Wine Owners, A Testimony In Influencer Marketing

Last week, the Traackr team met with Clotilde Muller, Marketing & Community Manager for UK based company Wine Owners. We took this opportunity to ask Clotilde a few questions about her activities. Her responses provide great insight into how a small and niche industry player can generate much impact through influencer marketing.

1. What is Wine Owners and what does it do?

“Wine Owners is a portfolio management and trading platform for fine wine. We connect people who want to buy and sell wine, and provide them with all the discovery tools to manage, value and track their collection. Our audience includes wine lovers, private collectors, traders and investors… Basically anyone who is into fine wine.

Because we connect buyers with sellers in the market directly, wines offered for sale are as close to wholesale as you can get, which makes it very attractive to those who want to collect and consume the world’s greatest wines at keen prices.”

2. How do you market Wine Owners?  

“We produce content by analysing the market and providing data so that people can make informed decisions about what they buy and sell. We work a lot with influencers  mainly wine bloggers, but also with professionals who target High Net Worth individuals, people who collect wine because they love it or because they see it as a great store of value. We’re increasingly seeing HNWs diversify into things other than traditional investments, and that’s only going to continue with the level of volatility in regulated markets. We also do more traditional paid media marketing (Adwords, banners), but we have to be very targeted because we have a very niche audience that’s hard to reach, and wastage is therefore a big issue.”

3. Can you tell us about your next digital campaign?

‘We are working on producing an index of wine influencers in the UK based on our work in Traackr. The idea is to point people in the right direction for discovering and learning more about fine wine; and provide them with relevant content, and indicate whom they should go to. It’s also a great way to showcase the best of UK based bloggers because they deserve to be acknowledged. We’ll measure the impact and the level engagement our activities have generated within our community with Traackr’s analytics.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 4.30.39 PM

4. How is Traackr relevant inside of your digital marketing toolbox?

“Most of our marketing could be qualified as influencer marketing, so Traackr is very important to us. We started by searching with keywords to get an overview of the wine community in the UK and identify influential individuals, but also the rising stars; these smaller bloggers that generally remain in the shadow of the big ones are very interesting. Seeing what content is trending within our community is also a big win, as we always want to see what’s going on and not miss anything – it is a good indicator of what we should write about. Finally, we’ve started harnessing the CRM capabilities of the platform – having social conversations, emails and manual notes in one place is very useful and helps gauge the level of engagement of our influencers.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 4.30.58 PM

5. How do you reach out to influential professionals within your field?

“We are all wine geeks, so we try to see how we can best help them by providing content they’ll find of interest; some may need pricing information, others are looking for market analysis, others want to compare, and some simply want to buy or sell. We are our audience. We share a common interest and passion, and we think our members feel that and appreciate using a platform that puts them and their needs first.”

6. How do you trigger a conversation with a specific influencer?

“Once we’ve identified them and get to know them virtually, I usually call them or arrange to meet them. Real-life conversations really work to engage with your influencers, as there’s nothing like meeting someone face-to-face and creating a true relationship around a glass of wine! You have to work on both strategies.”

7. How do you nurture key relationships?

“We do it in a very natural way, we speak to them often and discuss what could be interesting for the members, try to see the various angles and see what is going on.

We also organize tastings and wine dinners – influencers love being invited to them since it is also about the pleasure of sharing. Wine influencers tend to be solicited by a lot of people, so you have to show them that what you’re doing makes a difference, and offers something that is unique or part of a forward-looking trend. There needs to be more than just press coverage at stake. We’ve developed an influencer program without really thinking about it in that way. We’ve built trust and a reputation by being authentic, talking transparently about our subject, and engaging with blogger followers – their community that ends up connecting with ours.”

8. How has the coverage of your product improved since using Traackr?

“It went very slowly at first because relationships take a long time to build. It grew naturally, it is not something that we forced.  Now, we’re quoted in articles without asking and produce co-created content – guest bloggers post on our blog or write articles where Nick, Wine Owners’ Founder, gives his insights. We get more and more sharing on twitter and have succeeded in being part of the conversation, because it is a very tight and inter-connected community where you have to have something interesting to bring. People do things because they like our platform, not because they are asked a hundred times. We also started to work more with the wealth management community, and through that we participated in the luxury report that Knight Frank published in 2014, and created a bespoke wine index for them that reflected their very exclusive market and its desire to own the world’s most iconic wines. Traackr helped us become aware of their work outside of real estate (their core business) and now we are nurturing this relationship, as they are a significant influencer within UHNWIs (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals).”

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 4.31.22 PM

9. How do you think influencer marketing can help you shape the landscape in your field?

“Our target audience needs to be guided and they need to trust us. They need to hear what we do from someone else. About half of our marketing efforts concentrate on developing our community and building solid relationships.

The influence of critics (ratings, tasting notes, etc.) has been discussed by bloggers a lot, and it is becoming more personal everyday. When you read about wine, you need to find the influencers that you have a common mindset with. It is interesting to see how the wine world is evolving around those online communities.”

10. How has internet influenced peer to peer wine trading?

“The way people were buying and selling wine before was very tedious. These days, people have more information to make their decisions and complete control of their collections. Internet has helped get rid of all the fuss.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 4.34.46 PM

11. How can Traackr help you scale?

“We are specifically interested in the Asian market because of the size of the community, but they are more of a business audience than private clients, so this is something we need to think of in the future. We haven’t started influencer marketing towards Asia at the moment but we will need a clear idea of what the market looks like, what they are interested in, and who is influencing wine consumers and the wine scene on that market. We can’t yet meet them in person but we would love to get an idea in order to get in touch with them at some point.”