It seems like the hot topic over the past few years in the wine industry has been Direct to Consumer (DTC) programs. Many wineries have shifted focus from National Sales to DTC. Why are wineries focusing on DTC marketing? What are the benefits? And what are the best DTC programs for your winery? We’re here to shed some light on the topic.

Let’s start with the main difference between Direct to Consumer and National Sales. National Sales in the United States relies most often on use of the three-tier system. With each tier, the winery loses a piece of their profit. Direct to Consumer allows wineries to sell wine directly to the consumer, retaining a larger percentage of the profit. The logic is simple, the fewer hands in the cookie jar, the better.
There are several different DTC channels to consider when developing your marketing programs. The most common in the wine industry include:
  • Tasting Room
  • Ecommerce
  • Events
  • Phone (Outbound and Inbound)
Remember that channels are defined by the way in which your customer chooses to purchase wine. And currently, the primary acquisition channel for winery consumers, both purchasers and wine club members, is the tasting room.
The remaining piece of a DTC marketing puzzle resides within the customer segments. Wineries’ customer segments include:
  • Purchasers
  • Non purchasers
  • Active Wine club Members
  • Inactive Wine Club Members
The important note here is that no DTC marketing can occur without contact information. You must obtain an email address, a phone number or a physical address before any marketing can occur.
Right Offer, Right Audience, Right Time, and Right Channel
So why is it important to analyze your DTC channels and customer segments? The more focused you can be with your goals and marketing, the better results you will receive. You may have heard that success comes when you make the “Right Offer to the Right Audience at the Right Time” – and we would add that the right channel is just as important.  A local consumer who has purchased in the tasting room previously may be most enticed by an email which contains an offer exclusive to the tasting room.  Wine club members who have responded to outbound telemarketing are more likely to respond to phone offers.
Do consider “right offer to right audience”…. For example when developing an offer for your wine club members consider their unique characteristics. An attractive offer might appeal to the exclusivity of the wine club and it should be timed to enhance rather than detract from normal club shipments.  For inactive wine club members, extend a limited time offer to purchase wine at their previous wine club discount. It’s all about extending the best offer to the best customer segment through the best DTC channel for them.
Now it’s in your hands. Become familiar with your database and your customer segments. Develop the best offer for the audience. And start 2012 off with a strong DTC plan in place. If you need advice, assistance or just a little hand holding, we’re here to help… call Pilar at VingDirect 707.934.5945