Random thoughts on the world of wine, presented in no particular order.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Closing the deal.

While reading through my favorite consumer blog, Consumerist, I found an article about advertising and persuasion, which linked to this longer post, which distills the knowledge of the book "Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive". I found a number of these points to be important to the sale and marketing of wine, especially:

1. Inconvenience the audience by creating an impression of product scarcity: Does the allocation system ring a bell here? "Oh, I can't find Sea Smoke in stores, it must be awesome..." Making sure that the wine is available under only some circumstances (the allocation being in a store, or a restaurant having gotten some) is a great idea for marketing. Of course, it sucks for consumers, but as they say, them's the breaks.

5. Too many options necessitate selection, and hence frustration, when brain decides it’s unnecessary work: Far Niente has done a great job of this. They make 2 wines -- a cab and a chard (I've heard rumblings that they'll be making a zin next year, but for now, just the 2). Not like, say, Mondavi, where you can find 30 or more different types of wine. 2. Once you've decided on a bottle of Far Niente, there's basically no decision making left. With Mondavi, there's 6 or more varietals, each of which has several different wines -- Private Select, Napa, Sonoma, etc. There is something to be said for simplifying your product line -- find something you do well, and do it a lot.

7. A more expensive product makes the old version look like a value buy: Kind of at odds with #5, but look at Silver Oak, for example. Their Napa cab is around $100. Their Alexander Valley cab is $50-$60. Now, the Alexander Valley cab isn't cheap, by any means... but in comparison, it's a bargain!

9. A small gift makes people want to reciprocate and 6. Giving away the product makes it less desirable: Seemingly at odds, this explains why a lot of tasting rooms work the way they do -- spend $x on a tasting flight, get a free glass, or $x off of your order. People will take advantage of free samples... but even a small fee takes the sample out of the range of "free" and into the realm of "something I've paid for." Getting a glass, or a deal on your order? Why... bonus! Now I want to buy!

15. Labeling people into a social group tends to increase their participation ratio: Have you ever been told at a wine store or winery, "Ahh, you must like the good stuff!" (or something similar)? Congratulations, you've been labeled into the group of "people who buy expensive things." And therefore, you're more likely to buy expensive things... like that pricey bottle of wine you were eyeing...

41. Abstract names allow the customers to come up with reasoning: This explains why winemakers name their wines after abstract things; "Rattlesnake Hill," "Siena," "Trifecta." These have no solid meaning in the wine world... so they make the consumer create their own meaning, or at least ask (and get involved with the wine by doing so) why it's named that way (respectively: the hill had a rattlesnake nest on it when it was cleared, the wine's a Tuscan-style blend, it's 1/3 each cab, merlot, and cab franc, if you're curious).

Good wine is made in the vineyard (or the winery), but sales are made in the customer's head, and the wine industry knows it as well as any other one.

No comments:

Post a Comment