It’s no secret: the wine industry is saturated. Walk into any wine and/or liquor store and you will quickly be overwhelmed with options, unless of course, you know what you are looking for. Consumers might as well skip over to the chardonnay aisle, find the $7-$12 per bottle range, put on a blindfold, and ever-so-gently navigate their way to the lucky winner–sounds kind of fun, actually! For the consumer, oversaturation is a good and bad problem to have, but for winemakers and wine sellers, it is a bit of a pickle.
Plenty of research has gone into the effects that promotional events, such as wine sampling, wine tastings, wine special events, wine demos etc… have on wine sales, but in our opinion, not enough wine producers or wine sellers are using the data to their advantage. Studies have shown that the average consumer has a five times better chance of purchasing a wine after trying it, versus not. More specifically, a study conducted by researchers from Cornell University and the University of Houston showed that promoting wines in restaurants increased their overall wine sales by up to 12%. Not only that, it also helped restaurants increase their total sales (food, wine, beer & nonalcoholic) by up to 21%. Clearly, consumers are happier when they get free wine samples!
We know that sales are important, but it is also important to look further into what your target market is and where to find them if you want to continue to increase sales. Participating in wine events, wine samplings and wine tastings are great ways to start collecting that info. Once you tap into your desired audience, word-of-mouth marketing will naturally grow as well. Marketing is something that often gets lost among winemakers, as the focus on production and sales tends to reign superior, but it is a trend that needs to be bucked for future success. We aren’t saying that Robert Mondavi should start pumping out Super Bowl ads like Anheuser-Busch or Captain Morgan, but actively promoting wine is becoming more and more necessary.
Despite our notion that wineries, winemakers and sellers aren’t using this type of data effectively, we also understand that their isn’t a whole lot of help out there to get the right people in front of your product. Running a successful wine promotion starts with having knowledgeable Wine Brand Ambassadors that can effectively inform and communicate with prospective consumers. Wine is a different beast than its friend in the beer industry and requires a more educational, but delicate approach–you don’t want to be intimidating to consumers–and the reality is that there are not many promotional agencies that can do this effectively.
A simple internet search will reveal that there are not many promotional staffing agencies that even have Wine Professionals, or the qualified staff to run an effective wine event or wine promotion. Even if you do happen upon one, the next big question is: are they local? We at Modern Talent believe we have the solution to both problems with a professional team of Brand Ambassadors that specialize in promoting and selling wine. Not only do our Wine Professionals receive extensive professional development wine brand knowledge and how to specifically sell wine, but we also have staff located in 13 states throughout the Midwest and other parts of the U.S. We continually strive to provide local talent throughout the states we operate in, and our ability to staff and operate remotely allows us to excel in this area.
We believe that proper training and staffing locally are two of the biggest keys to running successful wine promotions and wine events. Whether it’s welcoming consumers to a booth or approaching them at a restaurant, having local connections creates a more comfortable and familiar experience for prospective buyers. Being able to answer all of their questions only further contributes to consumer satisfaction–the focal point of another Cornell University study. Miguel Gómez, an associate professor at Cornell, conducted a study on the effects that wine “tasting rooms” had on consumer satisfaction and if they increased sales. His findings:
“Our study of tasting room attributes in 12 Finger Lakes wineries showed that customer satisfaction is directly tied to increased sales. Attention to the details of the tasting room experience can convert a “satisfied” customer to a “highly satisfied” customer who will buy on average one additional bottle of wine, spend an additional ten dollars, and is highly likely (92% probable) to become a repeat customer.” — Miguel Gómez
Tasting rooms are slightly different that what we are talking about with in-store wine promotions, wine tastings, wine demos and wine events, but the concept remains the same: engage with consumers, let them sample the wine and not only will they be more satisfied, they will also buy more wine. At Modern Talent, we constantly talk about how people generally want to invest in the people behind a product vs. the actual product itself, and the case can be made even stronger for the wine industry. Positioning friendly, well-trained Wine Brand Ambassadors in front of your product will help connect your business to consumers, as well as convey the story you want told about your wine.
A big part of growing wine sales is differentiating and connecting with consumers, which is virtually impossible through creative labeling in wine aisles in the current market. There are simply too many options. The best way to grow sales and reach out to consumers is to get out and talk to them, but you don’t have time for that because you’re too busy making and/or selling wine! Your next best option: hire Wine Brand Ambassadors to run wine samplings, wine tastings, wine special events and/or wine demos for you. We can’t speak for other promotional staffing agencies, but we at Modern Talent believe we have the necessary people and training to get your product into the hands (and mouths) of prospective buyers.