Staying ahead of marketing trends is important. As a new business owner consumed with two thoughts; 1) how do I get people through the door, and 2) how do I give them the best possible experience when they arrive, I have a new appreciation for marketing trends and their potential uses at Nectar Tasting Room. There are smart people that get paid a great deal of money to offer analysis and recommendation to businesses on their marketing strategies. I am not one of them. Over the years of marketing at church, at a top global bank, and now with the magazine and tasting room, I’ve made two valuable observations:
- People want to be connected – People love to be a small part of something big. This is a testimony to the power of the “like” button on Facebook or “following” a business on Twitter.
- People want an experience – You can go to a winery and taste wine and leave or you can go to a winery and interact with the winemaker, take a tour of the facility, taste directly from the barrel and walk away with a memory and an experience.
I’m always looking for the power of connection that can bring people in the door and the engaging experience that keeps them coming back. Here is a look at three (not the only three or the best three…just three) marketing trends to watch for 2011.
Location Based Marketing
Do you Foursquare? Do you use Facebook Places? I’ve asked these questions of people as they come in the tasting room the last three weeks. Using my scientific formula I would guesstimate that about 10% of the people who come in have heard of Foursquare and about 3.28% actually use it. In my opinion, sites like Gowalla, Foursquare, Scvngr, and the new king, Facebook Places are barely scratching the surface of potential. With barely 20% of the world using smart phones, the potential growth is staggering.
Location based marketing has several great benefits. It creates loyalty and connection. It adds to a customer’s experience. It shares with all of their friends / fans / followers that they have been to your business thus increasing your potential marketing impressions. You can offer deals, reward loyalty, create challenges, and share information with people who check in (varies depending on application).
With Facebook’s entry into the game, 600 million users now have potential access to check in, savings, tagging and sharing. Foursquare continues to plug along with their model and maintains the lead in overall use but rest assure that as Facebook ramps up marketing and enhancements to the application, Foursquare may struggle to survive. Services like Scvngr offer a ray of excitement as businesses can add challenges or tasks to perform and can connect with other businesses to create a scavenger hunt type experience.
P.S. Check in at Nectar Tasting Room – They mayor gets a complimentary tasting bar flight and new check ins get $1 off of glass pours.
How can these funny little box codes make a dent in the marketing world? According to Wikipedia, QR Codes are a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.
Businesses can use a simple (and free) QR Code generator that can point people to specific information about a product, web site, or event page. Why not point people to the page where you can actually BUY the product. Any user with a camera ready smart phone can take a picture of the QR Code and have instant access to the information. Mobile marketing…mobile connection…mobile experience. A recent article on Enobytes.com goes as far as to say…
“I see QR codes exploding in the industry. It’s a marketing tool not fully being utilized in the wine business. It is the future of marketing, but it will take a considerable amount of effort for wineries and others to embrace it.”
While I don’t agree entirely with the prediction (explanation later), I do think the QR Code is an intriguing way of marketing specific information to a limited demographic. The problem with claiming QR Codes as “the future of marketing” is it assumes an easy adoption. Not only does a user have to have a smart phone, they have to download an app to recognize the picture AND it assumes that the person even knows what they are supposed to do with it. QR Codes will play a short term role in marketing and they are a fun and innovative way to share information. At Nectar Tasting Room, I plan on implementing them on our table toppers and maybe even in the front window (for our hours and Facebook page).
Group Buying Coupons
Everyone loves a deal. Get $20 worth of tacos for $10. Save 50% on clothes from Macy’s. Engaging customers through group buying deals, (Groupon, Living Social, Deal Planet, etc) has come on strong during the great recession. Merchants are looking for customers and cash flow, and customers are looking for deals. Groupon is so popular that Google offered to pay 6 BILLION to acquire them. A quick pulse check in every major (and minor) metro area across the US will reveal hundreds of Groupon copy cats.
A testament to the power of Groupon (and also a warning) – Prior to launch I did a Groupon for Nectar Tasting Room. I knew enough to know that I couldn’t support a discount on wine. Groupon asks for a minimum of 50% off on a product and then takes 50% of the actual sale price. Offering $50 worth of wine for $25 would mean that I would actually receive $12.50 for each Groupon sold. While cash flow may be good, the potential marketing cost could be high, especially if I didn’t have a way to capture any data on those purchases.
I chose to do a Groupon for my club membership, Club Nectar. The normal cost for the frequency based annual membership is $75. We offered the Groupon at $35 and sold 120 of them. The actual cost of the product on my end is $0 (although the potential for frequent users could certainly stress the costs), so to offer them at $35 seemed appropriate. Starting the business with 120 people who are incented to visit on a regular basis has proven to be a wonderful surprise. The added benefit is the capture of each of these member’s email addresses for added follow up and connection.
Several marketing trends are playing out for 2011. In my opinion, keep your eye on these. They could be great avenues for increased connection and customer experience.