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Analog Marketing for Wineries

After a day filled with staring at a screen while consuming more than a hundred emails, thousands of tweets, 45 wine blog posts, dozens of Facebook statuses, a half-dozen voice mails, several text messages, and a few online digital marketing white papers, I wearily came home, checked a nearly empty mailbox and promptly sat down in a moment of quiet and proceeded to read the Kermit Lynch newsletter from front to back.  The tactile feel of the 8.5 x 11 paper folded once and stapled twice felt calm, permanent, and positively antediluvian, but wonderful ... a 10 minute respite from my day.

In fact, as highlighted in the newsletter, I wish I were going to be in Berkeley on September 18th because I would go to the Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant’ Provence Day party and get down with some bouillabaisse with a crisp Rosé.  That is a starkly different sentiment than what I feel from the repeated Tri-tip party invites I receive from Central Coast wineries via Facebook and the email invites to tastings in New York with a visiting winemaker.

I’ve found that I make time for catalogs and paper-based communications from other retailers and wineries, as well – Crush Wine & Spirits, allocation letters, etc.


Back in April, I talked about a burgeoning trend that has brands, brands of any size, approaching their marketing less like a sales effort and more like an enveloping concierge service.  It is a trend that I think has significant relevance for the wine industry, half hospitality and half, “I’m there for you” sensibility.

Then in July, I made mention that I think the days of a winery creating a vanity web site with ecommerce was a waning need, particularly when you can embed ecommerce on Facebook and enable legitimate one-to-one marketing, as opposed to marketing to nameless, faceless consumers at your web site.

Pete Blackshaw, a highly respected digital marketer and Executive Vice-President at Nielsen, indicates much the same in an Advertising Age article a couple of weeks ago. He noted:

So with all this relentless talk about Twitter accounts, Facebook fan pages and cool new apps, I have a serious and timely question. Do brand websites still matter?

At the end of the day, brands today live a decentralized, if not fragmented, existence. The brand “home” has line-extended itself into a network of smaller residences and rented apartments—or what we might call “brand stands”—all primed for meeting and interacting with the consumer at various stages in the purchase, loyalty or advocacy cycle. A Facebook fan page is a classic brand stand.

Well, after careful, sure, and highly non-scientific analysis, what I’m sensing is that now is the time for wineries to re-calibrate their marketing efforts on zagging because everybody else is zigging.  Or, more precisely, now that virtually all wineries have at least a toe dipped in the social media pool, now is the time to start swimming upstream against the current, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor.

Maybe the approach isn’t forsaking social media marketing, but it’s definitely time for a more holistic approach to building relationships with customers and potential customers.


Old is the new, “new.” And, a combination of social media and offline (analog marketing) seems to be a very good way of creating relationships with people, especially because so few wineries are engaged in what I call, “permanence marketing” – something that is paper based.

There’s another trend that plays into this, as well – Social CRM.  CRM, or customer relationship management, isn’t new, it’s been around since the late 90s and is the discipline of knowing, managing and archiving customer feedback information.  Social CRM takes that notion to a new level because it’s essentially the same with the added dynamic of managing two-way feedback instead of being broadcast in nature.

But, what Social CRM will allow a winery to do is to use all of the arrows in their quiver to build a relationship with somebody.  What these trends in combination with each other tell me is that very shortly wineries will have the capability to manage a converged database or living, breathing archive of not just their wine club members, or those that have purchased from their brand web site, but also who follows them on Twitter, who likes them on Facebook, who follows the company page on LinkedIN and they’ll have contact information for each —phone, email, mailing address.

While possible to build now, once the data gathering evolves to a place where information can be gathered in an easy fashion, wineries will be able to truly mix up their messages in any way they want to have a two-way conversation with consumers.

So, the long and the short of it is, honesty, transparency, storytelling and one-to-one communication isn’t going to go away, but what will become very important in a bits and bytes, hyper-current, throwaway, “yesterday is old” digital culture will be wineries mixing it up and using permanence marketing, something tactile that exists in the real world, as another means to envelop customers and potential customers and provide value.


The interesting thing about this combo online and offline marketing is that offline marketing is radically changing.  Here are a couple of resources for using the Internet to do permanence marketing:

Create Your Own Font

Send a card

Send a postcard

Create a magazine

Create stickers

Print a newsletter

Manage letterhead and letters


Posted in, Wine: A Business Doing Pleasure. Permalink | Comments (7) |


On 09/03, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Yes, everything old is new again—CRM has been around a long time, it’s just that the technology has been updated.

Back in the late 80’s, I was engaged in CRM in a more primitive form but using the good old format of the printed page—monthly newsletters, run of print advertising in newspapers, maintaining customer files with purchase and contact info, even sending out survey forms twice a year to see how we were doing and what to plan for the future.

The principles have not really changed, just the technology—and, as you have noted, using an appropriate mix of technologies covers more of your customer base. It simply gives you more ways to communicate the message and that’s the difference between marketing and advertising, right? Marketing is *what* you want to communicate to your customers, and advertising is *how* you communicate with them.

Some of us still appreciate the “high touch” values of the printed page, even more so now in the ephemeral days of electronic communication.

On 09/03, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

Jeff, this is an excellent post. I think you’re spot on.

- Sasha

On 09/03, SK wrote:


On 09/08, rap wrote:

excellent blog and i’m a french man !

On 09/09, The Ceci Sipper wrote:

Interesting post and you make great points. I am a Gen X-er, so for me I find this article great, because I have grown up with the internet, I have grown with this transition, so I can appreciate both the ‘new’ and still appreciate/value the ‘old’ style of marketing. I agree that a mixture of the two could be a killer recipe for successful marketing as well. I am curious though, when the generation being born right now (or in the last few years), being born into a world full of Social Media Marketing from laundry detergent to wine, when they become the new wine drinkers, will they remember the ‘old’ style? Will they use it? Will they adopt the ‘vintage’ style marketing as the ‘new’ thing to do? - Thanks for this post, all very interesting!

On 09/09, The Ceci Sipper wrote:

Thanks for this post! Very interesting! Being in the middle of Gen X, I grew up alongside the ‘modern’ internet. I agree with what you say because while I embrace and actively participate in the ‘new’ Soc-Med style of marketing, I still appreciate/value the ‘old’ style as well. I am curious though, when the generations being born now, being born into a world where Soc-Med marketing is used for everything from laundry detergent to candy, from tomatoes to wine, will they still remember the ‘old’ style as we know it? Will they use it? Will our ‘old’ become there ‘new’? All very interesting! Again, thanks for posting!

On 09/09, The Ceci Sipper wrote:

Sorry about the double comment, the first try said it didn’t go through, so I had to type again, feel free to erase one of them =P


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