I’ve written about why wineries should use the internet in their direct marketing efforts for some time now and I have first hand experience with the subject in my consulting work. So it was with interest, and a bit of frustration, that I read Mike Duffy’s post that his Winery Website Report is on hiatus due to lack of interest from wineries. Paul at the REthink blog also posted his disappointment early this morning.
So why do wineries not value their websites or see them as strategic to their direct to consumer marketing? I think it’s due to a few factors. First, many wineries do not have a marketing person with much online experience. Other than hiring an agency or consultant to put up a brochure site, a lot of wineries don’t see the value of their websites. Another reason is that most small wineries don’t have any marketing people. There also seems to be a view that marketing is something “nice to do” after getting a sales plan in place. This makes sense since generating cash is a winery’s first priority and there are a number of other activities more important than marketing, let alone an optimized website.
So does this mean winery websites are not important? Hardly, as there are compelling examples of wine brands using their websites (or blogs) to dramatically increase sales in a short period of time. It’s just that those wineries are very far ahead of the curve right now. As more wineries seriously map out their consumer direct strategies, they will spend more time crafting their web presence to meet the needs of customers. Until then, their websites are, frankly, not that important to them. Which is most disappointing to those of us marketing wine online.
I’ll bet Mike has plenty of business later this year and into 2008 as more wineries understand the importance of their websites… as they say, the pioneers are the ones with the arrows in their backs.