In the early 1970â€™s Phillip Kotler created the concept of the 4 Pâ€™s of Marketing, Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. I have marketed and sold many products, and I have found the 4 Pâ€™s relevant with all of them. So what does this mean to the wine industry. Letâ€™s look at them each individuallyâ€¦.
Product – You need to have a realistic, objective view of the quality of your wine. How does it compare to your perceived competition? Does it reflect your wine making philosophy? Are you getting the most from the raw materials you have to work with?
Price – How does the price you are asking for your wine reflect the position you are looking for, and the quality of your wine? Under pricing wine is as bad as over pricing. As a baseline, there is a certain return you need from the wine relative to your investment. Does the end product justify that return? If priced to high, the wine will not sell, and you will have dead inventory to deal with. Is it priced too low? If you are selling out your offering quickly, think about raising your price.
Place – This refers to distribution. What are you doing to get the product in front of the consumer? Do you have distributors? are you making market visits to promote your wine? Do you have a good website, with a shopping cart? Are you managing your mailing list? Do you have a club? Have you tried to sell direct in the self distribution states? These are all elements of distribution.
Promotion – What can a small to medium sized winery do to promote their product? There are the obvious tactics, enter wine competitions, wine makers dinners, shelf talkers, etc. What about the not so obviousâ€¦Direct promotions, such as special offerings, to your club members. Creating unique bundled offers in your tasting room, or using your newsletter to educate the consumer.
Bottom line is that making great wine is rarely enough. You must be a marketer, and sticking to the basics, the 4 Pâ€™s, is a firm foundation to build on.