Category Archives: Social Networking

Let Your Sales Flag Fly: 5 Tips for Boosting Holiday Direct Sales

As the “O” of O,N,D draws to a close, there’s not a winery out there that’s not feeling the squeeze – or lack thereof.  It seems that smaller wineries and boutiques are hardest hit, with retailers and restaurants alike eschewing these lesser known bottles for product with recognizable names and brand affinity. This doesn’t hurt just businesses in the wine industry – consumers will only have a fraction of the choices they would normally have this season for gifts and special occasion wines. With small businesses losing ground in retail and restaurant environments and consumers looking for more variety, wineries have a chance to make up the loss this holiday season with two magical words: Direct Sales.

At one time taken for granted and simply relegated to the “Wine Club” list, direct sales will be many businesses bread and butter this season. The unprecedented access to new consumers via social media and the significantly higher profit margin of selling bottles at full retail give wineries both the platform and the flexibility they need to be creative and drive sales for the season.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. There is a tremendous amount of planning, logistics, creativity, outreach, time and effort involved in pulling together a successful direct sales campaign. But the payoff, for this season and for holidays to come, is well worth the effort. Below are a few tips on how to formulate the plan that’s right for YOU.

  1. Assemble a Team and Make the Commitment – Hand-pick a small group of people within the business to help create and execute the plan. These should be people with different skills and interests that you can draw from to build a solid direct sales plan. Once you’ve assembled your team, make the commitment to create a plan and see it through – and ask that they do the same.
  2. Take Stock of Your Resources – Take a good hard look at the resources you have at your disposal, and I mean everything. Take into account  the obvious like your mailing list, wine club, upcoming tasting events, etc., but also think outside the box a bit. Is there an artist in your midst? Is your young tasting room employee a social networking whiz? Have you earned a nickname from the locals? Get your team together and write up a list of these resources. Keep this list in full view while you are coming up with your plan.
  3. Give People a Reason to Buy – It’s not just enough to have the product, you must give your consumers a reason to purchase YOUR product. Is it great pricing? A special bottling? Are you donating some of your proceeds to charity? Is your winemaker signing the bottles? Look to your list of resources and come up with a reason or reasons why people must have your wine.
  4. Create a Full Campaign – Sales campaigns are not just for huge corporations. Gather your team, keep your list of resources in full view and let yourself be a marketing genius. Create a fun and catchy name for the plan, set your goals and timeline, create special pricing or shipping terms, and make sure you have the infrastructure to support everything on your website and in the tasting room. Aside from having all the logistics in place, it’s also important to have FUN while creating your campaign. Using humor is a great way to get people interested in your product and campaign.  The more fun it is for you, the more fun it will be for your potential consumers to be a part of it all.
  5. Use Social Media – If you could push a button and magically reach THOUSANDS of new consumers that you’ve never had access to before, would you use it? OF COURSE. That “magic button” is social media. It doesn’t matter if you’re not on facebook, or don’t understand twitter – find someone who does. There is no reason to deny your business of the successful season you need simply because you don’t “get” facebook. Social media is a tool that businesses must use to get the most out of any campaign. Choose someone intimately familiar with social networks to be on your team and utilize their knowledge and contacts.

It’s not too late to make the most of this of this season for any winery who has the drive. Incorporate these five tips while coming up with your direct sales plan, watch an episode of Mad Men for inspiration, get up, and take the season into your own hands.

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Filed under Direct Sales, Growth, Holiday, Marketing, Outreach, Social Networking

Some Serious Advice: Carol Phillips Speaks Out About Millennial Marketing

A couple weeks ago, Pete Krainek of The CMO Club posed questions to Millennial Marketing guru Carol Phillips about how companies and CMOs can more effectively reach out to the Millennial consumer group through marketing.  On May 29th, Ms. Phillips posted the conversation on her fabulous blog, Millennial Marketing, and the results are short, sweet and worth their binary 1’s and 0’s in gold.

Below are some excerpts of the interview (many of these topics have been discussed recently here on The Millennier).  If reaching out to Millennials is something that you – or your company – is trying to do (and you’re reading this, so it IS), this is some important information that will be crucial in building your successful approach.

“Millennials are literally begging wine makers to market to them.”

– Carol Phillips

For the full posting of the interview, go here. (For those of you who have not taken a look at Ms. Phillips blog, I highly recommend. Like, HIGHLY.)

Photo: Carol Phillips and friend, Emily Fleming. Carol is President of research and consulting firm, Brand Amplitude, and teaches marketing at University of Notre Dame.

Carol Phillips answers  questions about marketing to Millennials.

More and more companies are looking to engage, market and sell more effectively to Millennials. What are the most important things CMO’s should consider as they develop their marketing plans?

The most important thing is to take time to truly understand their core values. It’s easy to get caught up in studying their buying behavior, media use and latest-must-have technology. But if you study their values, you will have a better idea of how to connect with them. Obama and Apple won their hearts because they ‘think’ like Milllennials.

In study after study — on beer, education, social media, philanthropy, workplace needs and news media — we find that understanding Millennial values helps shed light on behavior. Taking the time to really ‘get’ the way they think is well worth the effort and pays dividends in how you manage, communicate and ultimately market to them. Without those insights, the paradoxes can be baffling.

Who does a good job in engaging millennials and why?

Millennials love brands, but are cynical about marketing. They distrust commercial messages, so any effort must be authentic and come from a trusted source. The absolute best way to engage them is through each other. Our advice to clients is to engage them by giving them ‘social currency’, in the form of experiences and information, and then make it easy to share. Starbuck’s Red promotion at the holidays, Taco Bell’s long running late night promotion, and the Ford Fiesta car giveaway contest all have great Millennial appeal because they are about sharing. In the entertainment area, ABC Family did a great job of repositioning ‘family entertainment’ to be more Millennial-friendly.

What are some examples of approaches that didn’t work or miss the boat?

An iconic brand currently popular with Millennials, but is due for a makeover, is Corona. Millennials love sophisticated tastes in beer, wine and spirits, and they prefer imported beer. But their idea of relaxation is not going on vacation or sitting on a beach. Relaxation is something that needs to happen every day, like watching Family Guy, throwing a frisbee to a dog or making a great meal.

Beyond specific brands, there are whole categories that are missing the boat. Millennials are literally begging wine makers to market to them. Casual restaurants also are missing an opportunity to build community around their brands. Realtors, travel and financial services need to start clueing into their future target.

Any myths you think out there on Millennials that CMOs should not believe as fact?

Yes, there a lot of myths. Unfortunately some of them have a grain of truth to them so it can be hard to sort out what is real and what is not. The main caution is not to make the mistake of thinking Millennials are simply younger, more techo-savvy versions of Boomers and X’ers. If you have teenagers or young adult children, you know this is true. They simply ‘think different’. Their sheer numbers make it inevitable that they will shape us – marketers and managers – more than we will shape them.

What final words of advice do you have for CMOs looking to improve engagement and sales results with Millennials?

Listen to your own Millennials, at home and in the office. They will give you the best advice about how to reach others like them. We learn from our younger colleagues, our own kids and my students every day. There are also a lot of great blogs written about marketing by Millennials. Finally, its not a challenge to talk to them online – they love to talk and they literally ‘live’ online.

AMEN CP!

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Filed under Basics, Marketing, Outreach, Social Networking

Wine’s Facebook Debate

fb-question

Here’s the question: Is it worth it for wine businesses to invest the time and effort into working with Facebook?

Short answer: If you care about the Millennial Generation, YES IT’S WORTH YOUR TIME.  Every argument that I have heard to the contrary seems to be lacking some crucial and basic knowledge about the use of the social networking site.  Let me fill in the blanks.

A (VERY) BRIEF HISTORY

Facebook was created in a Harvard dorm room as a student directory for the school.  This was in 2004 and was originally called “The Facebook.”  Within 4 months they had expanded out to 40 colleges.  Mark was roughly 20 years old when he moved the company to Palo Alto the following summer and you can pretty much guess the rest.

Take a good look at the picture.  This is the founder and CEO of facebook.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

SO WHAT?

Facebook was created specifically for the Millennial generation by one of our own.  This is very important to keep in mind.  In reading and listening to wine industry social media-types rail on the uselessness of this network, I hear a basic lack of understanding in how my generation specifically uses facebook.  From all that I’ve heard from these conversations, those with strong opinions tend to dismiss facebook as simply a way for old high school acquaintances to re-connect and play goofy vampire/mob/zombie games online.  Which in all fairness may be exactly how they use the site.

For millennials, however, it is much more.  I’ll only speak for myself and my friends here, but to us facebook is a lifeblood of communication.  We get to work in the morning, log into our email then log into facebook.  This networking site is how we know who broke up with whom, who’s birthday it is, where people are going on Saturday night, and who just got engaged.

someecards.com

someecards.com

It’s also a very effective way to communicate privately via the “Send A Message” (which is an in-system email).  Carol Phillips, a Marketing Instructor at the University of Notre Dame, clearly gets it.  She is the president and owner of Brand Amplitude, LLC  and the mother of two millennials.  On her excellent blog, Millennial Marketing, she states “I completely change my habits when communicating with Millennials. To reach my daughter and son quickly, text is the only way to go. My teaching assistants? Facebook messages. I once sent my TA’s Amazon gift certificates to their email address. It took a suggestion to their Facebook account to look for it before they even noticed.” You can leverage this effectively by tagging your fans in your notes & posts.

HOW TO

When you create a page for your winery or business on facebook, you allow others out there to become your “fan.”  Let’s say we’re facebook friends and you just created a page for your winery, FB WINES.  I’ll see on my newsfeed that you’re a fan of FB WINES and I click on the icon.  I’ll be taken to the page, where I can add myself as a fan.  Done.  You can also post it to your status or publish it as a note tagging basically everyone you know.  It’s very simple to get your page out to your network, then THEIR networks will see on your friends’ profiles or in their own Newsfeeds that people are fans of FB WINES and so on and so forth.

Creating a page  facebook is INCREDIBLY easy.  Just go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php a great guide on the new pages format is here.  You can also reach a link to create a page right at the bottom of the login page at http://www.facebook.com .

GOT IT?

There’s some initial set-up time – anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour if you’re a type-A like myself – but it’s completely offset by the benefits.  Of all the Pages that I’m a fan of, 95% of them I added because I saw it on my Newsfeed from a friend or on their profiles.  Once you get your page out there, let it work for itself.

Now, once you’ve got some fans you can have as much or as little fun as you want, but remember, the more you update it, the more your name will be out there in the facebook community and the higher your chances of gaining more fans.  You can add events and invite people, upload photos of new products, even just updating your status message will bring people to your page.

This isn’t just for wineries, by the way.  A great example of a retailer taking full example of a facebook page is Silverlake Wines.  This is a local LA wine store that embraces the younger generations (millennial and x) of their neighborhood and greater LA.  Customers are rabid fans and jumped all over their page.  Next time you are on facebook, I encourage you to check it out, become a fan and see just how they’ve mastered the medium.  You can link directly from their page.

OK, GO!

Now that we’ve de-bunked some of those myths, get out there and create your page. If you’re having trouble with decisions on what to include, do a quick search and see what else is out there.  Or you can grab the nearest millennial – odds are they can offer some valuable insight.

And feel free to comment with a link to your shiny new facebook page so I can help you get the word out and become a fan.  Best of luck and have fun!

Thanks to WineDiverGirl for her great post on this topic to which I responded with a comment that was FAR too long and realized I needed to write my own.

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Filed under Marketing, Social Networking