"Stealing wine marketing ideas"

by Eve Resnick on April 8, 2008

in General

I “borrowed” my title to the very entertaining and slightly challenging article of Jim Gordon in winesandvines.com. Jim just came back from the wine marketing conference held in Ohio and entitled, “Permission to steal”. It would seem every speaker was very generous in sharing his or her knowledge and experience.

What attracted my attention was Jim’s assertion on Bill Geist’s talk: “Marketing consultant Bill Geist of Madison, Wis., amusingly dissected the American population by generation, to help wineries understand how to best reach different demographics.” Here is how Jim Gordon summed up Bill Geist’s conference:

“Geist suggested these marketing approaches by generation:

  • Matures (62 and over): Use the approach, “You’ve earned this.” They lived through the Depression and World War II.
  • Baby Boomers: “They want to feel special.” Give them an upgrade; call them by name.
  • Generation X: “They take nothing for granted. They’ve lived through tough times but now have kids and power. But their BS radar is high.” Testimonials from their peers can work.
  • Millennials (teens and 20s): Two-thirds aren’t in the wine market yet. “They’re smart, and they’re going to save the world. They’re also the most brand-loyal generation. Find out what they want, and make it.””

I don’t quite understand why this segmentation seems so amusing to Jim Gordon. Knowing the consumers as well as their social and behavioral patterns are the basics of marketing. I devoted three chapters (out of 7) in Wine Brands on the segmentation of consumers. In the US, this knowledge is crucial for wineries and brand marketers.

More interesting than this global segmentation, are the trends selected by Bill Geist to attract his 4 types of consumers: “Geist identified several trends on which wineries can jump: immersion travel, like expensive rock and roll camps for adults; drinking locally and eating locally; 90% of women say they plan to go on girlfriend getaways; weddings average more than $30,000 now, and 20% of them are held away from the bride and groom’s home location; and, 25% of the U.S. population has tattoos.” (Tattoos? Is it relevant for the wine world?).

Tattooed or not, consumers are changing even faster than the wine world thinks. Wineries have to adapt to those new behaviors and get immerses in the on line communities to listen to their potential customers.

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