Women & Wine – Wineries Take Note – More Than Half of WOM is Offline

This past weekend I wrote a blog about the State of Social Media in the Wine Biz about what’s going on online and how to join the conversation. There’s more to the picture than online Social Media strategy and the results of this study sums it up well.

In May of this year, Keller Fay conducted a survey about the most talked about brands using Social Media.

“The results confirmed earlier Keller Fay findings that there is value in looking at both online and offline forms of WOM. Social media-only analysis is “not a mirror” of all WOM, and one does not predict the other, says COO Brad Fay. TalkTrack data indicates that 90% of WOM takes place offline, and 1% via social media such as blogs and chat rooms, he reports.”

“Overall, about half of WOM is tied to marketing communications efforts, and more than 80% relates to the experiences that consumers have with brands, Fay adds. Whatever media or channels are used, “today, the test of effective marketing is whether it drives conversation,” he says. (from MediaPost)

This should give clarity to wineries that Social Media and Marketing strategy extends to the experience of tasting and sharing a glass offline (yes, I guess that does include Virtual Tastings).  In the past 18 months, the internet and cell phone apps have added a lot of choices for communicating about wine, price comparison, comparing notes, reviewing scores but at the end of the day getting your wine into the glass of the right consumer will get people talking.

But why is this so hard to achieve?

My opinion?  Restaurant wine prices are too high for consumers to ‘experiment’ with choices when it comes to buying wine by the bottle.

Is there perhaps an opportunity for restaurants to increase wine sales again by having nightly ‘tastes’ of a few selected bottles so that the dinner who is watching their money can have a better picture of the wine they will be ordering? Would that succeed in driving more bottles sales for restaurants?

In many cases, the BTG selections aren’t what’s driving WOM. Most wine lists have also chosen to select different BTG selections than what’s available by the bottle so we’re really not giving the wine lover much to work with when we ask them to trust our choices in the premium category.  Based on the mark-up, they might still end up settling for the glass.

Restaurant purchases are the best opportunity for wineries to have consumers experience their wine so perhaps more innovative approaches can be adopted to introduce the wine to the consumer and at the same time help the restaurants sell more wine.

Wineries have started the conversation online  and need to be applauded for their email campaigns, newsletters and more but new ideas need to be implemented to get the consumer talking about the experience – where they had it, who they shared it with, etc. to move the needle on WOM.

Recently several wineries in CA (and probably around the U.S.) have started ‘pick-up’ parties – once a month events at the winery for wine club members to come out and pick-up their selections as well as taste other wines from the winery, have light food and sometimes entertainment and connect with other wine club members.

This seems like a great way to start a WOM campaign that will be shared by wine lovers with fellow wine lovers and the wineries who have added this to their marketing efforts should be applauded.

We need more innovation for Social Media offline in places where the wine is available for sale for really grow this side of the business.

And if you’ve had successful offline WOM marketing campaigns, I’d love to hear from you. And wineries, don’t forget that you can post your events for FREE at http://womenwine.com.

Email me julie@womenwine.com.

follow me on twitter @womenwine

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