Quick Response (QR) codes are quickly becoming the "hot" direct marketing item in the wine industry. Much like the early 2000's blog rage, and more recently the social media craze ("if you're not on Facebook, you're nowhere!"), QR codes are popping up in our little industry like wildfire. They're starting to show up on labels, in ads, on shelf talkers, business cards, tasting room menus and more.
Here are two recent articles on how wineries are using these handy new promotional vehicles:
With consumers rapidly adopting their use, and the early stage excitement around them, now is the time to take advantage of their functionality. Ready to take the leap? Here are a few considerations to keep in mind...
1) QR codes are simply "a means to an end" - to get the offline consumer you're reaching to an online place with more information and to extend their engagement with your product, service or brand. Once the QR code is activated, you've moved a consumer into queue to become your customer... and at this point, it's on you to capture or lose them. What you deliver in this next engagement is critical. Consider your content. Is it relevant? Is it unique? Does it "pay off" for the efforts to scan the code? Does it provide more information? Or does it just send your new (potential!) customer to your website with no direction?
2) With the rapid usage of QR codes coming into play, many wine marketers are failing to pay attention to the very BASIC of best practices in implementation. A great article on ensuring the best user experience was recently run on Mashable. In it, the author lists 5 very basic mistakes that can - and should - be easily avoided with your QR campaign. Read the article on Mashable.com - 5 Big Mistakes to Avoid In Your QR Code Marketing Campaign.
3) Finally, like any good marketing initiative, the basic marketing disciplines must also be applied: * Understand your audience and their needs first. * Aim to be relevant and meaningful to those needs, through your marketing and messaging. * Be available where they can find you. * As with any social vehicle - aim to engage. Don't just push. Aim for them to pull you in to them. * Don't neglect the call to action - give them a "next step" to take.
Still want to know more about QR codes, how they work and what they are? You'll find a pretty informative article on How QR Codes Can Grow Your Business, from Social Media Examiner.
Social media is a hot topic. No doubt. If you're in the wine industry, and not fully leveraging this space to connect with consumers, you're probably feeling some pressure...Pressure from your boss to "tackle this social thing"; pressure from the industry to "keep up with the Joneses"; pressure from the social media mavens to "get on board or get lost!". So what's a marketing manager to do? Seek out the many, many resources that exist online and in the social sphere to get up to speed. Here's are a few places to get you started...
Mari Smith on Facebook: Seek this lady out if you want to connect with someone "in the know" on Facebook. A resource for everything hot and happening with changes on Facebook, she's quick to respond with questions from her many fans.You can also follow her at @MariSmith.
Loads of articles, helping everyone from the newbie to the experienced social media marketer can be found at theSocial Media Examiner. Follow them at @SMexaminer.
Did you read Wired in the 90's? Still reading it? Then you're no doubt already familiar with TechCrunch.Follow them at @TechCrunch.
Looking for a source on the latest web news and trends? Stay on top with Mashable. Find them at @Mashable.
A few articles we've found of interest this week...
Need a full day immersion to get the social media ball rolling? WISE Academy is holding a One-Day Social Media Workshop this Summer. Watch their calendar for more information.
Like your learning online? Register for the Social Media Success Summit and expect a LOT of great information to come your way from many of the social media-sphere's greats, including Brian Solis, Guy Kawasaki, Jeremiah Owyang and many more...
While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, it's a place to get started. Any resources or articles you're enjoying these days? Share them here!
With the DTCS in full swing today, and wine industry tweeps chirping all day long about the on-goings, I was interested to see a side conversation on the placement of Twitter or Facebook addresses on wine labels. Healthy conversation ensued, with the majority of the social media advocates screaming YES!
I didn't see many in the conversation against the idea, but it was more of a preaching to the choir kind of inquiry - asked on Twitter and in a blog by someone whose followers are engaging in the social space heavily. For the full conversation, read here.
The post got me thinking about the basic needs of a wine consumer throughout the purchase path, and the role which information and access to the brand plays at each stage. To start, let's consider the basic path, as broken down to 5 stages on the way to brand loyalty:
Consumer Path to Purchase and (ultimately) Loyalty
At each stage in the path to purchase, there are specific customer needs in order to affect a movement to the next stage. And, there are marketing and sales strategies implemented at each to help encourage continued engagement and momentum forward. Ultimately, the goal is to drive towards loyalty, delivering repeat engagements with a brand, becoming a brand advocate to friends and colleagues, and delivering share of wallet to the brand.
At the risk of oversimplifying the process, the following identifies a few of the activities which can be undertaken at each of the stages, corresponding with the basic consumer consideration at each stage:
So, what role typically does packaging play in the purchase process? The role of the wine label is generally to appeal to the consumers need and provide information relevant to their decision making process. Brand name, varietal, region and vineyard all deliver necessary information. Winemaker’s notes even better. A winery URL to encourage incremental information to be found – great. In this age of smart phones, it’s easy and common to pull out your iPhone and dial up the latest Vino app for consumer reviews on the product under consideration. Easy, as well, to call up the winery website and see if any additional information on the product may be found.
So based on this, would a Twitter address on the label assist in the decision making process? Social media engagements most certainly play a role in the continuum. However, the act of "fanning" or "following" typically indicates that a customer has already experienced and enjoyed a wine, and is willing to engage further with a brand. By this stage, the consumer is likely past the label and packaging, moving deeper into "conversation" with the brand. It’s not likely that someone reading the label in the aisle of BevMo will “fan” a winery, expecting real time conversation to begin and drive them over the edge to purchase.
Now, having said this, let’s assume the consumer buys your product, brings it to a dinner party and enjoys your 2005 Merlot with friends that evening. They look at the wine bottle to investigate the brand a little further, see your URL and Twitter address and make a note to visit for more information. Nice. No harm and an opportunity to begin the path towards engagement and loyalty.
So, does it hurt to put a Twitter address on a wine label? Likely no. Does it provide the information necessary to help a consumer make a first purchase decision? Probably not. Will it encourage deeper investigation into a product they’ve enjoyed? Perhaps.
Personally, I'm more excited about the potential that QR codes present for wine label application. WOW. More on that one later.
I love this campaign for its pure simplicity. Ikea leveraged an application that already existed (Facebook), behaviors of their core audience that were already in place (social tagging of pictures), and a simple human motivation (greed for free stuff). See the campaign on YouTube here.
Nothing new was invented. Dollars spent were minimal. Time spent was likely the same. And yet the viral effect was HIGH.
We spend so much time trying to overthink our next moves, trying to build a NEW mousetrap. Sometimes you just need to KISS.
With all the buzz on using social media and wineries needing to get into the game (see Dec WineBusiness.com article, and any Gary V. presentation), it would seem easy enough to just jump right in and get to “tweeting”, right? Apparently not. No matter what strategic advice the social media Sages provide companies with (“engage with your customers”, “have a two-way conversation”, “let customers feel like they’re getting a peak behind the curtains of your brand or winery”, etc.), I still get the deer in headlights look from many of them, asking literally “BUT, WHAT DO I SAY?”
Without publishing some of the actual words to use (that’s your job, Brand Manager, Marketing Manager, CEO, Social Media Diva, or whomever is leading and leveraging these platforms), here are some thought starters to consider. As well, check out this link to a great presentation with some real life examples of business Tweets submitted by Twits deep in the practice:
So, here are a few ideas on what to talk about (in alpha order… priority order will come from your own business needs). Keep in mind that the base of "followers" that you attract will and should help you determine how to best leverage this medium to engage your audience and grow your business and brand. You'll figure out what to SAY when you begin to engage. Just remember to keep it real. Keep it relevant. And keep listening.
Some thought starters...
Customer Service & Support | Any of your customers having issues with your service/s or product/s? Get a head of the game and notify them of solutions being prepared or under-taken, or solicit any questions or concerns. Make them aware that you’re aware and on top of things. No immediate issues? Simply ask your customer service team what they’re being asked for. Use Twitter to respond or drive links through to articles and solutions.
Events | Share your upcoming events – webinars, winemaker dinners, lobster fest's, whatever they may be, get them out there. But don’t let it end there. Tweet out before, during and after the event. Share pictures, anecdotes from the event, videos taken, etc. Let those who didn’t participate, enjoy the event “after the fact”.
Promotions | Discounts, sales, service promotions, use this forum for any that you’re willing to share. Use a unique code to follow how many people respond and the impact of this platform.
Public Relations | Consider this forum an extension of your PR efforts. Are there company announcements, product releases, new hires, that you’d like to get out to the media?
Research | Need to know something about the industry you’re in, your customers, or information relevant to your services or products? Have a survey you want people to take? Have a question? Ask it! Depending on your followers – you’d be surprised at how quickly others may have the information you’ve been struggling to find.
Human Resources | Use Twitter to attract qualified employees. Post positions, use the platform to engage and attract candidates.
Internal Communications | What can you share with your internal folks, or off-site team members? Clearly there are confidentiality issues with some topics, but keeping open lines and wishing happy birthdays to employees or calling out upcoming corporate events can work. Don’t be afraid to demonstrate that you’re a real company with real people behind the scenes.
Thought and Subject Matter Leadership | The act of putting yourself out there as a Subject Matter Expert in your space can help drive business growth at an accelerated rate. Watch how some of the “experts” you respect utilize this platform. What insight, expertise and thought leadership can you provide?
Crisis Control | In the event of need to manage a company crisis, Twitter can put you in front of stakeholders pronto. Tweet out resources, company updates, or other relevant and timely information sought – or needed– by your stakeholders.
Issue Advocacy | Passionate about a particular issue in your industry or area of focus? Depending on the level of your corporate engagement as an advocate, this may be a good forum through which to share your thoughts, articles, connections, and get others engaged and supporting your cause.
Wow. The next generation of mobile apps puts a whole new perspective on reality - as experienced through your phone. Using the gps, compass and markers identified by the app, viewing the world around you becomes something completely different. Imagine walking down the street and having the app identify visually everything around you (restaurants, buildings, streets, etc.), with all the content, user reviews and the like available in front of you. This is ripe for the retail world - imagine seeing 'inside' stores and retaurants to identify products, promotions, user rated and available inventory to help drive purchase decisions.
Food for thought and some grounding statistics about the impact social media has now had on our society as a whole. Certainly top of mind for many of the world's marketer's, with the discussion generally focused on how best to control and manage consumers via this new forum. Those who get it are leveraging this new paradigm in ways which allow them to listen and learn, as opposed to controlling and managing.
"Successful company's act more like party planners, aggregators and content providers than traditional advertisers." Think of yourself as planning a fantastic party for your consumers...no matter how great you think that party may be, you have no control over the one guy (or girl) who ends up with a lampshade on their head. Your job is to simply to get your consumers excited about joining the party, and make sure there's more to talk about on Monday than just "the lampshade girl".
"25% of search results for the top 20 largest brands are links to User Generated Content." Companies need to figure out quickly how to listen, engage and respond to the voice of the consumer. Consumers looking for information on your brand aren't always finding what you carefully crafted and paid for them to find. They're looking for and actually finding the voice of fellow consumers. No need to spend tons of money on consumer advisory panels for your product; the community is having a more honest discussion about it amongst themselves than you could ever get with even the best moderator. Save your cash. Invest in product development. Listen. Learn. Respond.