Okay, gang, I missed a week, but I did my talk, drank some wine, hung out with clients, and met some gorgeous new wine friends. I preached the message that we MUST stop treating millennials like one big homogenous cohort; dropped the f-bomb (once, planned); and forced unsuspecting conference attendees to participate in a bit of persona building. (Bless their cotton socks, they were wonderful.)
Now, Persona Building workshops are one of my very favourite 5forests tasks, and I won’t let anyone but me conduct these workshops for clients. As we work through the process, I see wine brands have their “a-ha” moments when the exploration starts to fall into place and they see where it’s all leading. But here’s the thing: I have “a-ha” moments, too, and this week’s was a bombshell!
About 40 of us were working away on our persona – I had intentionally chosen a young millennial – and as her character began to develop, we saw a 28ish year old woman who, amongst other things, is close to her family. She relies on her siblings for guidance, and she calls her parents when she needs food and wine help.
Let’s back up: she calls her mom and dad when she needs help with wine…because her parents love wine.
Here we are, an industry obsessing over how to sell wine to younger wine-ponderers and freaking out because we fear our die-hard buyers are dying off. Forty people sat in a room painting a picture of a 28yo wine buyer who comes from a family of wine-lovers.
How many wineries have a second-generation onboarding plan in place?
I honestly don’t know of a single one, and I will raise my hand and say I had never, ever thought of this with a client before that session. But DUH! It makes so much sense! We’ve been looking at the younger markets as fully new customers, needing to be convinced to love us. What if instead we looked at them as legacy? What if we created whole strategies around activating the children of our existing customers? We build playgrounds on our wineries for them as littlies, but when they hit adulthood, what do we do for them? When was the last time you sent wine as a wedding gift to the child of a long-time customer? And, not to go all maudlin, but if you run a prized wine club, is that place in the enrolment inheritable (think, season tickets)?
I’m not gonna lie. I don’t have a plan for this…yet. But this is something we need to talk about. (Please, I mean it, email me, let’s work on this together!). Let’s reframe how we look at the generational shift and embrace them not as new people we’ve never seen before, but as the now-grown kids we’ve seen grow up. Let’s not welcome them, but welcome them BACK.
I think we can do this. Now we just have to figure out how.
Bring it, friends. Let’s find the way.