Grape Differentiation is a Must!
In wikipedia, marketing differentiation ” is the process of distinguishing the differences of a product or offering from others, to make it more attractive to a particular target market.
Further it suggests that “Differentiation is a source of competitive advantage…. Marketing or product differentiation is the process of describing the differences between products or services …. This is done in order to demonstrate the unique aspects of your product and create a sense of value. Marketing textbooks are firm on the point that any differentiation must be valued by buyers.”
I chose to use this particular definition because it touches upon almost all the salient points of why differentiation is so important to any business, and certainly no less important to those in the wine industry.
Reviewing the highlights above:
- Differentiation allows your wine business to be more visible to a targeted audience of wine enthusiasts.
- It provides competitive advantage when clearly defined and clearly communicated to that audience.
- Competitive advantage is achieved because the differentiation conveys a sense of value that directly correlates with the values of your customers.
Differentiation has always been an important principle in regards to successful marketing. However, it takes on even greater leverage in the internet era of social media and networking. Why? Because of the critical need and ability to selectively target and connect with your current and/or prospective customers.
So what was missing in the definition?
The fact that differentiation is NOT relegated only to your product and service! In this age of social interaction, it can relate to the product or service (varietal, blend, wine club, tasting room), but it can also relate to many other things, such as background, gender, culture, production methods, beliefs, memberships,passions. even a target generation.
Case in point: I recently had a conversation with Galen Struwe, President of Desnous Imports LLC, whose website is Sacrebleuwine. Having established profiles and a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, and YouTube, he gets the power of social media, and more importantly, he understands the importance of connecting with his target audience. Look at his webpage. He is selling fine wine from France. Do you see any pictures that relate to bottles of wine, grapes, or vineyards? No.
What you will see is a very conscious effort to connect with a specific target audience. Visit the site. Click on the picture of Laetitia Bleger, Ms. France 2004. Hey .. we are talking about wine here! We are talking about a winery in Alsace where Ms. Bleger is adding a passion for wine to her resume.
You will also notice a very visible area that offers visitors a chance to share the site and contents with their peers and friends. Is this differentiation? You bet.
However, whatever differentiation you choose (and it can be more than one), it must be part of your overall marketing strategy and it must be genuine.
Disingenuous differentiation will be spotted almost immediately, and will likely backfire badly in conjunction with social networking.
For more details on how to differentiate your winery with examples of those that are using differentation, check out this related article I just posted – “Wineries: Differentiate to Increase Business through Social Media”.