Most business owners are forever crunching return on investment figures and sizing up the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Thinking outside the box, Lisa McGuigan, with the support of Bartercard, increased her cash sales by 30% as a result of a marketing campaign that cost her business $0 cash.
After identifying a gap in the marketplace for unusually packaged wines with an edge, this innovativewine maker launched Lisa McGuigan Wines in 2010. Basing her split-based venture out of the Hunter Valley and Sydney, and sourcing grapes from Mudgee (NSW), Victoria, South Australia, New Zealand and Hungary, she focused on landing her label with stockists, today selling at retailers around Australia and the UK. Lisa said before launching the business, she was a seller for a vintage wine brand and already had the contacts, experience and insight into what worked and what didn’t. “My parents have a vineyard in the Hunter Valley and I love the whole process from growing to bottling, which gave me the confidence and knowledge to launch my own label,” she said.
“I’ve built my brand up to three collections – including an entry level range of wines that are clean and fresh and two more collections that show greater complexity. I source a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and a Gruner Blanc from Hungary, which I then customize and stabilize with a Semillon in Australia. This lets me put my own slant on a traditional variety. My collection includes international wines because for me, the world is a grape canvas.”
She said Bartercard started out as a test to sell older vintages. “When Bartercard approached me I decided to try it out with a couple of wines that weren’t selling as fast as I wanted – because you can’t sell everything to everyone. I sold the excess stock quickly and soon built up a considerable sum of trade dollars.”
“I decided to run a three month promotion in 10 retail stores that stocked my brand. I sourced everything for the campaign on Bartercard and boosted sales by over 30% over those three months. The campaign would have cost me around $10,000 if I had paid cash. It was called ‘On Ya Bike’ where customers who purchased three bottles of Lisa McGuigan Wine went into the draw to win a bicycle. I bought the bikes with my trade dollars. The Moscato we were selling at the time had a silver label so I found mannequins and spray painted them in the same color to tie my brand in. I covered posters, design and everything else in the campaign with my trade dollars. Bartercard essentially gave me a marketing spend off the back of excess stock.
It takes something different to really get seen!
After this initial success Lisa said she used Bartercard to run another marketing campaign at a wine outlet in the Hunter Valley that stocked her label. I used Bartercard to create 1.5m tall bottle-shaped signs leading all the way along the road to the retail store,” she said. “I was able to offset $5,000 of the cash expenses on Bartercard. People loved them so much they were taking photos in front of them, which created user-generated content on Facebook. Bartercard allowed me to run this large scale, harder hitting campaign to really get cut-through in the market.”
Expanding local reach
“Bartercard can really help you break out of the local market to expand your reach and really get seen,” said Lisa. “I approached restaurants on Bartercard who quickly picked up my label to offset cash costs. It was as simple as curating and designing a wine list then blasting it out to bars and restaurants on Bartercard which helped me get on a lot of wine lists. It takes a lot of avenues to get business pumping but Bartercard is a direct line to businesses.”
Lisa runs a successful wine company that’s pushing industry limits. Through edgy branding, larger-than-life advertising and campaigns which really step outside the box, these are the lessons she’s picked up along the way.
Deconstruct the market
“You have to really think outside the box, pull the market apart and look at it differently to everyone else. I leveraged off the fact that women purchase over 70% of wine in Australia and took the approach of looking at my brand like fashion. Consequently I put a lot of time and effort into the aesthetics. Each range has unusual packaging, including matte black wraps, silver painting and metal labels. The result is gothically minimal bottles which really stand out on shelves!”
Lead don’t follow
“I love leading the market and I hate following. That’s why I took the initiative to launch marketing campaigns that are a little different. This has included life-size displays and signage attracting user-generated content – people share them on social media and consequently my brand is put in front of their followers.”
Look around you
“Rather than pouring all your effort into going global, look around your business and see what else is in front of you.Take a look at the opportunities available on Bartercard, like I did. I found there was business right outside my front door.”
Article written by Klara Vida, Bartercard Australia.