Selling more wine & spirits is the #1 imperative With very few exceptions, the number one request I...
Winery Data - In the Right Hands - Drives Sales
Many who love data also love wine, but the converse is rarely true. Wine is fun, flirty, artistic – scientific in its production, yes, but more of a passion project on the whole. As a conversation topic, “data” invites the sudden onset of narcolepsy.
What do we really mean when we say “data”? More than beeps and boops, spreadsheets, and cheesy visions a la your old Windows ‘98 screensaver, data is actually just an intimidating synonym for “information.”
Data is the best salesman out there. It tells us which products or wines to make more (or less) of, who to spend our advertising dollars on, and what bands to book in the tasting room. It clues us into how our beverages are actually being enjoyed by real customers in the market. It’s the feedback loop that – if given proper attention – allows distilleries to dominate and wineries to win over their competitors.
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What Winery Data Actually Looks Like
Let’s get specific. We all subconsciously and automatically filter out irrelevant information day and night. With every word you’re reading, your brain has chosen this blog post as the most likely path to survival and is deliberately ignoring – to varying degrees of success – the road noise happening outside your window, the fan in your computer, your growling stomach, maybe kids or dogs if you’re working from home.
Why, in our businesses, is it so hard to be as judicious? Staying disciplined with our time and money requires paying attention to the most relevant information to the complete neglect of everything else. The 80/20 rule is not only real in the wine industry, but the only path to success – no exaggeration. The true ratio may ebb and flow slightly; perhaps 90% of your revenue comes from the top 10% of your customers. Adopting a hyper selective mindset, however, is exactly how the world’s leading brands are able to shut out overwhelming amounts of competition.
For real-world examples of wine data in our industry, perhaps a guided tour makes the most sense. Imagine yourself playing various roles along the winery or distillery sales gamut.
Wine Data at the Point of Sale
In the tasting room, data looks like empty wine glasses and plates, restless guests waiting on the check, the number of bodies during tonight’s event, standing room or empty seats, remaining inventory behind the bar. If the house is packed tonight and all of the fresh squeezed bits and bobs you spent an hour preparing this morning remain untouched at closing, maybe it’s time to order less fruit.
Off premise, data revolves around inventory and customer data collected through membership and customer loyalty programs, but there are also less obvious ways of monitoring customer behavior. How do various arrangements in the stacks and aisles affect wine sales? Perhaps the local whiskeys, when bundled together on an endcap, tend to fly off the shelves. Maybe organizing the wine department by varietal performs better in Lincoln, while the Omaha location sees better revenue organized by country of origin. Wine sales statistics will always be the driver of your future business decisions, well at least they should be.
In the Three Tier Alcohol System
Wine and spirits salespeople and distributor reps are perhaps the most accustomed to looking at data in the form of depletion reports, RAD data, their CRM of choice – even if, shamefully, that’s really just a drawer full of business cards.
Some metrics are more useful than others; “accounts sold” and number of accounts called on, for instance, reveal very little about how many cases are actually leaving the warehouse. Side note: if you want sales, try looking at depletions (by account type or account) instead. What we measure (or pay attention to), we tend to get more of.
From an owner or sales manager perspective, data like the number of private dining rooms or outdoor seating areas tell us a lot about the kind of volume that a restaurant, bar, or hotel deals in regularly. This information dictates the amount of time and energy that a sales team should be spending on these potential buyers vs. all the other retailer partners out there. Not all accounts are created equal; wine data and statistics gives us the discipline to allocate our sales resources to only the most desirable, lucrative accounts in the market.
In Wine or Spirits Marketing
For every bit that data is useful to all aspects of the wine business, those in the Direct to Consumer (DtC) game are flying hopelessly blind without online wine sales statistics.
We tend to think of more formal mediums like the ads dashboard as being data-rich, but a simple glance at the comments section on a post or ad also counts as valuable data. One can glean an incredible amount about their customer experience through direct messages and reviews, and – when that falls short – there’s always the ability to ask outright and gather feedback directly through surveys. These organic means of observing real consumer interaction with the brand are not just good customer service; they offer suggestions for improvement and insight into what’s already working well, and what needs to go.
Metrics like Cost per Purchase, Return On Ad Spend, and Average Order Value help us make decisions about which ads and landing pages are performing the best. Data points like these point us in the right direction for continued ad spend and help us fine tune our messaging.
Put Your Money Where Their Mouse Is
What does it mean to be data-driven? Put simply, it’s listening and responding accordingly.
Selective hearing doesn’t just get us in trouble with our spouses. Throwing a bigger budget on your favorite video – not the best performing one – is the marketing equivalent of nodding and grunting while your significant other talks about their day and immediately asking, “what’s for dinner?”
Simply gathering information is not enough. Marketers must determine what’s working and what’s not, and then allocate the winery’s resources accordingly. Split testing, or “A/B testing” is the most scientific, foolproof way of determining exactly which element of your creative or targeting is performing better vs. another. If you tweak more than one element of creative at once – the image and the headline, for instance, you’ll have no way of knowing which one – the image, or the headline? – is responsible for the lower Cost per Result.
Specific Uses for Wine Data
This is all honky dory in theory, but what is one supposed to do with this information? Admittedly, data is worthless noise in the wrong hands.
The usefulness of any wine dataset depends entirely upon the goal of the campaign you’re trying to run.
Remarketing audiences, or retargeting audiences, are best built with a customer list (at minimum, a CSV file with 100 email addresses) that has a 1:1 relevance to the desired outcome of this campaign. What’s the call to action? What do you want the customer to do? Purchase a case of your Black Friday sale wines? Well, grab as many contacts as you can from any of the following sources and use them as the basis for your lookalike audiences:
- Check your eCommerce provider to see if you can export a list of everyone who has already purchased the exact products featured in this sale in the past. Even better if your eComm includes not only online purchases, but also those tasting room guests and their order history.
- If you’ve segmented your email list well, you’ll know which contacts have clicked on and/or purchased these specific sale items in the past. Export them and upload for the purpose of targeting those folks again with this sale, and then create Lookalike audiences modeled after them.
- Consider creating a custom audience using your pixel data – everyone who has purchased anything from your website in the last 30 days. If that audience is too small, grab everyone who has purchased from your audience in the last 180 days. Recency matters, but smaller, more restrictive lists are only helpful if you have enough real world purchase data for the algorithm to learn from.
The larger the customer list, the more data points, the better. Platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn will match their current users to your list using the data points you provide, so your chances of marketing to larger lookalike audiences increase if the system is able to identify individuals based on fields like email address, city, state, zip code, first name, and last name.
What if you want to get more club membership signups at the end of the year? Grab your most engaged subscribers (who click on and open everything) and build custom and lookalike audiences based on their email addresses. Even better, take everyone who has spent above a certain amount in their lifetime as a customer (include the Lifetime Value, or LTV metric) – it might be $150 or more – and target them alone with your wine club campaign.
The customers who have already spent the most money on your products represent your warmest prospects. Why not make them lifelong fans and even evangelists for your brand by “wowing” them with your wine club memberships and top notch service? It costs so much less to nurture this repeat business than it does to acquire new customers.
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