Last night, I attended a wine tasting at a wine merchants in Chelsea called ‘Haynes Hanson & Clark’. The tasting was organised by a friend whose father buys wine regularly there. It was an incredibly effective piece of marketing (and a great night) that illustrated how non-traditional marketing techniques that focus on engagement can eclipse the effectiveness of traditional advertising. Here are some of the observations that I made…
Targeting the right people
Enthusiasm is infectious. By targeting the son of someone who regularly buys wine from them – it is likely that the enthusiasm of the father will translate to the son. It also means that the interest will be encouraged and nurtured.
By encouraging the son to invite his friends – you are ensuring that you are opening up the brand to a new but receptive audience. There isn’t any wastage.
Inviting the audience round to yours
Unlike, say sampling at a supermarket or an exhibition centre – you can offer a much more immersive experience by having people come to you. The store was located in a beautiful street in Chelsea and gets you buying into the all round experience.
There is something quite magical about a wine store. Rows of beautiful bottles from different regions, each of which with a story behind them. You see bottles that you don’t know and bottles that you do as well as bottles for hundreds of pounds that you can only dream of.
Knowing your audience:
There were ten people in total. All of us were probably late 20s. We simply aren’t going to be spending big money on wine. The tasting was around the premise of buying clever and buying at the lower end of the wine scale. They won’t make as much money on these bottles – but they are beginning the process of locking us in as wine lovers which can translate into sales further down the line.
Gaining consumer trust
We tried a 2009 Malbec that was available at £5.70 a bottle and perfect for parties. We also tried a 2008 Chardonnay for £7.30 a bottle. These are the same as, if not cheaper than the late night drunken purchase of Jacob’s Creek from the local off-license. The fact that I could see they were trying to provide value – meant that when we moved on to more expensive wines – I trusted their choices.
Word of Mouth
I asked how many tastings they performed and it appeared that it depended on demand. Because it is a deep experience with a high level of engagement – I’m more than likely to recommend it to my friends. In fact, with something like wine, everytime I look at a wine list in a restaurant or bar – there is a chance I will talk about the tasting sessions when making a recommendation.
Keep developing the relationship
The fact is I like these wine merchants. I’m going to buy some wine from there. Over time though, I could forget about them. What they are doing though is having regular sessions on different styles of wine every month or so. That keeps them at the front of my mind and increases my propensity to purchase.
Return on Investment.
We tried 7 wines. One sparkling, two white wines and 4 red wines. Based on the cost per bottle – this equated to £71.25 in total. Divide this by ten for each person and this equates to just over £7. Based on a 25% margin (no idea if that is correct for wine), we would individually need to buy just three ‘ten-pound’ bottles of wine for them to recoup their money. If we bought a case each, then you are looking at a 400% ROI. If we told 3 friends who bought a case then the numbers swell. The reality is that we’ll all buy a case or two over the next 12 months and as our knowledge of wine grows and hopefully our earning potential – the ROI looks pretty rosy.
Compare that to taking out a 6-sheet at the nearest tube station – Sloane Square or South Kensington. The numbers just wouldn’t add up. Of course this is a niche store but the likes of Oddbins or Threshers could certainly take tips from this model.
Just in case you are interested, the wines we tasted were as follows:
1. Cremant de Bourgogne Brut, Cave de Lugny, Non Vintage – £11.90
2. Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes, Luc & Jerome Choblet 2008 – £7.30
3. Reuilly La Raie, Domaine Claude Lafond 2008 – £10.20
4. Malbec Alto Pampas del Sur, Mendoza 2009 – £5.70
5. Domaine St Andrieu Rouge, Coteaux Varois en Provence 2007 – £8.35
6. Chateau Grand Maison, Cotes de Bourg 2006 – £11.20
7. Chateau de Gironville, Haut Medoc 2008 – £90 per case in bond (shipment in 2011)
Wine Merchants: Haynes Hanson & Clark. 7 Elystan Street, london, SW3 3NT,
020 7584 7927