An interactive marketing expert told an estimated 450 wine industry attendees at the Jan. 18-19 Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium in San Francisco that low-cost digital tools, apps and games are driving today’s most successful brands—not messaging, the traditional advertising approach.
“The good news for small and medium-size wineries here today is that marketing is becoming more democratic,” said David Blum, the managing director of Ozone Online. “We are experiencing a massive and pervasive shift in the way that brands engage and communicate with their customers.”
Blum has developed marketing campaigns, platforms and experiences for big consumer brands like MINI cars, RadioShack and Columbia Sportswear. He explained what big brands like these are doing to create memorable experiences for their potential customers using digital media, and urged the many winery employees and supplier companies in the audience at the Stanford Court Hotel to follow their lead.
Old-school messaging To make his point clear, Blum cited the recent Dos Equis beer ad campaign featuring “the world’s most interesting man” as a particularly good example of old-school messaging. It’s one-way communication from the brand owner to the general public. The new experiential form of marketing is better illustrated by North Face, the outdoor gear maker, which built an app for smart phones called the Trail Finder.
It uses GPS technology to help hikers find the nearest trailheads. The app is branded by North Face, but it does no direct selling or promotion of North Face goods. Charmin developed a somewhat similar app for travelers needing to find public restrooms in a hurry; they called it called Sit or Squat. The restrooms may or may not be equipped with Charmin toilet paper in them, but the app carries the Charmin name and helps make friends for Charmin in a relevant context.
A winery that can’t think of an app like these may still be in an excellent position to create memorable experiences for potential customers if it has a tasting room to visit, conducts winemaker dinners or uses other marketing techniques that are old hat to wineries. Mass customization Giving customers and potential customers a way to interact with your winery is a good idea, Blum said. As inspiration, he cited MINI’s mass customization options for its cars.
Consumers can go online at no cost and design their own personalized MINI with dozens of options in colors, equipment, styling, etc., leading to hundreds of combinations. Blum said 30% of people who configure a car this way actually buy it.