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Sunday, February 17, 2019

How do the Great Winemakers Sell?

Intriguing view of selling.  Works if you already have the established brand equity: real, bought  or imagined.

Should You Ignore What Your Customers Want? The Great Winemakers Do.
Rather than follow consumer taste, they push it in a new direction.

Based on the research of: 
Ashlee Humphreys, Gregory Carpenter  at Kellogg

A wine expert guides a consumer in a shopping cart through a river of wine, to a particular group of bottles.  Michael Meier

Among French wines, Château Pétrus is legendary. Consumers pay over $1,000 for a single bottle. Talking with Christian Moueix, the owner and long-time winemaker of Pétrus, Kellogg’s Gregory Carpenter asked an innocent question: When crafting a wine, how do you think about the consumer?
Taken aback, the vintner paused, leaned back, and opened his eyes wide. “He said, ‘I don’t! I make what pleases me,’” recalls Carpenter, a professor of marketing at the Kellogg School.

That may come as a surprise to those who think that winning customers requires exhaustive surveys and precise analytics to discover what people want. Yet this consumer-skeptic attitude is common among winemakers. “They suspect that consumers don’t really appreciate and respect wine,” says Carpenter, “so there’s no point asking them what they think.”

But from a business point of view, that presents a challenge: How do you create devoted customers and turn a profit if you essentially ignore what customers want?

Winemakers are not the only ones facing this quandary. Marketing scholars have a term—“market-driving firms”—for businesses that, rather than reacting to consumer tastes, attempt to influence those tastes to their advantage. But prior research on market-driving firms has focused on high-tech innovators like Apple and Tesla. These companies shape consumer preferences by introducing unprecedented products and services, which often render the competition obsolete. As Steve Jobs famously stated: “Our job is to figure out what [customers] are going to want before they do.”

Carpenter wanted to know how a company can influence consumers without a disruptive new technology to offer. So, working with Ashlee Humphreys, an associate professor of integrated marketing communications at Northwestern’s Medill School, he turned to the wine industry. “Winemaking hasn’t changed in thousands of years,” Carpenter says.   .... "

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