In 2011, direct-to-consumer sales of wine were growing at a rapid pace. But a major segment of the industry was missing out on the strong U.S. market: European wineries, which had to navigate complicated alcohol sales and distribution laws to get the product to wine drinkers in the States.
Identifying the situation as an opportunity, wine enthusiast Kevin Sidders started VinConnect, which brought together European wineries and consumers through a website; those who signed up received regular email offers. It didn’t take long for VinConnect to have a robust list of subscribers, but that wasn’t enough — the company needed subscribers who would not just browse, but buy. Google AdWords and pay-per-click Facebook campaigns were not fruitful.
When a wine blog wrote about VinConnect, the company found it got the right kind of attention from the right kind of customers. And with the help of a public relations specialist, Sidders learned who VinConnect’s target audience was: men 31–50 who learned about it in a publication.
Read more about how the company attracted the right customers in Darden Professor Rajkumar Venkatesan’s article “It’s Not Just About Customers; It’s About the Right Customers,” in the Darden School of Business/Washington Post “Case in Point” series.