Marketing, switching, and loyalty

When a wine shop or restaurant tries to reach an audience, most do it wrong because they don’t start with the right questions. The right questions hinge on three terms.

Marketing is all about presenting your story and brand to both a new and an established audience without the goal of the sale (which is selling, not marketing). The goal of marketing should be to carefully define who you are as a business, what you support, and what the customer can expect. “This is on sale” is not marketing.

Switching is the goal of taking a customer who spends with your competition and bringing them to you instead. This can be easy if your competitor is lazy, complacent, tired, or unchanged. But it can be challenging, if not impossible, if your competition’s marketing and branding are good.

And if you’re trying to get people to switch from the lazy, complacent, tired, or unchanged to you, what do you offer? And are these the customers that you actually want?

Loyalty is the adherence of many customers to chosen brands, regardless of prices, facts, or reviews. And if a customer is dedicated to a particular brand, that is worth more than the energy, time, and money needed for marketing or switching.

Loyalty is the ultimate goal. Get loyal customers, and you can grow a business.

IN OTHER WORDS, Macy’s would have a hard time poaching customers from Nordstrom, who has a fanatically loyal base. BMW doesn’t market its motorcycles to Harley Davidson riders. The artisanal Neapolitan pizza place that opened in the hip part of town is not competing with Domino’s.

If you run a fine wine shop, who is your actual competition? Who are your loyal customers? Is it easier to give more love to the loyal than to poach customers from others? What story are you telling about your store if the driving push is simply “This is on sale.”

If you run a restaurant or a cocktail/wine bar, what expectations have you built up for the customer walking in for the first time? If you’re looking for new customers, where are they spending their money right now? Are you offering something for loyalty and repeat business, or are you just hoping they return in the future?

Don’t mistake lumping ‘marketing’ with simply posting on Facebook and TikTok and thinking the number of views equals success. It’s far more granular than that. Take the time to ask the right questions, knowing what your goals are.

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