Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Beyond word of mouth

During these economic times (I can't wait until I don't have to hear that phrase anymore), marketing dollars need to stretch further than ever before. The institution of marketing has turned squarely towards Word of Mouth. The concept that the most effective and sincere way to get depth of sales is through people telling other people about their positive experiences with the brand or product. The challenges with such an approach are numerous. The least of which may be that it's nearly impossible to track. The other is the seeming insincerity of exploiting such behavior.Even with all of the problems, word of mouth can be a very powerful tool. In regards to wine, perhaps even more powerful.
The landscape for the wine consumer is very confusing and complex. People don't like to ask for help unless they absolutely need it.If they find a wine they like, they are likely to champion it among their social circles because finding that wine they like in the first place can be a journey. It also can give the consumer the air of credibility within their group.It would seem that the wine marketers and producers should be as eager as any to utilize this inexpensive and effective marketing approach. The obstacles of tracking effectiveness and credibility can be solved in one fell swoop. Open the wine! If you have a great product, the best way to turn people on to your product is to let them taste what's behind the label. If they love it, you get instant feedback. If they buy it, you see the effectiveness.If you tell a good story while tasting the consumer, then they have knowledge to take back to their social circle. If you are promoting your wine and aren't there to actually pour it or talk about it, be damn sure the person that is knows everything inside and out there is to know about your wine.
People are just looking for affirmation of what they like, or a reason to like it. The want to be the one to discover it. Getting a handful of consumers to seriously taste may be much more effective than a huge crowd in a grocery store. It's more important to incubate the word of mouth cycle than to sell as many $2 tastes that you can pack into a grocery store on a Saturday afternoon.

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