Wine Marketing: Direct to Consumer Challenges and Opportunities

Vineyards

The acronym “DTC” aka direct to consumer is one of the most important concepts the wine industry as a whole must leverage in order to survive and thrive during our challenging economic times. Direct to consumer sales provide opportunities for  higher profit margins, increased special event sales, and to sell the ever vitally important wine club memberships. Yet with all that is riding on DTC, the awareness of the power of social media marketing as a sales channel remains under appreciated and under utilized.

Case in point, the Winebusiness.com “Direct to Consumer: 2009 Tasting Room Report.” Most interesting in this report are the hurdles or “barriers to maximizing DTC potential for all wineries. The reported challenges as well as  the opportunities to overcome the challenges may surprise you.

Common Barriers to Maximizing DTC Potential

  1. Compliance and Shipping: (39 percent) believe issues of compliance and shipping “still outweigh all other barriers
  2. Lack of Resources: (17 percent)  people, time and money
  3. Effective Technology and Systems: (13 percent)
  4. Acquiring Customers: (13 percent) aka lead generation
  5. Marketing Tools: (13 percent) believe a lack of DTC marketing tools like customer relationship marketing (CRM) and Web analytics

Opportunities to Maximizing DTC Potential

  1. Tasting Room Software: according to the report there are many online systems available to greatly reduce the challenges of shipping and compliance
  2. Lack of Resources: the three resources in question are people, time, and money. The answers should include social media marketing training to help key employees. The other solution is to hire a social media marketing agency to perform monthly marketing maintence and run your marketing program
  3. Effective Technology and Systems: nothing was specified. The obvious technologies that could improve DTC sales would be a blog and a social media marketing plan-strategy to engage with consumers on Facebook, and Twitter. Placing laptops in the tasting room so consumers can directly fan your Facebook winery page or follow your Twitter account(s) creates a bridge from real world to online world.
  4. “Acquiring Customers”: this challenge (lead generation) could be addressed with a DTC Twitter strategy in concert with a Facebook company page for customer relationship management
  5. Marketing Tools: CRM would be the role of a strategically implemented Facebook company page that engaged consumers and created “Call to Action” messaging.  Web analytic measurement tools could be implemented to measure each message delivered in specific channels including the blogosphere, Facebook, and Twitter for the messages relevance or effectiveness

Twitter Strategies: How To Create a First Time Auto Response Direct Message

The worst method of messaging on Twitter is the DM aka direct messaging channel. Built as a private messaging channel for people to connect with private information, it has quickly deteriorated into a channel of autoresponder spam messages for MLM, affiliate marketers, and useless junk. The following is the best and most palatable method to utilize autoresponder DM for a first time message to a new follower.

Auto Response Direct Messaging Strategy: The Only Way to Do It

I received this DM from dave_carpenter a  “Success partner for high achievers” whose mission is “Helping people to be the very best they can be.” Nice work Dave as you found a way to leave a first time auto response direct message:

DM Twitter

Conclusion: Dave Does it Right

Dave’s message is:

  • Honest as he states he is “Auto-confirming” aka using a autoresponder so the message is not personalized yet
  • Reassuring the rest of his direct messages will be personalized
  • Affirming he wants to learn more about you by “hearing your voice”
  • Tone of honesty and transparency makes his message very compelling
  • Follow Dave @dave_carpenter the link is above

The 10 Worst Marketing Tips: A “Marketing Gurus” Guidebook to Fame

Tony RobbinsIn “Top 10 worst marketing Tips” Barbara French states “. . . somebody out there is giving lots of companies dubious marketing advice.” Barbara’s list is a combination of real advice and a tongue n cheek look at the marketing consultants who claim to be social media “gurus.”  Let’s take a look at Barbara’s list and our thoughts.

“Top 10 Worst Marketing Tips”

1. BF: Let’s add 2.0 to that noun

dg: Web 2.0 is full of semantics that apply and then there are “marketing gurus” who come up with yet to be coined phrases hoping their semantic entry will catch on

2. BF: Let’s add 3.0 to that noun

dg: There is NOTHING more infuriating than to hear a “marketing guru” who does not understand Web 2.0 yet has christened their definition of Web 3.0 as the coming trend

3.  BF: If we use a cat in your video, it’s sure to go viral

dg: All furry animal videos result in youtube stardom and eventual guest appearances on Letterman right?

4. BF: Don’t worry about running it through legal review — this is the social web

dg: Use common sense, create a plan and rules for all employees participating in social media. Passing this on to legal is a sure fire way to add months to your launch

5. BF: We need to differentiate your message. Let’s turn all those keywords into verbs by putting an “ize” at the end

dg: Semantics and jargon are like salt– use sparingly. If you plan to humanize, personalize, economize, capitalize, or victimize anything- just say no

6. BF: It’s a mistake to strive for excellence. You should aim for good enough

dg: What is excellence to one person may actually be “good enough” to the rest of us. Strive for perfection and then fall short

7. BF: Every blog post should be short and pithy

dg: You could be Hemmingway yet nobody, according to useability expert Jakob Nielsen, reads more than 30% of your blog articles. If your readers are going to skim, then be short and pithy

8. BF: Create good content

dg: What’s wrong with good content? Write it and they may or may not come to your site. Write crap and they definitely will never show up

9. BF: Let’s place your messages where customers don’t expect to see them

dg: Ah yes the “we’ll fake them out by showing up where nobody goes” approach. This is a time tested path to failure

10. BF: Be brilliant

dg: Why didn’t I think of that? Brilliance is so underrated!

Sell Wine or Bust: Social Media Is A Winery’s Secret Weapon to Survival

Wine cellar

Computer Shopper published this deansguide article 9-11-09

Is there empirical proof that social media sells wine? If you take my experience, as an example, it does sell wine. If you are a Chief Marketing Officer, Wine Tasting Room manager, or anyone tasked with selling wine you may say no to social media. You may have created a Facebook page. You may have registered on Twitter. You may have even established a blog. Yet all of your efforts have fallen flat with a resounding thud! No uptick in sales, no mad rush to the tasting room, no phone lines burning off the hook. What happened? You forgot to do a lot of something-here are 6 reasons nothing has happened yet:

  1. Participation: you set up your Twitter, Facebook, blog, and LinkedIn presences thinking they would run themselves with minimal participation- wrong
  2. Plan: you showed up on each network without a plan to engage, a strategy, or a purpose
  3. Call to Action: you don’t ask your audience to do anything; your messages simply make statements without a compelling reason for audience participation with you
  4. Targeting: you utilize the “more the merrier” approach where you will shotgun your messages without targeting the audience that is most interested in your products and services
  5. Twitter: you are not utlizing Twitter as a source of sales leads and list building with consumers as well as businesses
  6. Facebook: you are not utilizing Facebook as your customer relationship management tool to build and maintain customer loyalty
  7. Measurement: you are not developing a system to track and analyze which messages are working to engage with customers, which messages are eliciting a call to action. Without this information, you can NOT continually tweak your strategy and messages to improve results

20 Google Facts That Will Surprise You

FoxNews , Post Tribune, &  The Courier News published this deansguide article 9-8-09

Google is the most influential force behind the proliferation of social media. Yet many of us think we know everything or close to everything we need to know about Google. In an eye opening article by Search Engine People’s Ruud Hein “20 Things You Don’t Know About Google” you can learn something new and in most cases be very surprised at what you did not know. Here is Ruud’s list and my impressions.

20 Google Facts

1. Adwords accounts for 99% Google’s annual revenue; dg: that seems obvious but we are just warming up

2. Google’s advertising revenue in 2008 was $21 billion; dg: incredible and more than I imagined!

3. 1.35% of the US’ Adwords advertisers make up 80% of Google US ad revenue; dg: this goes beyond the 90-10 rule

4. Adwords as we know it used to be called Adwords Select. The top banner position was sold old school style through a program call Adwords Premium; dg: I did NOT know that fact

5. The first Adwords Select ad was in 2000 for live mail-order lobsters; dg: you have to start somewhere, a precursor to WebVan?

6. Google’s pricing mechanism where the winner pays the runner up’s price was devised to prevent super-inflated bid prices but the second-price auctions resulted in higher prices for Google right away; dg: brilliant strategy

7. In 2009 Google began showing ads based on their previous online activities. User patterns are segmented in 20 categories and roughly 600 subcategories; dg: this will continue to expand and be refined

8. In 2008, 80% of 80,000 typo-squatting domains in the US alone were funded through Adsense; dg: that is a bit alarming

9. Google’s query forecasting models are founded in their efforts to understand and predict Adwords pricing and click patterns; dg: again this will continue to be refined

10. Although it doesn’t like to talk about using user data, Google cross references everything. “We have temperature data, weather data, and queries data, so we can do correlation and statistical modeling.”; dg: this is part of the power and “secret sauce” that makes Google

11. In the last 10 years Google’s latency has gone from 1000ms to 200ms.

12. In the last 10 years Google has made seven major rearchitecture changes.

13. Compared to 1999 Google’s index is now 100x larger but they update it 10,000 times faster; dg: growth and speed continue to be a Google staple and it is another building block that keeps them ahead of the other search engines

14. Google cataloged its trillionth web page in 2008; dg: with one trillion cataloged web pages will any company ever challenge Google’s supremacy in the search industry?

15. To translate one sentence Google does a million lookups in a multi-terabyte data structure.

16. To punish itself for artificial link inflation (paid links) Google penalized itself in 2009 by lowering the PageRank of it’s Japan domain from PR9 to PR5; dg: why not across the board?

17. Since January 2009 Gmail regularly beats YouTube in market share by US visits and is the 2nd most popular Google property; dg: very surprising considering Youtubes viral capabilities

18. The 3 largest traffic drivers for Gmail are Google, Facebook — and Yahoo! Mail…; dg: oh yea Yahoo helping Google is a bit like the Red Sox helping the Yankees–hard to understand

19. To encourage developer teams to move to new servers Google uses auctions where teams bid how many extra computers dedicated to their service it would take for them to move; the lowest bidding team wins.

20. In 2007 Google announced it will award $20 million to the 1st private team which builds a robot — and puts it on the moon; dg: my money is on Mark Cuban who is never shy about a challenge or the type of publicity this challenge would generate