The Wine Marketing I Would Like To See
Marketing has changed, and as marketers who want to do meaningful work, we need to pause for a few minutes and understand what exactly has changed and why marketing feels so out of touch.
Because marketers like us are better than those that have brought a bad name to our discipline by spamming, misleading, shouting, and coercing, we must make that distinction and prove that marketing is not evil, but an essential element in business.
Selling or Serving: do more of the latter without spamming
According to Statista, about 50% of the global email volume is spam. That is a massive amount of unethical communication landing in our inboxes. On top of emails, add all the “spammy” pitches and interruptions we get on and offline, and you get this very noisy and confusing picture about marketing being just an unsolicited bad sales pitch.
Spamming is a lazy shortcut to sell ordinary things to ordinary people. It is a practice that might have worked in the past, but it doesn’t work in the times we live in now. Pitching products and services without any empathy and recognition for what surrounds the client’s world is a fast route to failure.
Spammers are not marketers, and while selling is an essential component of the building blocks of marketing, shameless and rude sales pitches are not. Not every marketing action should be about a transaction. That is not how we will get new generations’ interest in wine.
Instead, marketing is about serving people, not about using them to solve our marketing problems. The posture of a marketer that serves is that of listening first, and then delivering expected and requested, personalized, and relevant messages that people want to get.
Interruption vs. Permission: attention and trust are precious
“If permission is at the heart of your work, earn it and keep it. Communicate only with those who choose to hear from you” - Seth Godin.
In other words, if you try to cold call, spam, interrupt, and shout at customers continuously, they will dislike you and your brand and will also tell others why they will never buy your brand. However, if you ask for permission first, respect people’s attention and time, understand their worldviews and help them in whatever way, they will tell others why they love you.
To have someone’s permission and attention is a privilege, not a given. It’s to be valued, not wasted. People who abuse other people’s attention are not marketers; they are just impolite attention seekers.
Instead, marketers that do meaningful work seek their customers’ enrollment and permission and in return gain trust and recognition. A great example of this concept in action is subscription-based companies that have based their business model on enrollment, permission, and delivering on their promises.
Short-term madness vs. effective marketing: there is a significant conceptual conflict
“Marketing effectiveness is facing a pernicious and widely unrecognized threat. Focusing on driving short-term sales for brands conflicts with long-term growth, because it leads us to the opposite kinds of strategies and media choices than those that best drive long-term success” writes Peter Field in Eat Your Greens, a collection of papers by some of the best thinkers and practitioners in marketing today.
All this race for attention has led the marketing and advertising industries to rely on short-term metrics. While they produce instant feedback, it also drives us to live in a constant state of action and anxiety. Spamming, interrupting, shouting, deceiving are all the negative consequences of this FOMO race and has pushed marketers to focus on tactics more than on strategy.
However, marketing is a long-term game, and for it to be effective, it has to deliver on the promise we make, consistently and over a long period. I want to challenge fellow wine marketers to think long-term and to go beyond the quarterly cycle of short-term sales activation by investing in multi-year campaigns focusing on emotional brand building.
The wine marketing I would like to see
I want wine marketers to embrace a different posture because the future of wine is not as shiny as it should be and future wine drinkers won’t fall for unethical marketing. So if you are a wine marketer like me, and feel the same way as I do, help me create an ethical marketing culture that focuses on serving instead of spamming, that works towards engaging with wine drinkers through enrollment and permission, and finally, one that thinks long-term.
It is only with this posture that we can make positive change happen.