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Tech. Time Saver
Do you ever wish you had a consistent place to store shared files?  Suffer from confusion due to "multiple version syndrome"  (inefficiency caused by multiple versions of the same document or spreadsheet on different systems)? 

Check out ShareFile. This is a FTP and online storage site rolled into one.  It's easy to set up, efficient, cost effective and allows you to customize access levels for each user.
Wine Links
Business Links
Wine Picks
This summer I had the pleasure of judging the very well organized Oregon State Fair.  I recently received my tasting notes and
blogged about my personal favorites.  Below is a summary of the wineries that stood out:
Chateau Lorane
Orchard Heights
Phelps Creek 
Client Corner

McKinley Springs
Viognier named a Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Best Buy

Think Tank Wine Company releases its inaugural White Hawk Syrah

5 Points Cellars 
to release Brenner's Blend, a WA Cabernet Sauvignon, to benefit Huntington's Disease Society of America

Bodhichitta Winery
Chardonnay deemed "Excellent" by Wine Press NW
??? launches 
(coming late October)
??? launches 
(coming November)
Dixie Huey
"OND" (October-November-December) is a critically challenging, exhilarating and exhausting period for wine businesses.  We must balance harvest needs, focus on driving fourth quarter sales and dedicate time to mapping out our strategies for the year ahead.
The last issue of Strategic Guidance from the Ground Up examined the process of creating a consistent and compelling story.  In this issue, we'll cover the recommended elements of a marketing plan to better tell that story in 2010.

My Brand Development class at Chemeketa's Northwest Viticultural Center kicked off on Monday, September 28. If you're interested in viewing the technology we're incorporating into the hybrid (part traditional, part online) classroom, check out my first online lecture.  The courses are open to students seeking degrees as well as those looking for professional development.  Understanding the Wine Marketing Place begins in January 2010 and Assessing the Target Market follows in March.


Dixie Huey, Proprietor
Creating a Marketing Plan to Tell Your Story
Once a winery has developed a compelling story, the next step is to create a marketing plan to tell it consistently to the right people.  The Where, Who and How are always answered in a solid marketing plan.  (They are essentially a simplified version of the classic Four P's of Marketing and incorporate the newer P's -- People, Process and Physical environment.)

Where - This corresponds to the "Place" aspect of the traditional four "P's" of marketing.  A winery must first answer the question of channel -- in what channel(s) will I sell my wine? (This is the breakdown between wholesale, direct-to-consumer and possibly the emerging direct-to-trade.)  Then, how much will be sold in each?

After determining the channel breakdown and target case allocation, the next step is to select markets.  I always challenge clients to commit to a written plan of specific markets, the breakdown between representative distributors (if applicable) and the target account types.  Part of working well with wholesalers is providing specific goals and discussing progress frequently  -- a winery that doesn't provide its distributor partners with a proactive plan is not working to its potential.

Who - This is a newer "P" added to the traditional set -- a winery's "People".  It is critical to identify the key storytellers and outline a plan of action.  These commonly include winemakers and principles conducting market visits and hosting key events, plus hospitality and other representatives.  The main point is that the full scope of story tellers is schooled in the message and the benefits it provides each audience. Another important step is creating a Process of how to communicate feedback to the home base.

How- this step combines the "Promo", "Process"  and "Physical Environment" aspects of marketing.  It includes what I refer to as the "wheel" of marketing -- events, website, public and media relations, advertising, social media, programming for wholesale and trade accounts, printed materials and location (either winery physical or virtual).

The "How" will vary greatly depending on a particular winery's size, goals, needs and resources. Every winery may not need every aspect of the marketing wheel but a thorough examination of the possible outlets and how the relate to each other is a best practice for all.

A marketing plan should start at the strategic level with the winery's specific goals and future vision.  Each initiative and tactic used from this "wheel" should support one or more of the stated business goals.  (Operating in this fashion serves to prevent the tendency to engage in reactive planning and therefore, miss opportunities to fully leverage marketing investment. Doing so also provides a benchmark from which to measure results.)  For example, XYZ event is an initiative because our target audience will be there; we will have the opportunity to sell wine, collect consumer data and network with key media in the market.

The plan should also assign a budget to each line item.  The true cost includes that of participation as well as travel, time, samples, materials, etc.  Measuring real return on investment is only possible if a winery knows the true scope of the investment.

In closing, the marketing plan should be written (not "in my head") and distributed to key people within the winery for comment.  After agreement has been achieved, I recommend assigning each initiative a specific slot(s) on a central calendar so that all of the time spent planning is honored with actual implementation.  Planning is one thing, but committing to and following through with implementation is another!
Strategic Guidance from the Ground Up                                                       
Trellis Wine Consulting, LLC is a full service branding, strategy and communications firm for wine businesses.  Our services include brand creation and repositioning, public and media relations, website design and e-marketing, sales strategy and business planning. 
We deliver exceptional value to our clients by providing a unique blend of breadth of services and depth of expertise that supports efficient and effective growth and enhanced profitability. Ten years of experience guiding over 40 brands ranging from small, family owned wineries to large international corporations means that we know what works and well understand the need for return on marketing investment. For more information, call 360.210.5551 or visit our website.