One of the most frequently asked questions I get is “Will Millennials spend the money on a $50 bottle of wine?” Ok, sometimes the price changes, but I’d have to say I answer this at least 2-3 times a week. The answer is YES, WE WILL. But in order to spend more money than we normally do on wine (or ANYTHING) there must be a reason for doing so.
This spring, I compiled the data from a survey I conducted online – some of the results from that survey I included in my May 5th post, Where Millennials Are Buying Wine. I asked over 100 Millennials (mainly residing in Southern California) questions about their wine buying habits. None of the answers were a big surprise to me, but to many people who are not members of the Millennial Generation, the answers are a real wake-up call.
First we need to know what Millennials normally spend on wine. From the research based on the informal online survey a baseline was established in terms of the average amount on money respondents spend on a bottle of wine.
Almost 60% of respondents spend between $11-$20 on average on a bottle of wine, so we have our baseline. According to survey results, giving wine as a gift is one of the main reasons the survey respondents buy wine in the first place (these results to be posted soon). I know from experience and observation that we tend to spend more money on a bottle of wine when we give it as a gift – and so the question was posed: Just how much are we willing to spend on a bottle of wine – in any circumstance – including as a gift?
Most of us are actually happy to pay $50 and above for a bottle of wine as a gift. Two thirds of us are willing to go above our typical price range for a gift. So what does this mean in terms of increasing sales among Millennials?
GIVE US A REASON
Seriously. If you are in the position of selling wine to a Millennial, and you get the feeling that it may be more than this young person is comfortable spending on themselves – suggest it as a gift. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Hostess Gift, Birthday Present, Wedding Gift – help them find a reason to spend more money on your wine. I’ve mentioned this before in the April 3rd post, along with a few suggestions on how to engage young people and build a relationship with them – feel free to take a look and do some brushing up.
Now that the numbers are in, let’s see what we can make happen.
Have you tried this approach with success? Without success? Are you planning to now? If you have a related experience you’d like to share with other readers, please feel free to tell us about it in the comments section. We can all learn from what you are doing.
Everybody’s attempting to do the brand new dance now – it’s called TRY AND REACH OUT TO MILLENNIAL CONSUMERS. Well, what do Millennials think of all this? Granted, there aren’t nearly enough people attempting, but let’s look at the landscape.
It looks a lot like the dancefloor at the last wedding you went to. Now, not everyone is out on the floor – it takes a certain amount of courage to get out there. Of the people out on the floor, you observe a few different types. First off, there’s the “kids.” They’re looking pretty good – they know the music, know the moves, and they’re having fun. Then there’s the “grandparents” – we love them just for getting out there and trying. Then there’s the “parents” – they’re a bit older than the kids, but they’re out there. They’re trying. Some of them are attempting to bring back their own famous dance moves from back in the day – with little success. Some are trying to copy the “kids” since they must know best, right? This can be pretty embarassing to watch. Some of them, however, know the music and know the scene and can get right down to business.
Welcome to the party that is the wine industry right now. Good for everyone on that dance floor for just getting up and trying. As an observer, though, you can see that not everyone is… let’s say effective. Most of the “kids” look great. You want to go up and hug the “grandparents” just for being awesome enough to try. But it’s the main population of the dance floor, the “parents,” that are tough to watch. The best people on the floor know the music and the scene – regardless of whether they are 14 or 62 – the rest are trying, bless their hearts, but they’re not really getting anywhere.
So if the dance floor is made up of companies vying for the Millennial consumer, that would make the Millennial consumer… YOU. THE OBSERVER.
Millennials have had advertising campaigns shoved in our faces since we were propped up in front of our parents tvs. It’s safe to say that we’re a pretty savvy group. It’s not like we don’t KNOW that we’re being marketed to. We fully realize this – we’re used to it. In fact, we get perturbed if we are NOT marketed to, and yet a company telling us that they are hip will not make us consumers. We are innate experts at taking in and analyzing information in order to form opinions. And we are REALLY good at forming opinions, as any Millennial parent will tell you. And just as it’s crystal clear to anyone looking at that dancefloor that Uncle Billy is making an ass of himself, it’s just that easy for us to see which companies are wasting their time.
Possibly the most simple and powerful example of this comes from a recent post on FineArtsLA.com. The post is a piece on a new wine tasting group in Los Angeles (WTF LA – yes, this is my group and apologies for the plug, but there is a reason for it…). The freelance writer, Jenia Gorton, is a Millennial and has some VERY interesting things to say about how young people are treated as consumers in the wine industry. I think the most interesting is this quote:
It seems like there is “good” wine, which young people are expected to know nothing about, and “cheap” wine, for us ignorant 20 and 30-somethings, bums, and broke alcoholics.
It speaks directly to what many companies and marketers think of young people consuming wine today: we aren’t educated and we won’t spend the money. Yep, we hear you loud and clear, but maybe we don’t want some company’s version of 2 Buck Chuck. Or the new Yellowtail. It’s possible that we want to be respected as consumers and have a company or two reach out to us based on qualities other than our wallets. Like our tastes, our sense of humor, our lifestyles, our shared experiences – but if a company is not connected to any of these things… that effort will still be a FAIL.
So what can marketers learn from Millennials like Ms. Gorton? If you’re going out on the floor, you better know how to DANCE.
A big concern for many of us in the wine industry is price points – will we have to drop prices in order to make money these days? Many people associate price drops with the Millennial generation because it’s assumed they buy cheaper wines. What if instead of dropping prices and hoping to gain sales, a business could build an additional customer base with their EXISTING prices? A business will have to change a few things in order to create a Millennial customer base, but prices don’t have to be one of them. Each Friday I’ll be bringing you a specific tip and serious insight on how to reach out to Millennials as CONSUMERS. You can put these tips into practice immediately and see for yourself how effective they can be.
Last week we discussed the danger and tendency to generalize an entire generation. This week we continue our example of the young couple in a winery’s tasting room…
This is key. As a sales person, asking questions is how you find out if your young couple that just walked in the door are looking to buy a $35+ bottle of wine or if you need to guide them. Keep your questions casual but targeted. Find out if they are from out of town – if they have taken a special “wine country trip” they may be in the area to buy bottles. If so, be sure to mention some “insider tips” on wine and buying – they are obviously serious. Ask where they are staying – an old trick for finding out what their price range could be.
As a business owner, you are not only learning more about a group, but you are making a sale creatively and perhaps one that you never expected.
If from your questions you discover that they wouldn’t normally purchase a bottle in your price range, point out a special occasion or a gift possibility. According to my own 100+ blind survey (stay tuned for full report) the majority of Millennials are willing to spend more on a bottle of wine as a gift, and 80% of Millennials sampled buy wine as gifts. Have you found out why they are in the area? Is it a vacation? A family wedding? Getaway weekend? A special bottle that they both enjoy could be a wonderful keepsake for these trips. Before I even worked in wine, my boyfriend and I had a getaway to the Central Coast where we decided that we’d splurge on a great bottle we loved in order to lay it down and open it the next year. Suggest that for a special occasion – it’s something they might not be thinking of. You get the idea. You can only make these suggestions if you have a working knowledge of who they are and why they are in your tasting room. The more you know about them, the better you can tailor your sales pitch.
Again, this is a simple and logical step, but one that is not taken by the majority of business owners with Millennials. It pays off all around. As a business owner, you are not only learning more about a group, but you are making a sale creatively and perhaps one that you never expected. By asking questions, you are focusing your attention and not judging them. From their point of view, they see that you are investing energy and time in them and will have a positive experience along with their purchase. This means positive feedback outside – facebook, twitter, yelp, blogs, as well as good old-fashioned word of mouth.
Congratulations – you’ve started to build a new customer base.