The 3rd annual VingForum took place April 12, 2018 and drew another sold-out group of winery owners, managers, and other key players in the wine industry. This year’s theme “Becoming Unforgettable” produced stellar panels addressing marketing beyond the basics, wine club retention, and 5-Star Culture.
Paul Mabray kicked off the day as the surprise guest, and staying true to his outspoken fashion, urged wineries to take chances on innovation, “fail forward,” learn all of the time, and “resist the no.” The speakers of the day top the leaderboard of innovation and are taking big risks that are paying off. Here are some of the highlights from the panels.
Ramp up Marketing Efforts:
  • Customer Feedback Tool on Websites
  • Marketing Calendars to
    • Stay organized and consistent
    • Include events, club runs, release schedules, and campaigns
  • Monthly Cross-Channel Campaigns
    • Winery & Wine Club Exclusive
      • Tasting Room
      • Email
      • Outbound Sales
      • Social Media
    • Outbound Calling
      • Does it make sense for your winery? Outsourced or In-House? You must test and measure and learn from it. One size does not fit all!
      • Your customers want to hear from you but you must be respectful and relevant. If you outsource find a provider who best speaks your brand message.
      • Identify your goals first to determine your approach (increase sales, move inventory, build relationships)
      • You get what you pay for!
      • This should not be a DIY project in the short term or the slow time. It is an investment! It requires focus, commitment, and dedicated resources.

Hot Trend in Wine Clubs- Are You Willing to Take a Chance?
  • No more discounting for wine club members
    • Attracts qualified members that value the wine, not the discount
    • Limited access attracts
  • Custom clubs
    • Increased Sales
  • Wine Club Loyalty
    • Send those that are in the club for a certain amount of years gift certificates *for events (they could also have the option to gift them)
    • Send calendar of events (paper) to club members in shipments

Wine Club Retention- You Worked Hard to Get Them- How Do You Keep Them? Ideas That Go Above and Beyond:
  • Thank them! So simple, yet often forgotten
    • Wine Club Manager introduce themselves and give club information in a thank you email sent the day the member joins
    • Handwritten thank you note from team member who signed them up
  • Events
    • Establish a “member path” from the time they see marketing campaign to purchasing tickets, to arriving at the event. Make them feel special every step of the way.
    • Limited complimentary seats based on club tier
      • Demonstrates value
      • Affirms commitment to attend
      • Seat revenue covers cost
    • Know Your Members
      • Learn what they like, remember details like dog’s name, just had a grandbaby, etc. (keep CRM notes)
      • Market to their interests!

5-Star Culture- Building and Cultivating an Inspirational Environment for Employees and Guests
  • Core values at the core of everything
    • Incorporate questions asked during an interview to see if they match to your winery.
    • Mission statement always reflected in decisions
  • Visit other luxury places to get ideas. Go with your management team for team building!
  • Look at the data. If you can’t measure it, what’s the point?
    • Internal & External environment analysis
    • Establish goals and choose strategies to implement
    • Measure and evaluate performance
  • The best marketing strategy is Care!
    • How do you figure out what the customer wants and cater to that? Find out personal information. Ask questions. Know their kids names!

Final thoughts for the day: be in-tune with what’s happening at your winery. Shop your own cart, invest in mystery shopping, and measure your guest experience. What gets measured gets managed!

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