AAWE, Economics Dept, New York University, 19 W 4th St, 6Fl., New York NY 10012aawe@wine-economics.org

AAWE Working Paper No. 187 – Business

Word of Mouth Impulses. Evidence from Wines of Germany

Frank R. Schulz


After decades of inflationary applied advertisement investments in tv-, print and online media, todays’ consumers are exhausted. They switch tv-channels when commercials are being broadcasted, they bin promotion material when checking the letter box, they erase online- newsletters without having read them. ‘Wines of Germany’ (Deutsches Weininstitut DWI) conquers the given situation with word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing and –communications work. Presentations, seminars, press-, online- and social media work as well as conceptual sales impulses for the on- and off trade or gastronomy all serve a common goal: credible WOM recommendations. Combined with innovative and emotional communications work, the WOM action led to an increase in public awareness for Wines of Germany. It correlates with a moderate but steady increase in domestic and export value in an extremely competitive market. On the long run, memorable encounters of real people in real life situations (WOM) play a more effective and therefore central role in the sought-after awareness upswing then solely advertisements.

It must be frustrating for marketing experts that it is increasingly difficult to actually reach people. Social media marketing (SMM) made us believe that there’s an easy way to consumer’s attention – but it turned out to be more complicated: first of all social media activities always ask for authenticity, it never works to simply utilize existing promotion posters vertically through all media channels. People are very sensitive when it comes to credibility. Secondly, e.g. Facebook posts are not automatically being projected in your peer’s timeline any more (without paying for it). The more effective way is to reach influencers and multipliers through memorable situations, in order to make them tell your story/ spread your word (WOM). Therefore, DWI focuses on “ambassadors” – internally within the branch as well as externally in relations to the public – in order to initiate as many WOM impulses as possible.

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