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By Elizabeth Hans McCrone

Michael Wangbickler
Michael Wangbickler

“Not everyone in your CRM is created equal. Some are more engaged, some purchase more, some are involved in wine club, some aren’t. Should you treat them all the same? No!”

So opines Michael Wangbickler, President of Balzac Communications & Marketing, a leading beverage, food & travel communications company headquartered in the Napa Valley.

He’s discussing what he calls “behavior based email,” which is an automated communications strategy that subcategorizes and tailors email activities to track consumer interests and purchasing, and then generates personalized messages in response.

Wangbickler clarifies that such emails may thank a buyer for being a loyal customer or remind another that it’s time to purchase more of that Chardonnay they’re so excited about.

He also notes that the effectiveness of any automated marketing strategy depends on how well any given company is tracking its results at any given time.

“You can say, ‘we did this activity and here are the sales results,’ which are available through tracking and analytics,” Wangbickler describes. “If the campaign did not appear to be that effective, you can try again using AB testing; using two different pitches, then analyzing the two different sets of results. That’s using your data.”

Chris Denny
Chris Denny

Chris Denny is one of the Founders of The Engine is Red, a Santa Rosa and Minneapolis based agency that develops brand strategies, campaigns and interactive communications plans for national and regional clients.

Denny is most enthused about bringing digital and automated marketing into the wine industry, which he believes is on the brink of some truly ground-breaking shifts.

“Wine is an interesting, personal lifestyle business, ” Denny asserts. “Here’s this regulated, old school industry trying to do something different and exciting after being so traditional for so long.”

What Denny refers to is actually a critical paradigm shift from a focus on marketing retail shelves to a more comprehensive strategy that targets and engages consumers right at their level of interest.

“The world’s changed in the last 15 to 20 years,” Denny points out. “Back then, three tier dominated everything. The goal was to get on a shelf and do it well. Trade materials involved a neck on the bottle. Now, there’s a whole suite of options available.”

Included in that suite is access to digitized marketing with personalized messages tailored to what the audience wants and needs, which, Denny insists, can be customized to fit any brand within any sized budget.

“For instance, an independent winery with an on premise account … you could advertise to people who have been in that restaurant in the last 30 days, not to the other 300 thousand people in the city,” Denny explains. “It would be an amazing lift to the retailer; a commitment to that partnership.

“The newest, oldest, brokest wineries can do this at an incredibly low cost.”

Both Wangbickler and Denny acknowledge that successful digital marketing strategies require careful, goal-setting analysis at the onset and consistent tracking throughout the campaign to achieve the best results.

But they affirm that the time and budget extended are well worth the effort.

“There are lots of ways to spend money at a winery,” Wangbickler reasons. “Like that event you hosted … how much did you make? You spent twenty, maybe thirty thousand dollars. Did you make that back? You could take that money, put it into digital marketing and see what happens.”

“Remember, you get lots of data about worked and what resonated,” Denny adds. “It’s not just ROI about budget data – it’s all of it.”

Michael Wangbickler and Chris Denny will be discussing digital marketing options for the wine industry during a conference session at the upcoming WIN Expo Trade Show and Conference in Santa Rosa on December 5, 2019 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

The title of their workshop is “The Technology Impact on Wine Sales; Are You Ready for Automated Marketing?

Bryan St. Amant, the Founder and CEO of VinterActive LLC, and Elizabeth “E” Slater, the Founder of In Short Direct Marketing will join them.

For more information and registration, go to http://wineindustryexpo.com.

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