Winery marketing has changed a great deal in recent years. This change is, in part, due to the growth of the number of new wineries in the US in recent years. Scott Huntington is here to us tell what it’s like for any winery to market their products in todays fast paced world.
Whether due to the love of the grape, society’s collective need to escape, or the fact that making a living in the wine business is pretty awesome, the number of wineries in the United States has grown steadily in recent years. The word “steadily,” in fact, might be an understatement. In 2009, there were 6,357 wineries in the United States. That number ballooned to 7,498 wineries in 2012 − an increase of 18 percent in three short years.
Winery Marketing, A New Phase
Let’s pretend you just opened up a winery in northern California. You’ve dreamt about it for quite some time and finally decided to leave your job as a consultant at an IT firm and pursue your passion. That’s great and all, but you can’t just expect to open up a winery and see your business thrive out of the gate. So how do you differentiate your winery from the 3,532 other wineries in The Golden State?
The Importance of Creativity and Uniqueness in Winery Marketing
…you’re not standing out.
Today’s wineries are starting to fully embrace content marketing, forging creative campaigns that help expand outreach and build brand awareness. The ones who aren’t are getting left behind. You can have an outstanding wine, but it’s not going to do much good if no one comes in the door.
The View from an Insider in Winery Marketing
If you’ve read my previous articles on findingyourwaynow.com, you know that I used to work in the wine industry. Part of my time was spent in social media marketing. After months of posting boring status updates like “Come to our Wine Dinner on May 5” and getting zero response, I knew it was time to try something different. So, I started posting funny images.
It exploded like crazy, and by the next day had over 10,000 shares. If 10 people saw it each time it was shared (which is a very low estimate), that’s 100,000 views of our brand from my 15 minutes of work. An even bigger success was my “Wine Sink” that took about an hour to design but was seen by over two million people and still pops up all over the internet years later
I then started making quirky videos, such as this one, which was a spoof on Ken Burn’s Civil War. The winery quickly got a reputation of being a fun place with a great sense of humor, and our follower count grew tremendously and became very active and loyal. The neighboring wineries who were still posting fireplace pictures were getting left in the dust. If you’re interested, you can check out all of my funny wine images here.
It’s Not Just Me
Sure, I had a lot of success with creative marketing, but I’m not the only one. Other wineries are choosing to get people in the door by hosting fun, unique events. Take City Winery in New York City, for example. The establishment hosts an eclectic concert series, drawing music fans in for some tunes and wine. Then there are places like Carlos Creek Winery that hosts grape stomping events every fall. Located in Minnesota, that event—which also features live music, art and food vendors, chainsaw carving and glass blowing demonstrations and more—attracts more than 15,000 people annually, according to the winery’s website.
Wineries are also connecting with other companies for special events that attract both sets of customers. Like a local winery teaming up with Havahart to have a “pet day” where people can bring their four-legged friends to the winery for animal-related events and specials. These events are huge hits, and benefit all groups involved. There are all sorts of fun ways to promote these events, too.
A Looking Ahead in Winery Marketing
In today’s Internet-driven world, wineries are starting to reach deep into their pockets and come up with innovative advertising strategies in order to spread brand awareness. By making use of such strategies in the wine industry, they’re able to stand out amongst their competitors as their fans share their unique, engaging content with their friends and loved ones. Or perhaps someone sees their favorite band is playing at a winery they’ve never heard of, so they go, get a few bottles, and get hooked.
Of course, there still needs to be a good product to get people to come back. Wineries can’t shift their focus TOO much and take this as a sign that they can still make money with a mediocre wine (although, that’s a whole other post in itself). Wineries that are using this new phase of marketing for an outstanding product are making a killing.
So now I want to know, what cool marketing techniques have you seen from your favorite wineries? Leave a comment to let me know!
Time for a glass…