By Laurie Wachter
The Wine Industry Network (WIN) 3-Tier Wine Symposium last May was designed to help small to midsize wineries understand how to succeed in today’s evolving wholesale channel.
“Panelists said the days of feeling successful once you get the order from your distributors are over,” says George Christie, WIN President and CEO. “Wineries need to do more to drive demand for their product and the places that sell them. We received feedback from our attendees asking us to be more specific about how to do that.”
A new session at the December 5th WIN Expo will do just that. The Creating Pull for your Brand: Tools, Tactics and Techniques Designed to Drive Demand session includes five panelists with both wholesale and direct to consumer marketing expertise.
“Sometimes people get confused about the word pull,” George explains. “We’re asking the panelists to share the things they’re telling their clients to do to generate demand.”
Panelist Carin Oliver, CEO and Chief Innovation Officer at Angelsmith, is up for the challenge. “Influencing gatekeepers is less about having salespeople in every market and more about using digital tools to reach them,” she tells us. “Smaller wineries can set up email lists to use for direct marketing campaigns. Email campaigns are a push tactic but push and pull work together.”
“There are so many small brands out there that most gatekeepers have no idea who you are. You have to do something to make them aware of you.” Carin adds in her no-nonsense way. “The reality is most wineries are small businesses, even the larger ones, and they don’t have a ton of money or time. It comes down to having to work harder than you think you need to.”
Wineries should send information to gatekeepers at restaurants, retailers and wholesalers, as well as consumers, whether they’re interested or not. “You have to get them interested,” she says. The important thing is a strong story that’s going to resonate. Then push that story.
Panelist Juliana Colangelo, West Coast Director of Colangelo & Partners, points out that your audience needs a reason to pay attention. The first step to creating pull and building awareness is to define your message. Then use that to create the hooks that will get your audience interested.
“Take a step back and consider what you want to say to the trade,” she explains. Are you a growth brand? Tell them you started at 500 cases a year ago and have had incredible success. Are you championing a new region? Introducing a new variety? Doing something unique on the production side? Have an outstanding price ratio? These are all stories that will make your audience pay attention.
The next step is getting your message out. Stories and articles written about your brand in magazines or newsletters your target is reading are great tool.
“With distributors, especially the bigger ones,” Juliana adds, “you have to constantly communicate with them to stay top of mind.”
Go out and build your own relationships with the beverage directors. Host a retreat for the trade or invite them up for harvest. “One thing we’re doing with our clients right now is a tasting through the decades at three Napa wineries,” she adds. “They taste wines from the 60’s at one winery, the 70s at another. A group effort like that creates a compelling reason for them to visit and pay attention to the wineries.”
If you’re looking for more insight into building demand, Creating Pull for your Brand: Tools, Tactics and Techniques Designed to Drive Demand will deliver a deeper understanding and real-life examples of solutions that work.