I thought long and hard before I put up my last post. It’s a little harsh (surprise) – but it’s honest. And it’s important for me to support that POV with some more information. Typed information. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, feel free take the 30 seconds or so to get caught up.

Now do me a favor. Think about who your competitors are in the market place. Go ahead. Have a name or two in mind? Good. Now think again.

Image from the 6/27 Ad Age article, Bottom's Up! A Look at America's Drinking Habits

Your competitor isn’t that winery that’s doing better than you in sales, it’s not the winery down the road or the segment leader you get reports on. Your competition is beer. It’s liquor. Sure everyone’s striving for a bigger piece of the pie, but how about this: How about we get more pies? With the staggering number of millennials open to wine, the time to do it is NOW.

Sounds great, right? Sure. But it’s not going to be easy. We’ve dug ourselves into a lame little hole, wine industry. I’d like to use a little tech analogy to illustrate the competitive gap here: If beer is google, wine is the lost and found box in the local YMCA.

The wine industry as a whole must take a good, long look at itself as compared to other industries. We lack reach. We lack creativity. We CERTAINLY lack drive. We’re just floating around in our own juices, happy that no one has ever once demanded that we change. Do you know why no one has questioned the dismal way in which wine is marketed and generally “put out there?” Neither do I, but I have a few guesses.

1) People don’t care – they like wine and they’ll keep buying it regardless of how lazy the industry is. DAMN STRAIGHT. Why do you think wine has been skating along for years without making one major shift in marketing approach? It’s certainly not because our core consumers are energized by seeing another freaking vineyard with a photoshopped bottle or two in your Wine Spectator ads. Don’t you think that maybe – JUST MAYBE – that if we actually try as an industry to authentically reach our consumers (and potential consumers) that it MIGHT just pay off in the form of cash money?

2) Consumers have basically zero in the form of expectations for the wine industry. So we as an industry could either keep coasting along and pulling paychecks thanking the Good Lord that we’ve got this thing down blindfolded, OR we could actually try something different – something active – and blow everyone’s mind.

Now, you may be thinking “Leah, we ARE innovating. We’re using social media and making QR code hangtags.” And to you I say: starting facebook and twitter accounts and slapping QR codes on your bottles is not innovating. I’m talking about shifting the way in which we talk about wine. Changing the way we communicate. I’m talking about QUALITY people, not about “new outlets.”

Need some inspiration? Think about some of the most boring industries or products out there. Perhaps insurance comes to mind. Or maybe soap? Hell, carpet cleaning is so boring, I bet it never would have even popped into your mind. Now look at what these folks are doing:

INSURANCE:

Allstate “Mayhem”

Geico “Could Switching To Geico Really Save You…”

 

SOAP:

Old Spice “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

 

CARPET CLEANING:


Stanley Steemer “Carpet Guys”

 

I think you get what I mean. The product that we are selling is, I don’t know, about A BAJILLION times cooler than insurance. And carpet cleaning. And definitely more awesome than soap. Why is no one treating it that way? That has to change.

Get hungry people. Or thirsty.