I recently read a thought-provoking piece by wine consultant and commenter Robert Joseph, all about the media’s favourite generation: the millennials. The piece was published in a column for Meininger’s Wine Business International and was exceptionally well-written, catching my attention immediately because I have my own thoughts on the generation.
I love hiring millennials, I just don’t know if I’ll ever understand them. For example, what is this inconceivable fascination with cocktails? When did bartenders become mixologists? So many questions, so little time. All I know is that pouring sweet stuff into alcohol and raving about it makes no sense, but I’ll have to save that for another blog.
Joseph makes the valid point that millennials are in fact inherently different than their parents, in more dramatic ways than the boomers and theirs. He sites a recent Nielsen report that reveals while 52 per cent of boomers say they have a brand in mind when setting out to buy alcohol, they figure for millennials it’s only a quarter. They are far more likely to be swayed by what someone else is drinking, perhaps in an Instagram photo or ad that they see while making their way to the bar or store.
Another interesting point brought up by Joseph, was that the millennial generation is the first generation that tells its parents what to do. A boomer mother and father will trust their millennial children to advise them on anything involved with technology, and where to travel, so why wouldn’t they trust a recommendation about which wine to pair with what?
For these specific reasons, Joseph says millennials may be somewhat different, albeit important to the wine industry. While it’s obvious it’s the boomers we should be marketing to, I think there are a few things we can do better when it comes to marketing to millennials.
The wine industry should provide more information
The millennials are digital natives. They practically came out of the womb with a smartphone hand! It’s true, as Joseph writes, that they are the first generation that doesn’t need to pick up a newspaper or book to find out information because the answer to everything is in their pocket.
This is something that the wine industry has yet to tap into. We need to provide more information to the drinkers to help them make a decision. In fact, we should provide just enough information to subtly say “buy this one” because we all know about dwindling attention spans. It’s high time we make the industry a little less traditional and quit with the bollocks.
Technology may be the solution
In my opinion, millennials need wine information to be in an easily consumable way, such as the Internet Movie Database [IMDB]. This data base displays information about movies and the stars, and features rating and reviews from anyone who uses the site.
Something like this would be incredibly helpful when targeting the younger generation because of the need to access information quickly. Yes, I understand there are tons of wine apps out there–but I took the time to review over 150 wine apps and not one of them was worth spending 50p on.
A new era for Cadman Fine Wines
That said, we’ve recently employed a young millennial as the head of marketing at Cadman Fine Wines. Our meetings have been very interesting, and our hard copy wine brochure is taking the backseat. With more focus on the digital marketing, we’ve seen a leap in sales, and we thank our millennial for this.
As great as the new era is, and as endlessly interesting the 2010s have been, you probably won’t see me sipping on a cocktail from a “mixologist” anytime soon. Maybe from a bartender, though.
Giles Cadman is Chairman of The Cadman Capital Group, a group of cohesive, complementary companies, operating in the international trade, retail, leisure, and investment markets. Learn more about Giles.