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Wine and Grape Symposium

Smoothing the bumps

Marketing consultant offers tips on how to develop a successful sales strategy.

By Susan McIver P

rofessionalmarketer and consultant ScottDavis of Kelowna had some advice forwinemakers this summer on howtomarket their product in today’s sales climate. Although theywere presented at the 14th annual Enology and

Viticulture Conference and Trade Showin Penticton,Davis’ tips also are relevant to others in the agricultural industry, including owners of producer stands and promoters of newfruit varieties. “I don’t considermyself awine expert, but I’ve had over 15

years of experience in design, advertising andmarketing,” he said. His background includes national award-winning branding

campaigns for the CentralOkanagan EconomicDevelopment Commission, TourismKelowna andQuail’sGateWinery. At the beginning of his upbeat presentationDavis hadwords

of caution,which beganwith “no one knows the future.” “We can’t controlMotherNature and there are always lots of

unanticipated factors such as the importation of foreignwines and a decrease in restaurant sales of food and beverages because of the recession. I hope to prepare you for some of the bumps in the road” he said. Stability and visibility inmultiplemarkets are the keys to

surviving those bumpsDavis explained. The good news is thewine climate is hot and trendy and the

quality of BCwines is outstanding. “Dowhat you do best.Make goodwine.Win awards.Get

good reviews. Educate the consumer,”Davis said. Marketing and sellingwine requires entirely different skills

fromgrowing grapes andmakingwine. Largewineriesmaywish to hire consultants but owners of

smallerwineries have little choice but to learn those newskills. “Treat yourmarketing likemaking yourwine,” saidDavis. Among the similarities he sees in the two processes are: Growit—Develop a plan, seed your own or graft already

successful ideas. Pick itwhen it’s ripe—Look for trends,what’s happening. Squeeze it and crush it—Maximize the potential, control

advertising costs andmaximize PR. Mature it—Don’t rush the process, somemarketing

campaigns take two or three years tomature. Test it—Do consumer tastings, use responses to Facebook

pages to determine if you have the rightmessage, the best photographs. Add your own unique ingredients—Tell your story,

develop your brand personality. Sample it again—Howmany people are coming to your

wine shop, howmany are tweeting about you,modify your strategy accordingly.


Scott Davis suggests winemakers give marketing the same careful attention they devote to what goes into the bottle.

Bottle it up—The all-important presentation, the visuals

the consumer sees, such as types of bottles, labels, brands. Sell it, serve it and pair itwith other good stuff—

Provide free tastings at events for non-profit groups, have a reciprocal arrangementwith something like a yoga studio where they hand out discount coupons for yourwinewhile you do the same for their business. Themultitude ofmarketing options in social and traditional

mediamakes designing amarketing strategy difficult. “If I had all of the answers, I’d be lounging on a tropical

island rather than here,”Davis said. His basic advice is to keep it simple and diversify. “Youwant to get the consumer to notice you, promote you

and remember you,” he said. Socialmedia such aswebsites, Tweeting and Facebook are

important tools. About 90 percent of customerswill recommend brands after

socialmedia interactions,”Davis said. Socialmediawork becausemost types allowfor two-way

interaction in contrast tomainly static printmedia, TV and radio. “Consumers like interaction, love to be educated andwant to

be the guru,”Davis said. He alsomentioned some limitations of socialmedia. “Just because they LIKE you on Facebook does not

necessarilymean they like you enough to come to your tasting room.” When building awebsite, don’t hesitate to hire professional

designers andwritersDavis advises. Thewebsitewill be your electronic face to theworld,make it

as attractive, informative and personal as possible. This is an excellent place to tell yourwinery’s story, your personal story, interesting local history, special attributes of the

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Fall 2013 11

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