Three Takeaways from the 2019 North Coast Wine Industry Expo & Conference

Attending industry events such as the Win Expo is a great litmus test to gauge how you and your client’s feelings match that of the larger industry. Here are my three top takeaways:

There is an Ominous Specter of Uncertainty About the Upcoming Years

A quick scan of the conference brochure hammers this point home. Seven Wine Industry Experts were asked to give a bold prediction about the wine business’s near future.  Here are three of the seven headlines: 

  • 3 Years of Hurt on the Horizon. Despite Challenges, Wine Remains Relevant – Carolyn Wente
  • Wine Price Correction to Intensify in 2020 – Michael De Loach
  • Digital Darwinism Imminent: Wineries Must Invest in Digital or Perish – Paul Mabray

Looking past these ominous titles and into their full predictions you can see that the leaders are full of hope.  This encouraging feeling was reinforced by the conversations I had that day. The reason being is that difficult times promote innovation and progress. Wineries that are content to hunker down and wait out the impending storm might not make it out.  Those wineries that innovate and evolve will emerge on the other side stronger and more vibrant than ever.

Wineries want to embrace marketing automation.  It’s no longer a question of why, but how?

The panel session about marketing automation was the discussion that I was most excited about. At Barrels Ahead, we use automation tools every day to weave together our client’s marketing messages into a unified story that is personalized across channels from email, to the website, to social media.  I was very curious to gauge the level of interest from attendees across the industry. It was reassuring to witness firsthand the enthusiasm of the audience. It is no longer necessary to sing the praises of why automation should be used. It’s now about how a winery can get started.

If you are a winery that is looking to start automating some of your marketing processes and do not know where to start, then take this advice that was given by panel member, Chris Denney, the founder of The Engine is Red, “If you had time to be a personal shopper concierge to each one of your customers, what would you tell them and when?”

To Thrive in the Upcoming Years – Wineries Need to Be Customer-Centric

Today’s wine drinkers want to be part of the created experience. Many wineries are built and operate to fulfill the dreams of the founders. Little thought is given to creating a unique customer experience.  This has to change. To survive in the upcoming years, wineries must deliver wines and experiences that are aligned with those of their customers.