September 21, 2022 / Miles Marmo
Marketing Wine To Millennials
Since the beginning of time, the wine industry has marketed their products based on the old-world – aristocratic châteaux, vistas of vines, caves of barrels, and swirling crystal glasses. Often intimidating a broader audience of new wine drinkers.Breaking that tradition and responding to the new health-conscious drinker enters FitVine Wines – better for you wines that are cleaner with less-sugar and no additives.
“The United States wine market is the largest of its kind in the world due to the high population, backed up by a high disposable income. The premiumization of wine products coupled with innovation in flavor has further regulated the wine market in the region.However, as the consumers of the United States are readily opting for nutrition-packed beverages, the wine market in the country is likely to progress slowly in the near future due to its mature nature.”FitVine Wines was created to address the shift in the way people are much more health conscious in how they eat, drink and live. The founders believed there was a market niche for those wine drinkers who wanted wines with less sugar, fewer calories, fewer carb, less sulfites with no additives. They are looking for a wine brand that is honest and transparent about ingredients and attributes which data shows is becoming more and more important to the consumer.
The U.S. wine industry has historically been a flat category. FitVine Wines brought innovation to the marketplace with the goal to expand the market by offering an alternative to the growing health-conscious enthusiasts. The challenge was that the “wine drinker” category not only crosses multiple generations, but it also must be recognized that the definition of “health conscious” is multiple and individualized – causing fragmented segmentation in the market.Also, during the 2020 pandemic, purchase behavior within the three-tier system and consumers shifted drastically, which impacted the approach FitVine originally planned for. FitVine originally started as a direct-to-consumer business but 90% of its recent business was retail channels.The ability to support both retail channels while maneuvering around government restrictions day-by-day played to the benefit of our digital-first approach. As consumer behavior shifted, we adapted and reached the necessary touch points to be there for consumers as they navigated unchartered waters.Once legacy brands caught their footing the category saw a surge in marketing support as brands doubled down on new consumption behaviors. In Q4 FitVine was outspent 10:1 as brands tried to make up losses on the year.
Based on first-party data gathered from the FitVine Wines on-line store and layered with third-party data, FitVine Wines was able to break down their audience into 18 different segmentation breakouts. Each audience had their own identified interests, some of which impacted the purchase decisions for wine.We researched trends and consumption behavior outside the wine industry to see what was really driving “healthy for you” options. We found some consistent themes across industries. First, a large segment of wine-drinking consumers is trying to take better care of themselves and demand their brands support their journey to living better. Equally important, those people want to connect to a community of like-minded that is on the same journey, knowing that there are others to talk to and support them makes it easier to accomplish new goals.
The wine category had yet to find a single champion to support clean eating and living. This is what made FitVine Wines innovative: not just the ability to produce a healthy-for-you wine, but also brand to better communicate and align itself as a consumer-first brand and create a community of like-minded people.Starting 2020 with the pandemic forced us to press pause on broader-reaching tactics and focus on more intimate settings. To build brand awareness and affinity we created hundreds of ads designed to connect with different consumer types on a more personal level, reaching them across channels that were seeing huge upticks in engagement – Connected TV, Podcasts, Social Media, and Retail Environments.We matched that messaging with unexpected influencer support across podcasts and social channels to raise awareness around a wine that championed everyone to “Live Your Fit” regardless of what that meant for you.Launching with digital-first tactics we were able to not only deliver customized messaging for each different target audience, but learn and adapt to our audiences as they responded to messaging. Social listening tools and consumer engagement started to give us a better understanding of what consumers were looking for. This opened opportunities for us to take bigger risks by going directly after the wine industry and its pitfalls. The adjustments made helped FitVine continue to hone it it’s messaging as it pertained to the audiences and why it mattered to them.We continued to learn these unconventional placements and their messaging was resonating with consumers in ways the wine category hadn’t before. Our ability to continue to refresh those touch points and keep giving consumers new and entertaining content showed our ability to connect on a personal level and support the vast differences in each customer’s journey.Source: eMarketer, April 2020 “Average Time Spent with Media in the US, 2018-2022”Source: SIMMONS 2019 Winter NCS/NHCS Adults Full Year
With this approach we saw a $19.78 ROAS with a 15.4% lift in brand recall beating the CPG benchmark of 6.5%. Additionally, we saw a 5% increase in messaging associated with the brands value proposition, beating the CPG benchmark of 1.3%. That messaging association was 10x stronger than alcohol category competitors like White Claw Hard Seltzer and Michelob ultra.