From hosting holiday and corporate parties to sponsoring sporting events, industry occasions provide ample opportunity for wine brands to engage in event marketing.
But with so many wineries competing for market space these days, is event marketing a worthwhile tactic for your wine business?
Probably yes. Here's why.
What is Event Marketing?
Because digital marketing gets most of the attention in organizations, you may have never considered event marketing before.
That's a mistake.
Event marketing is big business, with companies spending upwards of 23 billion dollars a year on sponsorships alone according to Giving USA. Defined broadly, event marketing covers everything related to promoting your company through events—your own or someone else's.
For example, if Chateau Ste. Michelle paid to sponsor the radio broadcast of a Seattle Seahawks game, that would fall under the event marketing umbrella.
So is setting up a booth with wine samples at a trade show or farmer's market.
How Are Events Important For Brands In The Wine Industry?
Event marketing as part of an integrated marketing strategy can increase brand awareness, favorability, and build relationships with customers (including B2B customers for wineries looking for retail and distribution partners).
Having an on-site presence where people can have a chance to taste your wine, or where you can enter people in raffles (also a great way to grow your email list) can help differentiate you from other wineries in the minds of consumers.
The person-to-person element allows you to connect with your audience on a deeper level, all while creating a memorable brand experience.
Simply sponsoring an event can have a favorable impact on your brand as well, especially if you leverage your presence in the digital space to engage consumers with a discount, sale, or other promotion.
What’s The Difference Between Hosting And Sponsoring An Event?
Just like it sounds, hosting means you are throwing your own event, whether at your venue or offsite.
For wineries, hosting might include premiere tasting events, state of the industry conventions, holiday festivals, or any other type of occasion where you control the content.
Hosting an event typically means having a marketing plan in place to attract attention. People need to know about your event if they are going to attend. And you’ll need a strategy to get the word out (more on that in a little bit).
Sponsoring an event means providing cash (or an in-kind trade of product) to cover some or all of the costs of someone else’s event.
Event sponsorship packages will usually include visibility for your company name and logo, for example on the outfield fence at a ballgame, or in a podcast or radio ad: "Fireworks this year are proudly sponsored by Thomas Aquinas Winery."
While name and logo placement are the bare minimum needed to generate a return on a sponsorship investment, remember to keep your goals in mind.
Why are you sponsoring this event? Is it to create brand loyalty? Engage new customers? Boost your corporate social responsibility perception with a particular demographic?