Sell­ing wine used to be easy. Books: what hap­pened to Gold­mans?

Sell­ing a bot­tle of wine used to be easy. Now the dig­i­tal path­way to the con­sumer is a lot more com­plex. Where to start?

The Australian - The Deal - - News - Andrew Bax­ter is a leading ad­ver­tis­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive; find him on Twit­ter at @ an­drew­bax­ter3.


THE­ORY a century ago had mar­keters try­ing to reach con­sumers with the same mes­sage three times — the first to make them aware of the prod­uct or ser­vice, the next to build their knowl­edge of it and then the third to drive that con­sumer’s in­ten­tion to buy it.

Take the mar­ket­ing of wine in the first cou­ple of decades of the 1900s. Pen­folds is a great il­lus­tra­tion. There are some ter­rific ex­am­ples to be found in the var­i­ous state li­brary ar­chives, all ex­tolling the un­equalled qual­ity of the grapes and the wine it­self. It was a sin­gle­minded mes­sage, de­liv­ered to the po­ten­tial con­sumer along the var­i­ous points of what was then a fairly sim­ple path to pur­chase. Make the con­sumer aware of the wine via the print ad, re­mind them as they pass a bill­board on the train on the way home, build their knowl­edge via re­view­ing the wine in the news­pa­per and sam­pling it at an expo, and then en­tice them to buy as they walk past a well-dis­played store win­dow.

Fast for­ward to the sec­ond

decade of the 2000s, and the in­ter­net, tech­nol­ogy and a 20-fold in­crease in me­dia chan­nels mean a con­sumer goes along a far more com­pli­cated path to buy a bot­tle of wine. Nav­i­gat­ing all of this has be­come the holy grail for mar­keters — how to plan, ar­tic­u­late and ad­just the role of each mes­sage within each chan­nel in close to real time. And how best to use big data within CRM (cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship man­age­ment), dig­i­tal as­sets, ac­ti­va­tions, so­cial me­dia and ad­ver­tis­ing across a cus­tomer’s jour­ney — from in­ter­est to dis­cov­ery, to pur­chase, to us­age, and shar­ing opin­ions af­ter­wards.

So for a wine­maker to­day, a cus­tomer’s path to buy­ing its wine pro­vides not only a great chal­lenge for its mar­keters but also a great op­por­tu­nity. Con­sider a typ­i­cal 2014 jour­ney. Cus­tomers who love wine of­ten post on so­cial me­dia about

“The in­ter­net, tech­nol­ogy and a 20-fold in­crease in me­dia chan­nels mean a con­sumer goes along a far more com­pli­cated path to buy a bot­tle of wine”

which bot­tle they have just opened, and they sub­scribe to email and printed news­let­ters from some of their favourite winer­ies and their lo­cal bot­tle shop. They take note of the re­views from top wine crit­ics in mag­a­zines, news­pa­pers and on­line, and which wines are on spe­cial.

As they walk past a bot­tle shop on the way home from the sta­tion they are too time poor to stop de­spite hav­ing re­ceived a push mes­sage on their smart­phone for $10 off any pur­chase. So in front of the TV that night, they Google the two wines they were think­ing about, and then check out the prices at the winer­ies as well as two on­line sites and Dan Mur­phy’s. They look up at the TV and see Aus­tralia needs 20 runs in the last three overs to win, so they fig­ure they can sort out the wine pur­chase to­mor­row. The fol­low­ing day ads ap­pear on news. from two of the sites they had searched the night be­fore, as well as in their Twit­ter feed. They click on one and fi­nally buy six bot­tles. They then go back on­line to search the best way to cel­lar them.

You get the pic­ture: it’s com­plex. So where should mar­keters start? Map­ping out con­sumers’ paths to pur­chase is crit­i­cal, and in­volv­ing agency plan­ners, as well as re­tail­ers and ma­jor me­dia play­ers such as Google, is key, given the data and re­search they have at hand. Once the map is com­plete, it’s a mat­ter of look­ing at each con­sumer’s touch point with the brand along that jour­ney, and de­ter­min­ing the best mes­sage and chan­nel to use.

A re­cent study in the US saw 68 per cent of mar­keters put in­te­grated mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions as the No 1 skill they were look­ing for from an agency and, given all of the above, it is no won­der. With a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage avail­able to those brands that get to this mar­ket­ing nir­vana first, one can ex­pect this to be a hot topic for the C Suite this year.

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