The 5 R’s of Marketing to Millennials

Millennials are drinking wine—and lots of it. In fact, food lifestyle magazine Bon Appetit claims that millennials drink more wine than their parents did. So, like every other brand trying to reach this elusive market, Ribera del Duero y Rueda, the original wines from Spain, have crafted a campaign that aims to make a new generation of wine drinkers say, “Sí!” to the brand.

When it comes to defining millennials, we realized one harsh truth: You can’t. But in our research on the audience, we arrived at a unique insight: Millennials are open to, and even crave, new and unique experiences. They also look to find quality products and engaging brands. And when it comes to food and beverage, specifically, they expect transparency and authenticity.

As a result of this learning, we defined the hard-to-define millennials as “Generation Open,” wine drinkers ranging in age from 21-40 who are all about exploration and education. With our “Sí What’s Next” campaign, we’re engaging consumers who are open to trying something entirely new.

How are we reaching a generation of people in a new way? Here are the 5 R’s Ribera del Duero y Rueda follows to market to millennials.

1) Research: Capturing the attention of a sought-after audience in a saturated, noisy space starts with research. We conducted extensive research and discovered that our audience was doing the same thing: looking for new experiences and asking “what’s next?”

2) Redefine: We threw out our preconceived ideas about millennials after discovering the truth: They want wines for everyday occasions and want to enjoy delicious variety with great quality. We realized that we weren’t dealing with traditional millennials, but an open-minded generation, a.k.a “Generation Open.”

3) Reveal: More and more consumers are interested in the behind-the-scenes of brands. We found this especially true for Generation Open. They want to know how the product is made and about the winemakers, because many are mindful of their sustainable footprint and value authenticity.

A key element in how we engage our consumers is by sharing stories of the winemakers and regions. We highlight their philosophy of winemaking and the innovations and techniques they use. Social media plays an important role in telling those stories. We also bring winemakers to the U.S. so consumers can meet the people who produce the wine they’re drinking and create impactful, shareable moments.

4) Relax: We take a relaxed tone with Generation Open. They don’t rely on trade publications and scores to make their wine choices as much as they get recommendations from friends through social networks. As a result, our online presence is of utmost importance, and we’re not prescriptive about how our wines are to be enjoyed. Authenticity and quality are what makes or breaks their opinion, and it’s definitely not about pretension, stodginess, or barriers.

5) Relate: Thirty percent of consumers who drink wine at least once a week are members of Generation Open. They don’t need a special occasion to drink wine. We relate to them by suggesting pairings that pair with everyday life, like ordering takeout Chinese food, watching Netflix, or hosting a game night with friends.

Ribera de Duero y Rueda boasts over 2,000 years of wine marking history, and has elevated winemaking to an art form. But that alone doesn’t guarantee success. Brands, no matter their age, must take the time to constantly evaluate their marketing approach and see what research reveals about how they relate to their audiences.

About the author:

Felipe Gonzalez-Gordon brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his role as U.S. Director of D.O. Ribera del Duero and D.O. Rueda. As director, Gonzalez-Gordon manages the first-ever partnership between the two regions, aimed at engaging a new generation of wine enthusiasts in the U.S. Backed by more than $3million in funding over five years, and with more than 300 wineries from both regions, the campaign he’s launching for the brand—“Sí What’s Next—kicks off in summer 2015.

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