THE BOOZE BIN
By Pia Mara Finkell (@piamara)
2010 has without a doubt been the year of social media growth. It’s impossible to watch the morning news, read a newspaper or conduct a meeting without hearing the term “social media.” It has gotten me thinking about brainstorming new names for the term. Web 2.0 came and went. Some people (including me) simply shorten it to “social,” or use the term “new media” to spice up the term. Let me know if you have any brilliant ideas; otherwise, I’m starting a drinking game for every time someone says “social media.”
But I digress…
As far as social media’s influence, the world of booze has been no exception. Social media marketing has swept through the wine, spirits, beer and restaurant industry like wildfire. Even the National Restaurant News’ annual survey of more than 1,500 American Culinary Federation member chefs, one of the top food and wine industry forecasts of the year, forecasted some interesting trends for social marketing.
Here are a few worth noting:
- 55% of chefs said they are currently using social media for professional purposes, and another 16% said they plan to start using such channels in 2011
- Citing top restaurant operational trends, 17% of chefs referenced social media marketing
- 15% of chefs said one of the most successful strategies for maintaining and building business during the recession was increased marketing efforts (including social media marketing)
Chefs often have strong influences on wine and cocktail menus, and thus on booze marketers, especially with the rise of culinary cocktails and focus on wine- and beer-pairing menus. If chefs make up one of your target audiences (and even they are making time for social media in the kitchen), it is clear 2011 should mark an increasing focus on all things social for marketers.
A few other social media marketing trends currently in their infancy phase are sure to create a lot of buzz and make their mark on our industry in 2011:
The wine industry has just started to scratch the surface in the use of QR codes for marketing, otherwise known as Context Sensitive Marketing or CSM. QR codes have started popping up on wine labels (e.g., 94 Wines and Cellar Key), but there is tremendous room for growth by using this little digital bar code on everything from bottle neckers in wine shops (to hold winery information) to advertisements (leading to a Facebook page) and event promotion (an invitation leading to the RSVP site).
Geotracking the Next Step in Attracting Loyal Customers
Foursquare has begun to heat up, but other than a bar promotion here or there, it still remains a fun game without wide-sweeping usage or, arguably, enough concrete purpose in promoting business. But there is clearly tremendous potential when it comes to geo-marketing. One good example of the wave of the location-based social gaming future is the recently announced partnership of Vin Tank with SCVNGR Rewards, which awards redeemable points to loyal customers who check in at Napa Valley’s Franciscan or Robert Mondavi wineries.
Paul Mabray, the head of the wine industry’s leading think tank, VinTank, believes new social technologies like SCVNGR are the best way for wineries to increase their business. "The wine industry is primed and ready to start capitalizing on all of the emerging technologies available today. Wine is meant to be social, after all, and we believe adding opportunities for wine consumers to socialize digitally is the natural next step."