, in the wine industry it has taken wine.com, the single true online challenger, eleven years to get to $110 million in sales. But winter is coming, and the industry needs to adjust.”
The Direct-to-Consumer market now represents about ten percent of the $27 billion off-premise wine sales, but it is a growing segment that, with declining tasting room sales and other pressures, the industry must take seriously.
Launched recently to great anticipation, Emetry’s clients already include industry luminaries like Wente and Duckhorn.