Archive - marketing RSS Feed

From Chelsea to Vienna

This blog will be mainly dedicated to the upcoming European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) in Vienna over the next week or so – assuming I find a moment to write thoughts down.

However, I am also writing a bit on my Posterous blog (which is easier to write from my iPhone) which will, I hope, one day be more integrated with this site. In the meantime, here is a link to some thoughts on the Fine Wine Fair taking place this weekend in Chelsea – pop down there if you have the time for some good wines.

>> It’s a fine time for fine wine

Enhanced by Zemanta

International Grenache Day

Today, in case you had not already been deluged by tweets about it as I have, is International Grenache Day. Today we celebrate the Grenache grape, which has been called an “unsung hero” of the wine world.

Grenache remains mostly under-acknowledged in the world of wine – a “supporting cast member” or “the girl next door.” However, the potential for Grenache’s popularity is huge, with its juicy, luscious fruit, warm spice, balanced acidity and supple tannins. An aim of IGD is to create a wave of familiarity and interest so that one day people will walk into their favourite bar or restaurant and ask for a ‘Glass of Grenache’ as they do currently with Pinot Grigio or Merlot.

(from: Grenache Symposium announcement)

Does it mean anything “official”? No! There is no UN list mentioning this day or this campaign, but it IS an excuse to taste some new wines with friends and share the experience – something social media is very good for.

The idea actually came out of the first International Grenache Symposium held earlier this year in France, and attended by an elite group of winemakers, journalists and other wine experts (yes, I was invited I’ll have you know, but I couldn’t go, so there!). To their credit they talked a lot, and probably drank a lot, but they also thought it would be worth starting a little ACTION campaign we could all join in on … so I believe that Chester Osborn, respected for both his wine making vision at d’Arenberg in Australia but also for his quirky fashion sense, first suggested that the 24th of September 2010 should be International Grenache Day.

Today, we are encouraged to try a Grenache based wine, learn about it, share it with friends, wear loud, funky clothes, and record the event in photos, words or video and share it with the world.

GRENACHE LOVERS UNITE – for the First Annual International Grenache Day!!

A global movement is afoot, to put Grenache in its rightful place on the wine map and we hope you will join us!

On September 24th, 2010, events celebrating the Great Grenache Grape will take place around the world. We’re asking all of you Grenache fans to approach your neighbourhood restaurant and/or favourite wine retailer (or use your own business, if applicable) to feature a special Grenache-centred activity. Maybe a sales promotion, a wine-tasting, or a special restaurant dish/menu designed for Grenache pairings… anything goes, for the greater good of Grenache!

I will choose a wine later (I have quite a few options in my wine rack) and I hope to encourage a few more to join the fun on twitter and facebook – and if you do join in, let me know.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Imbibe and some lessons to be learned

The recent Imbibe show was a curious demonstration of the divisions in the alcohol business, and hopefully one that will encourage things to change.


In a lightly packed Earls Court 2, Imbibe Magazine brought together players from the worlds of wine, spirits, beer (mainly from the craft world, not big brands) and a few mixed others such as Teapigs (… though strangely no coffee I could find). It was very interesting to see the effort spent not just on the exhibition, but also the 5(!) separate seminar areas.

I was only there briefly, mainly to say hello to people I know and to get to know the event. I was not disappointed in that – lots of familiar faces were among the crowd, but the crowd itself also included a lot of new faces you do not see at existing events – bar staff!

Therein lies the rub.

Bar staff do not buy alcohol for their business, but they do influence what alcohol is sold to consumers. In other words, the main behaviour that this show might influence was not the action of getting products listed in bars and restaurants, but ensuring the products are poured when they already are.

Almost all wine stands had tables around the edges of the stand, … creating a physical and psychological barrier

In the case of spirits, with lots of BIG brands with broad distribution, this is very useful. It is a chance to encourage existing customers to recall your brand and incentivise them to sell more … but that only works if the staff already know the brand and have it available to them. With tens of thousands of wines available in the UK alone, this is highly unlikely for the wine brands.

What particularly stood out for me was the difference in the approach to customers taken by the spirits brands compared to the wine stands, and it seems I was not alone in this view – even the editor of Imbibe, Chris Losh agrees (see his Just-Drinks column here)

Almost all wine exhibitors had tables around the edges of the stand, each with dozens of different wines available to taste, creating a physical and psychological barrier between taster/outside and exhibitor/inside. They probably intended this as a benefit; “Look at all my wines you can try.” Instead, it looked more like a gauntlet for any passing attendee to run.

Wine was coming across as challenging, testing and exclusive, something to be examined and learned rather than enjoyed.

On the other hand, the spirits stands were focused on many fewer products, maybe even just one. Their boundaries were open & inviting. The stands themselves included music, carpets, sofas, mock bars, tables and chairs. Attendees were invited to join in, rest and spend time experiencing the brand … and maybe also interacting with the exhibitor.

Which do you think might be the more effective of the two?

In the end, wine stands often had more staff than visitors, whilst dozens of visitors congregated in groups to chat and enjoy themselves on the spirits stands.

There will always be the issue of budgets. Spirits are products with big margins and bigger promotional budgets. They can afford to work on loyalty and relationships because they often already have distribution for their products, and drinkers expect to find the same brands in each bar. This forces new products to do the same and arrive not only with unique products, but with marketing plans and promotional budgets. It means that launching a new spirit brand is expensive, but the rewards are potentially high.

How might wine replicate some of that success?

It may be time for wine to stop trying to “educate” customers and consumers and more time entertaining and involving them.

If the Imbibe exhibition has another edition, I wonder if we will see a different approach?

Shock! Wine blog helps to sell wine

What is a “social media sale”? The answer is simple. A bottle, or more, of wine purchased where a post on a social media platform significantly influenced that behaviour. Measuring how much of this happens is another thing altogether.

Did this wine sell because of Social Media? YES! (see below)

Would a survey on “Does Social Media affect your wine buying habits?” have picked it up? I HIGHLY doubt it.

This is why I find critics of the potential of new channels to promote and help sell wine frustrating (as discussed on Rebecca Gibb’s interesting post here).

I happen to like wine (you may know that). I happen to enjoy Spanish wines (you may know that too). I like to explore the subject, and read others’ suggestions. I also respect certain writers more than others, so when they recommend something, I listen.

All these things came together when Jamie Goode recommended the “thrillingly good mencia” called El Cayado on his blog, so I set out to try and taste it.

Unfortunately for me, Oddbins is a pale imitation of its former self*. There are no shops in my part of London, and when I did make a trek to find an open shop, neither of the shops I found had even heard of it, never mind stocked it. I was out of luck. I gave up. One LOST “social media sale”.

Then a few weeks later I was on my way to a friend’s house for a BBQ and forgot to bring a bottle (it happens to the best of us). I knew there was an Oddbins around the corner so I popped in and asked the staff if they had “that new Mencia on their list?”.

“No, sorry sir” came the answer. Then I turned around and I happened to see a whole shelf of these wines. Oh dear! Almost ANOTHER lost “social media sale”.

I did pick up a bottle and gave it as a gift to my friends, along with the disclaimer that I had not tried it myself, but that it came highly recommended by someone I trust. Finally, 1 GAINED “social media sale”.

1 week later I received an email from my friend saying;

Hope you don’t mind me asking but over the weekend we opened the red wine you very kindly gave us the other week – and I have to say it was amazing. Hit all the right notes. … (we) both loved this one, wondered … where I could get a case from?”

BINGO! [Robert does a little "social media wine sales rock!" dance]

Now, if you ask my friend … “Do you use the internet to source wines?”, guess what her answer will be? No!

You tell me, can you imagine any other ways that blogs, twitter, facebook et al might also influence people directly or indirectly to buy wine? Of course you can.

Saying that it is hard to measure what effect blogs and twitter have on wine sales is one thing, saying that they don’t influence behaviour because you can’t measure it is another.

Have you got any stories of how you, or your friends, have bought (or sold) wine as a direct result of online content? Do let me know so we can help to correct this perception.

* This is true of the stock in the shops, the motivation of most of the staff I have met, and … what the hell is going on with their website? Note, for example, that this MENCIA wine is categorised as 100% Monastrell.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Virgin to tempt US consumers?

Virgin Wines
Image via Wikipedia

It’s a bit if speculation, but I’m guessing that Virgin Wines is about to start targeting US consumers having been built up in the UK.

Since they started they’ve always been at which, when they started (as one if the longest lasting players in this space), was sensible as country specific domains such as were still misunderstood and mistrusted.

It seems that they are transferring their existing site to the URL and asking bloggers who had included links to their old site to change all their links (a PITA for no specific reward other than doing a favour for our readers and their Google visibility).

Why would they do that? Presumably because they have separate plans for the .com URL

I have not seen any announcement about a US consumer launch, but it makes sense to expect one. It will be interesting to see how the model works in the complex US market, and what that means, also, for the UK business.

If they have a much bigger market they could end up simply sourcing more volume lines, or they could increase their buying power for more, small parcels of greater interest, we shall see.

Anyone know any more about this? Presumably someone at Virgin Wines is watching ;)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Page 8 of 19« First...«678910»...Last »