Why wine isn’t all in the drinking

Wine producers and grape growers get the marketing fundamentals

It’s all very well and good to talk about marketing, but there are many small businesses, including Australian farmers and producers, who simply don’t know where to start, let alone have access to the tools they need to undertake marketing with sophistication.

Australian Grape and Wine (AGW), Australia’s national association of winegrape and wine producers, recognised this and set about helping its members do something about it.

The Australian wine market is dynamic, and this ever changing and competitive market, not to mention the growing maturity of the local wine drinker, means wineries and grape growers need to be able to differentiate themselves from the pack.

AGWmManager of brand strategy and development, Ali Laslett, said the organisation held a survey of its members to ascertain what they wanted from their umbrella organisation. Overwhelmingly, they wanted help with marketing, because while they knew they should be doing it, they didn’t know what marketing meant in a consumer-driven market or how to do it.

As Laslett already had a relationship with Purple Giraffe, both companies got together to put together a marketing fundamentals program for members. Laslett told CMO a pilot held in the Mornington Peninsula was so successful, the program will be offered across the country.

“We asked our members what they wanted from their national association beyond advocacy and we felt there was a gap in small produces being able to access marketing to make their business more profitable. The overwhelming response was around marketing, they knew they should be doing it but didn’t know what it meant or how to do it," she said. "Small businesses like these don’t have marketing departments or the money to hire a marketing consultancy.

“Purple Giraffe,  through Lynda [Schenk], had substantial experience with producers and that understanding of our client base was crucial. It was also important that if our growers wanted to go beyond the fundamentals and hire a consultancy, Purple Giraffe could help them.”

The program is free for members and they are essentially being provided with a marketing plan on a single page, developed by Purple Giraffe.

“We are still I the planning stage, but the pilot was highly successful. This will be rolled out nationally, we feel once we get it going, the momentum will start to come," Laslett said. “We are providing them a simple marketing plan, helping them to determine their unique selling proposition, their product offering, through the channels of distribution, their positioning in the mind of consumers, and therefore what channels will be best to sell through.

“Those sorts of questions help people understand what their product actually is, and how to target the right consumer. It’s not the technical aspects of their business, which is often what they think about, we start with the basics so the producer can understand from their consumer’s point of view how to make that product attractive, and where best to sell it to get to that target consumer." 

Laslett said AGW finds many people didn’t know how to answer simple questions about their product because they are growers, not marketers. By the end of the pilot, however, they had a clear understanding and all wanted more.

“Within the next year, we will have a full suite of workshops running across the country, and the year after we are hoping to be able to offer it again, or provide updates," she said. "We don’t seeing this as a one-off, I see it as an ongoing program. Markets change all the time and consumers change all the time, and we want to help members understand and market accordingly.”

Head giraffe at Purple Giraffe, Lynda Schenk, said growers just wanted support in how to do marketing better.

“Wineries and vignerons, they have not been into marketing much, but the market is changing so much, to the point where the growers are having to market themselves and their fruit and tell stories to be able to add value to the businesses that buy their fruit," she said. 

“It’s about getting farmers to think differently about how they offer their fruit. On the one page marketing plan is really the fundamentals: Who is their audience? Who are they selling to? What added value do buyers need to come and buy from you? It helps create a story of a vineyard, communicates the processes at a vineyard, which they all know, but they don’t recognise it as being a marketing tool.

“We help them understand how to advertise, and what a difference a few little changes can make, even down to the signage on a vineyard, do they have a brand, logo, business cards, uniforms, and what other brand elements and marketing tools they to make their vineyards work harder for them.”

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