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Friday, May 29, 2015

Internet Tools to Help You Learn About New Markets, Part 1

By Dr Kathy Kelley, Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Business Management, and Dana Ollendyke, Extension Associate


In the marketing world, we constantly discuss strategies to increase sales, and these conversations often focus on two options – sell more to your current customers or find new ones.

Most people would agree that it is much easier to meet current customers’ needs and demands because you already have a relationship with them. Therefore, your promotion and advertising “costs” (time and money) should be less than what you might need to acquire new customers.  For this post, we will be using wine as our example.

Imagine that you are looking for new markets to sell your wine to because:
  • your wine production volume has increased. 
  • you feel you have exhausted the local market and have done your best to attract visitors looking for a tasting room experience. 
  • and/or it is essential to investigate new opportunities.
When you first developed your tasting room business plan, you probably gave some thought as to how you would market to consumers and how you would identify potential clientele. If it has been awhile since you’ve reviewed your business plan, you will likely need to update it since your business has probably changed over the years.
 
Customers visiting a winery's tasting room (Photo credit http://bit.ly/1AyDrbl)

Perhaps you not only thought about how you would attract and meet the needs of consumers based on their generation, consumption frequency, and when they drink wine (e.g. while cooking, watching sports, at restaurants, etc), but maybe you even gave some consideration to learning about how different cultures approach wine and include (or exclude) wine from their diets.

We subscribe to several different online newsletters and journals (some of which are international) and regardless of the newsletter/journal’s origin, there is often an article about how a large brand, wine company, or group of wineries are looking to export to emerging markets. Along with providing information about current wine consumption and predictions, wine preferences, and how wine should be presented in the marketing place (cork vs. screw cap, for example), these articles discuss the population of these foreign lands in terms of growth trends, major population centers, generational distribution, major ethnic groups and races, gender breakdown, employment rate, etc. — all of which can help a business determine the viability of the market and to whom/where to market the product.

Though the goal of these articles is to provide information for targeting wine consumers, the information provided can certainly be useful for targeting consumers of any product or service based on specific racial and ethnic heritages.

But how should you begin crafting a strategy to target these consumers?
Winery tasting room owners/operators may be familiar with “who” lives in their city or county, but if you need a refresher or have never really delved into the demographic makeup of these residents, information can be found online in multiple places.

Some of our top picks include:

  • The US Census Bureau website.
  • Easy Analytic Software Inc (EASI) Demographics tool.
  • Small Business Development Center's Geographic Information Systems (GIS) reports.
We will discuss each of these tools in more detail in future posts.

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