The the under-40 crowd — those known as Millennials — value innovation, technology, and challenging the status quo; you’ll need to embrace the digital realm and put your creativity on display if you want your wine marketing to get their attention.
The pretension of elevated intellectual speak while sipping wine has created a barrier when it comes to Millennials. Wineries traditionally cater to the older generations; most wine marketing speaks to individuals for whom tasting notes and terroir actually make a difference. Millennials, though, aren’t fond of these exclusive clubs, and they don’t care to be patronized. Instead, they demand respect.
In his 2021 State of the Wine Industry Report, Rob McMillan, EVP and founder of SVB’s Wine Division wrote,
“In my view, the issue of greatest concern for the wine business today continues to be the lagging participation in the premium wine category by the large Millennial generation.”
This means that marketing to Millennials is your biggest opportunity.
The Millennials have money to spend. Many moved home during the pandemic and have more disposable income and time available. But they won’t spend either if they’re intimidated or excluded — which is how the wine industry as a whole tends to make them feel.
So, how can you make wine and wine culture accessible to and approachable for Millennials?
How can you capture that market?
What do you need to know? That’s what we’re about to tell you.
Millennials Care about Connection
Millennials won’t support just any wine label; they want to agree with your values. They want to know your personal story, and they’ll share their own, too.
Do you have a purpose that’s greater than selling more wine? How did you begin? What inspires you? How does your vineyard work? What true stories can you tell to allow them to connect and align themselves with your brand?
Millennials like to be included in something that’s really special; don’t we all? Weave a brand that’s so special that connection will be inevitable.
Millennials are Social Creatures
The under-40 Millennial crowd tends to venture out seeking entertainment, events, and activities more than previous generations. They see wine as a social drink that’s meant for sharing. Whether marketing Instagram Live wine tasting events, evening “Paint and Sip” workshops, or weekend music jams, find a way to entertain and engage with Millennial social tendencies.
The Millennial preference for socializing carries into their obsession with social media. They use social platforms for much more than conversation or selfie-posting. Social media is the Millennial go-to for breaking news, shout-outs, new trends, and product reviews and recommendations. There, you’ll find likes, comments, stars, and subscribers. Social media feedback and brand engagement determine your credibility with this crowd. If you don’t yet have an active wine-related social media presence, it’s time to get one. Be ready to spend some time creating regular, shareworthy content and authentically participating in the conversation if you want this generation to pay attention to you.
Millennials Just Want to Have Fun
Are you sharing how much fun you’re having with your vineyard, your labeling, and your visitors? Millennials seek both creativity and freedom to sustain engagement and fuel productivity. When your brand starts to get too serious, you can count on Millennials to tune out.
A life with responsibilities doesn’t require a straight face. Business doesn’t have to be boring. No brand needs to be so serious that fun isn’t a factor. So, how can you embrace humor in your brand marketing? How can you prove that you want to help Millennials enjoy their lives even more? How can you show your own enthusiasm, and get the younger crowd excited to participate?
Short Instagram Reels and Tik Tok videos can be used to create brand awareness, generate enthusiasm, and showcase your wine in a less-serious way. Show the fun your team has behind-the-scenes. Have your team learn choreography and flaunt your coordinated moves. Pair song lyrics with your latest launch or event announcement. The more creative and unstaged your content, the more credibility you’ll have with the “young and fun” crowd.
Some younger winemakers have already begun by making funky, creative wine blends that are exciting to drink. Others have found that making drinkable, fruit-forward wines means the under-40s will buy them because they don’t have to wait years until they’re ready.
Millenials Love Mobile
Almost 90% of Millennials never let their phones leave their sides, according to USA Today. This means you’ll want to prioritise everything mobile. Are your website and emails responsive and/or mobile-friendly? Can you tie your business into an app? Can you find a way to implement SMS marketing and send text messages to your on-the-go, “I want it now” audience? A text will give you much more credibility than a phone call these days. The same USA Today article revealed that 36% of Millennials decide where to spend money (and have even switched the companies they support) based on what they can do on mobile. If you’re not prioritizing mobile accessibility, you’ll be seen as irrelevant and those Millennial dollars will be spent elsewhere.
Speaking of mobile… canned wine has become especially popular because Millennials can carry it with them!
Let Millennials Lead
Your brand needs to show Millennials that you understand what they value and that you consider their contributions extremely important. This is a “walk your talk” action step.
To truly tap into the Millennial market, you’ll want to do more than just talk to them. Try literally including them! Do you have any Millennial employees? Do you show that you trust them to perform at a high level? Do you allow them to take on leadership roles? Do you appoint Millennial wine drinkers as brand ambassadors? The more you include their input in your business decisions (they value inclusion, remember), the more their consumer peers will take note. The more you decide to trust them, the more you’ll be rewarded with loyalty and genuine enthusiasm — both which are key to business success.
Feeling Some Millennial Overwhelm?
We’re neither expecting nor recommending that you pivot completely overnight. In fact, that might look suspicious to these savvy consumers. Instead, start taking small, consistent steps that will create a trustworthy wine brand over time.
To help you move in the right direction, we offer monthly retainers for design, websites and marketing. We recommend custom packages based on your sales goals and the audience you’re hoping will hear you. Schedule your free discovery call to find out how you can tweak your current brand strategy to more easily appeal to the under-40 crowd.