Wine marketers (and wine companies) could increase their sales if they develop targeted strategies to reach different groups of wine consumers. Market segmentation can help them gain a better understanding of the characteristics, preferences, interests and needs of different groups of wine drinkers.
This is according to Carna Myburgh who recently obtained her Master's degree in Business Management at Stellenbosch University.
Because of the limited knowledge of different South African wine segments, Myburgh explored different consumer groups according to their involvement (knowledge about wine and attendance of wine-related events) with wine, their motives for drinking wine and their purchase behaviour.
She held focus group discussions with a group of wine consumers, adapted and applied a Swiss-based questionnaire on wine market segmentation to our local context, and also used data collected by a South African wine research company.
Myburgh was able to identify five wine market segments, namely the bargain-hunting wine consumer, the wine traditionalist, the wine enthusiast, the wine intellectual, and the basic wine consumer.
According to her, this segmentation could inform targeted marketing strategies based on the specific wants and needs of these distinct groups.
She says the wine consumers who participated in her study generally had a moderate knowledge of wine and visited wine seminars, wineries, did wine tasting, and took wine tours.
“When buying wine for their own consumption, they pay attention to the intrinsic aspects of the wine, the rating it has received, recommendation of others, the wine's heritage, and whether it is a bargain. That is, they consider features such as the information on the label, the vintage, the origin of the wine, the grape variety, the alcohol level, the producer or brand, and the price."
Myburgh points out that bargain-hunters drink wine to have fun and to socialise. They also like to drink it with food. When buying wine, they mainly look for promotional offers.
“Wine traditionalists also drink wine to have fun and to socialise, but also do so because it is part of their family tradition or cultural background. They pay attention to intrinsic aspects, bargains, heritage, and recommendations of friends, acquaintances and salespeople when buying wine.
“The same goes for wine enthusiasts and wine intellectuals who are the wine experts. They do, however, appreciate the intellectual challenge of drinking wine. The former consumes wine for health-related reasons. In addition to the intrinsic aspects of the wine, recommendations and the wine's heritage, both segments consider the ratings a particular wine has received.
“Basic wine consumers only occasionally drink wine to have fun or with food. When buying wine, they tend to pay attention only to the 'intrinsic aspects' of the wine," she adds.
Going forward, wine marketers should use customised strategies to target the different groups of wine drinkers, recommends Myburgh.
“They could offer bargain-hunting consumers coupons, limited discounts, or 'promocodes' (promotional discount codes) on social media.
“Wine marketers can offer them in-store promotions and wineries can create competitions and promotional offers that require consumers to share details of the winery on social media. They could also target these consumers through innovative and stylish wine packaging.
“Since wine traditionalists tend to be loyal to a specific brand marketers should build the long-term loyalty of these consumers by directly interacting with them through feedback, sending them a weekly or monthly newsletter about information regarding the launch of new products, special offers, and important wine-related news. Marketers can also reward wine traditionalists with special discounts and offers."
Myburgh adds that wine enthusiasts, who regularly attend wine-related events, could be targeted through wine-related books, magazines, wine festivals, wine clubs, and online 'virtual assistants', among others.
“Wine intellectuals could also be targeted through wine-related books, magazines and websites that provide detailed information regarding their brand and wines the winery's history, the grape variety, vintage, origin, and production process. Marketers can place QR codes on the label of the brand's premium products that wine intellectuals can immediately scan with their smartphones to get this information."
Myburgh says marketers can also hold 'quiz nights', unique wine-tasting events and exclusive, informative wine tours for these consumers.
To attract basic wine consumers, markets should communicate the brand's personality and story in-store or online, she adds.