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How Do You Know if your Marketing Strategy Is Working?
Terry Sullivan

In the session, “How Do You Know if it Is Working?” presenter Paul Wagner emphasized the importance of establishing measureable goals. It was reminiscent of college classes where education interns are instructed to write measureable objectives for their lessons. Gone are the days where one can ask, “How did your lesson go?” The teacher responds, “Fine.” Now the question is more along the lines of, “What percentage of students in your class mastered the first objective?” The answer needs to be quantitative. What is true in education is also true in the wine industry. Decisions should be based on data and the data needs to be quantitative. Attending events such as Wineries Unlimited, wine festivals and holding events at one’s winery are part of the over-all marketing strategy for a winery.

Paul mentioned that on returning to a winery from an event such as Wineries Unlimited, one may be asked, “How did the event go?” The answer, “Fine.” is not a measureable answer. One needs to collect data and the decision to participate in a same future event needs to be data driven. Paul suggested that one piece of quantitative data is to predetermine how many business cards will be collected at an event such as Wineries Unlimited. Upon returning to the winery one can count the business cards and have quantitative data.

Collecting business cards is measureable. The key point Paul made was to determine a number that would indicate success before someone went to the event. What number of business cards indicates success: ten, twenty, fifty, a hundred? In reflecting on this message, if this author would have set a number before attending Wineries Unlimited there would have been a more cognizant need to collecting business cards in order to meet that objective. For an event such as Wineries Unlimited collecting business cards makes sense, so do pages of notes taken at the seminars. Wineries could ask staff who attended the event to present a half-hour discussion of what was learned from a session. Their notes would be used to prepare their presentation. A single page of notes would be a challenge for most people to plan a half-hour discussion. The number of pages of notes is quantitative as is the length of the presentation back at the winery.

Paul mentioned the need to predetermine in quantitative terms what would be considered success at wine festivals, events held at the winery and charities the winery supports. The need to evaluate the data collected from these activities is crucial in whether a winery will continue to participate in the future. Paul challenged the audience to select three goals a year. These could include attending events, festivals, holding events etc. Evaluate the goals and over a number of years eliminate any that the winery doesn’t find successful.

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