When you think of Italian wine, does wine tech and social media come to mind? If you said no, you're probably not the only one, but the Italian Trade Commission is working to change that.
For 3 years running, the Italian Trade Commission has hosted the largest Italian wine conference outside of Italy in New York City's Waldorf Astoria hotel. The conference was held in January and featured numerous seminars and tastings.
But the wine and tech crowd gravitated to the social media panel (known simply as #virtualvino on Twitter) in particular. Moderated by Tom Wark, the panel took a different approach to educating the attendees. Instead of individual presentations and a short question and answer period at the end, there was a short introduction by Tom Wark and the entire seminar after that was based on audience questions.
Social media avenues and Millennial marketing were the crowd's key focuses. And with three Millennials on the panel itself (and many more in the room), information about the generation that is often billed as the future of wine was abundant. Whether or not you think that the discussion about marketing to Millennials is important, played out, or somehow inherently different than marketing to every other generation, the focus obvious.
Millennials really are no different than any other generation in so many ways. The major differences are simply that they have grown as technology has grown and had an easier time adapting, much like if you learn another language when you're young. To market yourself differently to them is absurd. The same message should reach them, just know it will just take a different route to get there. The key to marketing to Millennials (and any other generation through social media) is just consistency. Know your brand before you start marketing. Whatever your brand is, keep the message cohesive throughout all of the channels you're using.
Another large topic was the specific social media sites. Avenues to communicate with your customers may be evolving at a quickening pace, but most people understand that already. The crowd in the room knew about Facebook and Twitter; blogging was not a new term. Maybe they were more familiar than most, or maybe social media is taking hold within the wine industry. Time will tell.
The most important pieces to pull from the seminar were not the details, though. The large statements like be authentic and it's a conversation ring the most true. Not every tweet or every status update on Facebook has to be about a special you're offering. In fact, it shouldn't be solely for promoting specials or events. It's great to show a little bit more of your personal self through those mediums. Your customers don't want to always talk to the brand, they want to talk to the real people who represent the brand, and there's no other way to do that than by just being yourself.