But it’s a great marketing opportunity
Why do people believe that when you have a wine farm – or manage one for that matter – your product becomes a free-for-all. I blame this one squarely on the big companies who actually do have the budget to give their product away for ‘visible marketing’ thereby creating the perception in the market that all producers should follow suit. We are already battling to survive without having to hand out our product just for the off-chance of being ‘discovered’.
Having said that, wine events are where we do get a chance to interact with our customers, to share our stories, to get good feedback and to just enjoy the sense of camaraderie created by the enjoyment of good wine. I love doing tastings for wine clubs and for select events where the wineries are respected, and the clientele are there to discover new gems. These events are designed around the wines and not the other way around. They allow for great marketing opportunities and usually result in enough sales to cover the cost associated with taking part. Business 101.
But what about the other 90% of so-called platforms ‘perfect’ for marketing our brand, created by people who simply don’t appreciate the fact that every single bottle of wine has a cost associated with it? And sometimes that cost had to take years of storage into consideration so that we are able to offer a product of superior quality. The reality is that we simply cannot afford to give away our wines to support somebody else’s agenda. Let me explain with a few conversations and scenario’s that actually happened recently.
Scenario 1: A lady asked me to do a wine tasting for a book launch (read, provide the drinks for free so her establishment looks good). When explaining that we are not in the business of giving away our product I was told in no uncertain terms that we have no passion and are only in the business for the money and that there are 100’s of businesses that would jump for such an amazing opportunity. They are welcome to each other.
Scenario 2: Got a phone call raving about our wines and asking if it is possible to do a wine tasting for a birthday party. Of course! We love meeting like-minded wine lovers and sharing our passion, but we also need to cover the costs for our time and our wine. Shock-horror! But doesn’t this form part of your marketing budget? Uhm, no… I am an entertainer just like every other service provider on the evening. You won’t ask the chef to prepare a meal out of his/her marketing budget, will you?
Scenario 3: A restaurant asked us to assist with a special wine pairing for the launch of their set menu, for which a fair amount of money was being charged. Full disclosure, our wines are not sold by the establishment and there was no mention of listing us following a successful event. Again, our refusal to provide our wine for free was met with disbelief and conviction that it would be easy to find another winery who would jump at the chance to showcase their wines to the 20 people expected to attend. I don’t know how it worked out for them.
Why so difficult? One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learnt on this journey is that people will take their cue from you on how to value your brand. If you are prepared to give it away they will accept that it is a disposable commodity, but if you value it, your customers will appreciate it. If they don’t they are not your target market. Even though we avoid the ‘great marketing opportunities’, when we do get involved, we do so heart and soul (and wine). We give you the passion that is synonymous with our brand, we give you the stories and we give you the opportunity to agree (or disagree) with us. It’s fun, it’s lively, it’s memorable. It’s Taillard Family Wines.