Top Five Turn Offs

Turn Offs

1. As a former catalog marketing manager, it is hard for me to admit this, but I don’t believe in List Buying for small wineries. I appreciate the math, dig the analytics and  and do see conversions, but the cost and effort associated with mass communications usually convince me, when the day is done, that less is more. Work with a smaller database that knows who you are, and trusts you, rather than a large group of people that need to be reminded they care (or worse, introduced to you.)

2. Flash Sales are great for moving backed-up inventory once in awhile, but I believe as an industry we all need to go to a support group to stop the reliance of these deep discount channels as a routine promotional strategy. Our customers still believe, erroneously, that they get the best prices going direct to a winery, and trying to explain why their local liquor store is cheaper is hard enough. But to explain to a loyal club member why the wine they just got 20% off in their summer shipment is selling for 40% off on Lot 18, or Woot, or Rue La La, is just wrong, people. And lazy. Appreciate and value your customers. Do the legwork. Say no to drugs flashsales.


3. The www is about me-me-me, not you. We changed about 15 years ago from an age where media was controlled by the few to the advent of the internet where people can self select what they want to consume based on interest. So, why are websites still digital brochures offering very few ways to interact, share, relate or respond to companies? Why do we only send out emails when we want sales, and not when we have a good recipe to share, or just say thank you. I recently pointed out to a CEO that every sentence he had written to his customers in a letter started with the word “I” or “We” (except two), and not once did he use “You”. He refused to change it. His argument was “that was what he wanted to say”. Too bad he didn’t want his customers to hear him.

4. Similar to #3, Broadcasting is not Engaging. Almost in principal, I refuse to follow people who have 2000+ twitter followers and only are following 200. It is like being on a date with someone who doesn’t stop talking about themselves and never once asks how your day is. Choose wisely. Do a few channels well. Don’t stream your message out to anyone just because you can. Just like email was the silver bullet in the late 90’s until everyone got sick of spam, the faucet of social media will turn off soon enough because people aren’t listening. But those who have put in the legwork and conversation time will still be there long after the broadcasters are gone.

5. Excuses. We didn’t use to have voice mail. Yet, we all figured out how to migrate from the stack of “while you were out” messages left in our mailbox by the receptionist to check our voice mail. Then we got our first email boxes, and it took awhile, but we soon evolved into managing both the incoming phone calls and emails. The metrics now available from the various digital sources are no different. It is just new channels of input we need to incorporate to do our jobs effectively. And while there is a grace period now while we all figure out how to juggle this, eventually there will be no excuses. We must evolve to figure out how to look at Google Analytics, and our Facebook stats, and Twitter feeds, and Pinterest follows and start segmenting databases. Because our customers at the tasting bar expect us to know them, and not send every person on our database every offer just because it is easier. It will just take time. So start now.

Top Five Turn Ons.

4 Responses

  1. Arnold Waldstein
    Arnold Waldstein July 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm · Reply

    Well said.

    Especially about the web being about ME and each of us.

    And about Flash Sales. Not a big fan of the model. Nor Lot18 at all.

    Inventory clearance is something everyone does. Stores need to understand how best to market and sell but flash sales as a biz model for the industry is not an answer IMO.

    1. sdematei
      sdematei July 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm · Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Arnold. It’s the same in the wholesale model. You can make one sales call and dump a pallet of wine at Costco, or do legwork and sell a two cases each at 25 restaurants. The latter is harder but will help you more in the long term.

  2. Arnold Waldstein
    Arnold Waldstein July 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm · Reply


    I’m very wine shop focused lately as I’m prototyping a marketplace with local NYC artisanal wine shops that will be rolling out quietly in about a week across a number of neighborhoods in the city.

    It’s called

  3. Christopher Miller (@noblewines)
    Christopher Miller (@noblewines) July 20, 2012 at 8:20 pm · Reply

    Well said, Lot18 seems to be stalling of late and has given up on UK sales. The biggest strategies in wine for the past several decades has been QPR in one way or another, this has morphed to digital but still same old song of 95+ points parker, spectator or someone and only $20 down from $60. That’s a lazy shortcut and has put the industry in the difficult position it is. Wine is in a need of a disruption, it will hurt those not ready for it.

    The consumer has been trained to care more about 95 points than where wine comes from. 90+ Brand has blossomed on East Coast but I won’t use them on wine lists only retail and the continuity is an issue. Don’t love the concept but better than wines til sold out & other Flash crushing brands and their price points that they fought hard for.

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