Joel Vincent

Technology. Wine. Family. (maybe not in that order)

OPEN LETTER TO WINE MARKETING “PROs”

Wine Marketed to Women – Condescending?  Why?

Lets think about this for a minute.  Targeting women as a market demographic is a perfectly natural.  Everyone does it – detergent, food, etc… – but its how it done that differentiates between good, targeted marketing and condescending, “talking down” products.  The efforts of you wine companies falls into the latter, unfortunately.  Lets compare and contrast a couple of examples to see what I’m talking about.

Detergent.  Studies by detergent product managers tells them that their sales channel is primarily grocery stores (as opposed to Internet, direct mail, or other sales) and that the majority of buyers in that sales channel are women.  So they naturally need to market to women.  Their approach?  Create a detergent commercial with the

main message – great for cleaning clothes – usually have it starring women (so that the viewers can relate) and then play it on TV or in magazines that will end up with the most women viewers.  What they DO NOT do is create special names or gimmicks that integrate “stereo typical” women terms that they think would appeal to women.  In marketing terms, that is not “clever marketing” or “smart marketing”.  In fact, doing that is the easy way out – How do you target women?  Name it something that is obviously for women…that is amateurish.  Detergent (as well as many other commodity) companies have been doing this for decades and don’t condescend to women by naming it and saying “this is for you”, they just name it and then market to channels which attract woman audiences. 

But for some reason you wine industry “pros” think that by naming something with a particular term – White Lie, Seduction, Rose the Riveter – and then launching it as “this is for you girls” that suddenly women will find it more approachable…bush league folks.  Pure bush league.  Why?  Because women are every bit, if not more so, in tune with wine’s sublties and tastes.  In fact, they appreciate the “experience” of wine, the atmosphere, the people

they’re with, the restaruant, etc… arguably more then men.  10 years ago wasn’t wine a “woman’s drink” anyway (at least in the mainstream – Microbrews were the man’s drink; still is in many parts of the nation)?  Naming a wine with one of these silly names is just flat out condescending and not a good use of marketing.  You’re generating the wrong kind of buzz.

Better strategy – don’t condescend with these dumb ass names.  Just do your thing.  Your market studies tell you that women are looking for low carb wine (I guess, I’d like to see those but lets assume thats true) and they buy wine for particular characteristics – white, rose, sweet, whatever.  Make a wine to those specification then don’t be stupid and condescending with your marketing.  Be smart.  Advertise in trade rags that target women.  Write articles for magazines that women read.  Emphasize your brand in the outlets that women view and then sell your brand in outlets that women shop at.  Tell them why its for them (low carb, white, whatever) and let them feel comfortable with it.  If you targeted it right then it’ll catch on.  These stupid names are really “dumb down” marketing and work against what you’re trying to accomplish.

And, oh yeah, make a good wine.  Don’t put lipstick on a pig.  It won’t work…

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