Marketing Wine to Boomers; We’re Not Dead, Yet.

Can there ever be a panel discussion on the Business of Wine without addressing the issue of marketing to millennials versus marketing to baby boomers? That issue was central to the Business of Wine panel discussion that took place at the Wine Bloggers Conference in the Finger Lakes District of New York last week-end. The panel included Kathy LaTour of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Monika Elling of Foundation Marketing Group and Zach Milne-Haverty of Beverage Trade Network.

It isn’t a new conversation. We’ve all heard it many times. The trend in wine marketing is to market to the millennials. As a boomer and enthusiastic wine consumer, I find that trend more than a little insulting. But the reasons given for this trend make it even more curious.

Millennials are marketed to not because they are driving sales, but because they are driving trends. Who is driving sales? Boomers, of course. Millennials are marketed to because they like to experiment with different wines versus boomers who are more likely to have brand loyalty. But if millennials like to experiment, then why would producers ever hope to build brand loyalty with them? Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend marketing dollars on building excitement about trends in wine with the people who are spending money on wine? These questions were asked at the conference. The ugly response was that millennials had more years of wine-buying ahead of them. All I can say to that is, ‘We’re feeling much better.’

4 comments on “Marketing Wine to Boomers; We’re Not Dead, Yet.

  1. vinoinlove says:

    Marketing in wine is a big topic. The wine market is ever-growing (at least here in Germany)
    More baby boomers are buying wine than Millennials and in order to increase wine sales, the Millennials are being targeted. It makes sense to me.. The wine industry wants to increase its sales on the long run and therefore targets an audience which is not yet buying that much wine but has a big potential in doing so.

  2. Speaking from a millennial perspective, I can see how marketing to my generation makes sense. In a day and age where student loans loom and make it tough to get started out, mom and dad are oftentimes still the ones footing the bill. Target to millennials and the parents’ wallets are likely to follow. It’s a sad reality.

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