Alcohol Advertising restrictions & CRM

Wednesday, 20 November, 2013
Jean-Marc Duquenoy
CRM (Consumer Relationship Management, the 'steroid, digital' version) is finally being recognized by the South African Wine Industry as a serious contender for a  legal, affordable advertising platform for their brands.
We all know that advertising our wines (and spirits) is going to become more and more of an issue going forward - so what are we doing about it, what is your 'plan B'?

To my absolute horror, I recently discovered that most Estates don't have a plan at all and some are even in denial as to the advertising restrictions about to take place!

Yet - very quietly the 'big boys' in town have been making hay whilst the rest of us fiddled with our, erm, fiddles.
They have, for the last 15 years+, been on consumer acquisition drives in the advent of any or possible advertising restrictions, plus, it makes so much sense to have a serious club of staunch supporters, (simply imagine a game of rugby without a scrum).

My company recently spent over 4 months in the Boland visiting well-known Wine Estates and inquiring as to whether they had made any provisions for this severe restriction on advertising their livelihood.

The totally shocking standard answers I more often received where along the lines of, "we have a data-base” or, “what restrictions”?  The other remark was the traditional 'head -in-the-sand' approach, “it won't happen." Two even said it would affect the bigger guys more than ‘us’, the smaller producers.

That's hilarious and astoundingly naive and incredibly short-sighted bordering on irresponsible. You're willing to rely simply on the label on your bottle to grow your Brand's equity and cut through the clutter? How very foolish brave of you. Imagine if British American Tobacco had thought along those myopic lines all those years ago.

Here's a thought, imagine if the bigger producers had massive data-bases that are all de-duped (clean and up-to-date, latest cell numbers), legal (have signatures/permission to communicate), age verified, ARA comms compliant, etc.

Imagine that it took them years and years to quietly ask you where you eat, drink, your favourite sport, what part of SA you live in, gender, age group, cat-lover, dog-lover, married or single, your fave Cultivar - the list goes on.
Then imagine if the really expensive, and we are talking Millions of $ a MONTH here, above-the-line advertising from TV to newspapers to radio etc., gets restricted - for instance, we can only flight liquor ads after 11.00pm.

What, I wonder, to do with all those unspent Millions now?

Oh I know, I'll SMS my data-base and ask my legal, signed-in, 'want to know' consumers, (all 20,000 of them) to refer-2-good friends (answer via email?) to stand a chance and win a trip to say, Napa valley, all-inclusive? Hey, look, I now have 60 000 consumers I can talk to!

What surprised me the most is that the more we offered our Estates over 32 years of these same effective e-CRM solutions, scaled down to affordable budgets, the more they responded they will do it 'in-house'?
Ladies and gentlemen, we don't have the time to experiment. The same as CRM agencies wouldn’t have the time to make their own wine.

Consumer engagement (e-CRM) is knowing how to 'slice and dice', segment for different campaigns, for different cultivars, for different gender, with demographics, on-con or off-con, B2B etc.

It's easy to get 1000 unsubscribes simply by sending out your SMS at the wrong time of the day, or week - with the stock-standard and cheesy, "Hi - you have won a case of bla, bla, bla" message.

My honest advice to my fellow imbibers and producers - Google an authentic CRM program, preferably South African and inexpensive - or even check out this article here which holds insights that are definitely worth checking out. Or feel free to give us a call for a free presentation at 083 5556766 more details on