The Top 8 Things Not To Do in Wine Industry Advertising

Some contend that advertising is dead, but anyone who works in marketing—or who reads a magazine for that matter—knows it isn’t so. Advertising has changed tack and focus since the digital revolution, and there are still plenty of ways to effectively reach your target audience, provided you follow a few golden rules. The wine industry has its own specific advertising challenges, so we share our top eight things not to do in wine industry advertising below.

  1. Don’t silo your campaign: An integrated approach to an advertising campaign will increase its reach as well as the impact. Think about advertising as a partnership, not a one off expense line item. Developing relationships with media publications and working across a range of mediums—print, website, social media, emails and events—will help current and future campaigns go farther.
  2. Don’t accept a first offer: Rate card prices are almost always starting points for negotiating a better price, not a final offer. Do your research on competitor’s prices and just keep asking, “What else can you offer?”
  3. Don’t dive in blind: Before committing to anything, do your research to find out where and how the ad appears by looking at the publication’s current ads and asking to see samples. There’s nothing more disappointing than realizing that your digital ad appears at the bottom of a murderously long webpage once it’s already launched.
  4. Don’t skip the metrics: You should always know how the success of your ads will be measured. If running a print ad, know the number of subscribers and talk to the publisher to understand the most likely pass-along rate (i.e. the number of readers who read each copy, usually between 1.5-4, depending on the type of publication). If running ads online, ask the publisher to provide a report at the end detailing how many people saw the ads and how many clicked through. Better yet, link your Google Analytics account to the ad so you can actually see the results yourself.
  5. Don’t underestimate the power of print: Print ads can still be key to an ad campaign, and publishers will go a long way to get you to run a print ad. Ask for added value in the form of digital ads, email sponsorship, social media posts, and even special events as part of your print ad run to get the full mileage out of your campaign.
  6. Don’t be narrow-minded: Traditional wine media may not be the best way to go. Sure, you’ll reach wine enthusiasts by advertising in the major national wine magazines, but you’ll stand out more and reach a less saturated audience in food, travel design and lifestyle publications. Don’t be afraid to branch out!
  7. Don’t plan a campaign around major holidays: Unless you have a $200K+ campaign, your message will be lost in the chaos of holiday advertising blitzes. Continuing with your regular advertising for consistency is smart, but save your extra dollars for a time of year when it will stretch farther, such as late spring when wine country tourism begins to pick up.
  8. Don’t forget to review industry guidelines: Follow Wine Institute’s Code of Advertising Standards and the Code of Responsible Practices set forth by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) to help keep you compliant.