millennials

This Was One of the Hardest Things I’ve Ever Done. Here’s Why It Was Worth It. (Probably.)

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Not gonna lie.

It was tough.

Catching and holding the attention of 45 students at a time, last week in Bordeaux, as part of an MBA program in wine business. My commitment was for nine hours with one group of 45 students and then to repeat those nine hours, back to back, for another 45 students.

I tried. My goodness, I tried. And I did not always succeed.

Not gonna lie about that either.

But I’m writing about it today as a follow up to an Enolytics 101 post a few weeks ago about “gifting” these students, and other wine business students I’ll teach this year, with a year’s worth of access to a very powerful data visualization platform called Qlik.

How did that go?

It caught their interest. Which, as I wrote above, was really hard to do. But this did. I wanted to share a few reasons why, because I think they say a lot about the next generation of wine business professionals. Specifically, I think these reasons speak to both the promises and the challenges that these people face as they step into their roles at wine businesses around the world.

Here goes, in terms of what caught students’ interest about the data visualization module of the class:

  • They have a chance to do something that other people in their companies don’t know how to do. They can learn a tool that adds unique value. And they can learn it for free.

  • The European Union itself has already bought into big data for the wine industry, namely by funding a project called Big Data Grapes that’s part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. (Sidebar: My talking about this project raised eyebrows. Literally. The students were surprised in part, I think, because the funding of the project “brought it home” to their own backyards. I wasn’t up there talking about something that was happening in some far-off hub of technology that has no bearing on the lives and the world that’s most familiar to them. This was real, it’s within reach, and it could impact them directly.)

  • Innovation in wine business can have social impact too, whether the innovation impacts communities in crises or small, family-run businesses or the under-representation of women in the industry.

  • 90% of all information is consumed visually. 70% of all sensory receptors are in the eyes. And 30% of the brain’s processing power is dedicated to sight.

Is it easy to catch and hold the interest of young professionals in the wine business? Nope. But if you can, and when you do, their imaginations take off.

Watching that happen comes close – real close – to compensating for how exhausting the efforts are in the first place.

Can you relate to what I’m talking about here? Have you had similar experiences? I’d love to hear.

Thank you, as always, for reading.

Cathy

When a Millennial Gets the Wine Data Bug AND Has Chutzpah? It's a Win for Wine.

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Millennials.

Everyone in the wine industry is chasing them as consumers. Personally, I’m interested in them as “who’s next” for wine + data.

They’ve got ideas.

They’ve got fresh perspective.

They don’t feel tied — or obliged — to how things have always been done.

Fortunately, through my teaching gigs at universities and MBA students around the world, I get to meet these people and hear those ideas. Even more fortunately, millennials outside those formal programs sometimes reach out directly to talk about wine + data.

That’s when I get to add chutzpah to their list of qualifications.

This week, we’re shining the spotlight onto a millennial-with-chutzpah-who-also-does-wine-and-data. Her name is Gianna DiGiovanni, she’s worked in both Napa and Italy, and she’s in her senior year at the University of Southern California with a dual focus on Business and Applied Analytics.

She’s my kind of millennial. And I’ve invited her to be the second feature in our Derek Jeter-inspired series that puts the storytelling of wine + data into the hands of people who actually live it. (The first one, two weeks ago, was Randy Browne at C. Mondavi & Family.)

Here’s the story, about wine + data + millennials, in Gianna’s own words.

What's interesting to you about data, and about data for the wine industry?

I have always been fascinated with numbers and patterns, so naturally, data and the whole idea of big data in business caught my attention. I was able to act on this passion of mine when I started as a freshman at the University of Southern California in 2015, studying Business Administration. During my sophomore year, I enrolled in my first analytics course. I fell in love immediately. 

My interest in the wine industry is another story that I believe is attributed to my upbringing. My dad is a farmer and my childhood was surrounded by almonds, walnuts, sweet potatoes and peaches. Growing up, the importance of agriculture and knowing where your food came from was inherent. Everyone I knew either was a farmer or had a farmer in their family. It wasn't until coming to college that I learned how rare my situation was. Not everyone understands the importance of the agricultural industry, and most take it for granted. I believe it is my understanding of how much work is put into harvesting a crop, like grapes, that truly makes me appreciate a product like wine. 

What I have learned from my fascination with the wine industry and data is that there is a huge disconnect between the two. Unlike most industries that have already begun to integrate big data into their operations, the wine industry has yet to do so. I have made it my mission to make up for this lag. By marrying the two together, wine and data, the industry can make a tremendous leap into a new age in wine, one where wineries can better understand their consumer and better distribute their product. 

How are you learning the skills you think you'll need for a career in this area?

I am extremely fortunate to be in school, pursuing my minor while the world is making the shift to big data. I have been able to learn from some of the best professors in the field of data analysis and work hands-on with data from actual companies like Yelp and Sams Club. My toolkit of skills has grown with each application and new software that I am taught. 

I have also been able to add skills and experiences to my toolkit outside of school. Over the past two summers I have worked in Italy and the Napa Valley, becoming more knowledgeable about the wine industry and the customers, market, and product that it's comprised of. 

My hope is that by having an understanding of the industry and the skills to manipulate the data, I will graduate with a well-established toolkit that will help me get to where I want to go, professionally. 

What are the biggest challenges you face now, or you will face in the coming years, working with data in wine?

Changing a centuries-old industry to adapt to the modern world is a challenge in itself. This is something that all those interested in analyzing data in wine face. For me, this has meant the job that I hope to one day have doesn't yet exist. I cannot simply learn from those who have paved the road ahead of me, I have to seek people out from all over. 

The challenge to pursue a career path that is oddly specific and that doesn't already exist, keeps things interesting. 

I’ve learned that no matter the industry, making sense of the data available is the key to gaining beneficial insight. I plan to learn from those who are already making sense of their data, so that when the time comes and wineries are ready to make the leap into the world of big data, I will be prepared with the tools necessary to help them succeed.

How to Treat Your Millennial Customers Differently

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Do you treat the millennial customers in your DTC program differently than, say, your baby boomers?

Do you segment them by gender and location?

Have you identified spend patterns and varietal preferences, in order to customize your offerings to best suit their profile?

I'll be totally psyched for you if you do.

It would be an excellent application of analyzing data that you already own, and you'd be a few steps ahead of some wineries we've been talking to these past few weeks.

You'd also be in the minority, in terms of maximizing your own data and in terms of communicating with millennials.

How to do both of those things are questions that have come up for Enolytics again and again. We're gaining traction when it comes to helping wineries more strategically utilize their customer data (including data about millennials) and this week I'd like to share some strategies about the second question.

How can we do a better job of reaching millennial wine consumers? And how can we sell them more wine?

For a perspective on this, I'd like to welcome a guest contributor to Enolytics 101. Olivia Schonewise, a colleague and friend who I've come to know in the past year or so, piqued my interest because of her experience and intelligence, and also for her candor about the wine industry's lag in reaching the millennial demographic of which she is a part.

I invited Olivia to speak to what we're doing wrong and, more importantly, how we can do better. Here are four things she'd like us all to know, followed by her ten suggestions that wineries can execute straight away.

Here she is.

* * *

What the Wine Industry Needs to Hear about Millennial Consumers

  1. The wine industry doesn't understand consumers in their 20's, which is amusing because we are literally the most transparent generation of people in history.
  2. There are lots of questions being asked about millennials, like who we are, what we want, and how to get us to buy wine. There aren't a lot of good answers yet, probably because the people trying to answer the questions are not, in fact, millennials.
  3. Wine brands are not meeting millennial consumers where we are. That, in a nutshell, is the disconnect between millennials and the wine industry.
  4. If you’re unsure of where to start, think like a millennial. Or better yet, hire a millennial. No one understands millennials better than millennials themselves.

What Wine Brands Can Do Right Now

  1. Meet us on the interfaces and platforms we're using, not the ones that the wine industry has used in the past.
  2. This means Instagram.
  3. It also means lifestyle websites. (See numbers 8 to 10, below.)
  4. Instagram again: The wine industry prides itself on creating products with stories and connections that feel very personal to consumers. Instagram allows wineries to communicate directly with the people who buy and consume their products, and that’s about as personal as it gets.
  5. I genuinely believe that Instagram is the most untapped marketing resource of the wine industry, and the lack of brands who are active on it is astonishing. There are over 800 million active Instagram users, and more than 50% of them are millennials (aged 22 to 37).
  6. You don't have to have a huge budget. You just have to be present.
  7. Post, comment and engage daily. Give your customers a platform to learn more about your products while creating a community.
  8. LIfestyle websites are like our modern day newspapers and magazines. These include Brit + Co, BuzzFeed, Popsugar, Mashable, Business Insider, Refinery29 and many more. This is where millennials stay up to date on world events, learn about new products, discover trends, and share information. It’s how we digitally "hang out."
  9. Meet us there.
  10. Get your brands on these platforms. Send samples to the teams at Vinepair and Bustle. Pay for an advertisement on Thrillist. Have Elite Daily do a write up on you. Take out ads in Cosmopolitan, GQ or Vogue instead of the usual wine print outlets.

Looking forward to seeing you out there,

Olivia Schonewise

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Contact Information:

Cathy Huyghe, Co-Founder of Enolytics

Phone: +1.702.528.3717 | cathy@enolytics.com | www.enolytics.com

4 Takeaways from a Standing Room Only Session at Vinexpo

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Earlier this week it was my pleasure to moderate a panel during the launch of Vinexpo in New York, on the topic of millennials' purchasing power and the rise of ecommerce.

Apparently I wasn't the only one who was curious to hear what the panelists had to say -- there was standing room only, with willing attendees (not so happily) turned away, and lots of questions during the session and afterward.

It was one of those "That went well!" events, and I was psyched for the panelists to voice their perspective on the topic.

Let me bottom line the conversation for you in these few essential points:

  1. The data already exists that tells us what we need to know about millennials and ecommerce. That's because they're telling us what they want, every minute of every day, and leaving a digital trail for us to follow. Data minimizes the guesswork and the mystery of this topic. We just have to tap into it.
  2. Three of the five panelists spoke from the perspective of their own data, which they tap into, to the ultimate benefit of the consumer: Heini Zachariassen of Vivino, Lara Crystal of Minibar Delivery, and Jacob Moynihan of Merchant23.
  3. If we see the wine consumer as a puzzle, we can envision each of these data sources as a piece of the puzzle with its own unique shape. The more puzzle pieces we have, and the more of them that we put together, the more accurate the picture of the consumer is going to be.
  4. That being said, data is not a panacea. It is very powerful, but it is not a cure-all. It needs to be complemented -- it will always need to be complemented -- by human experience and input. That's where our other two panelists weighed in: Pascaline Lepeltier MS of Racine's NY and Valerie Gerard-Matsuura of Sopexa, whose deep experience in wine, and with this demographic in particular, prove to be exceptionally valuable.

Isn't it time for you to take some guesswork out of your interaction with wine consumers, whether they're millennials, on ecommerce platforms, or otherwise?

There's a world of data out there to make that happen. We can help.

Please let me know your thoughts and questions, and thank you as always for reading.

Cathy Huyghe, Co-Founder of Enolytics

Phone: +1.702.528.3717 | cathy@enolytics.com | www.enolytics.com

Millennials: The Holy Grail of Next Gen Wine Consumer Behavior

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Millennials.

For wine businesses, they’re a bit like the Holy Grail. Hard to pin down but oh, so appealing.

We all want to know how they’re behaving around wine and what they’re thinking. Next week, in Bordeaux, I’ve got a very unique chance to pick a whole bunch of their brains.

As in, 90 of them, many from wine families around the world, who are all enrolled in the MBA program at the INSEEC Wine & Spirits Institute.

This is the next generation of decision-makers at wine companies globally. They are already consumers, and they are already planning to be leaders within their organizations.

It’s my job to teach them about data, and the influence it can bear on their strategic decisions for the future.

Not only is this a chance to observe millennial thinking about wine; it’s also a chance to observe millennial thinking about data.

What’s the best way to go about this task?

We’ve created a data set, naturally. It’s a mix of actual and fictionalized records, and we’ll use it to kick the tires about concepts like operational data versus knowledge of the market, and structured versus unstructured data.

Most of all, we want to see how they approach the data set, how they analyze it, how they describe the insights they could derive from it, and which external sources they think can also be applicable.

I’m there to teach, but I’m also very much there to learn. Ultimately, we’ll be turning those learnings back into something useful for you.

If there’s anything you’re particularly curious to ask this group, by all means let me know. I’ve got my (long) list of questions. A few more certainly won’t hurt.

I’m looking forward to reporting back.

Have a great week and thank you, of course, for reading –