Wine Enthusiast Leverages Cross-Channel Data To Optimize Ad Spending

As the variety of marketing channels grows, retailers are trying to understand how different tactics and messages influence engagement and sales. By capturing a clear path to purchase across all channels, retailers can make more informed marketing decisions.

Wine Enthusiast is considered a go-to source for wine accessories, storage, information, education and events. For the past 30-plus years, the retailer has expanded from a direct mail business, to an omnichannel organization, moving into catalogs, multiple web sites, a magazine and several product lines. 

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Because the company engages customers and sells products through a wide variety of touch points, Wine Enthusiast requires detailed data that identifies which marketing activities drive the most engagement and revenue for the overall business. 

“You name it, we’re testing it,” said Glenn Edelman, VP of Digital Marketing at Wine Enthusiast, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We use PPC, display and have a strong email program. When you have a lot of these marketing programs going on, there is a lot of overlap in terms of what’s driving revenue. We — and all marketers, really — are facing a great attribution conundrum.”

To address this challenge efficiently, Wine Enthusiast implemented the marketing attribution solution from Convertro, which enables the retailer to track customer engagement across marketing campaigns, channels and devices. Moreover, the solution can alert the retailer if, and when, consumers complete a purchase, and which marketing tactic encouraged action. 

Analyzing paid media channels through Convertro — including search, email and display — Wine Enthusiast was able to increase revenue by 16% between Black Friday and Christmas 2013 over the same period in 2012. 

Marketing attribution has been especially valuable in helping Wine Enthusiast determine how different marketing channels influence specific actions. “Different programs have different expectations,” Edelman noted. “For example, we expect emails to help close sales, especially if they involve an offer. I expect some organic search terms to be starters and influencers. Those are some of the things Convertro has confirmed for me.”

Wine Enthusiast’s previous attribution methods couldn’t go into such detail and were extremely manual. Edelman had to collect last-click data and conduct manual calculations via Excel spreadsheets. 

“In a very rudimentary fashion, I would get an order audit from all my vendors driving traffic to our site via online marketing channels, and overlay it with the catalog to see the overlap between the various programs,” Edelman noted. “It was a very labor-intensive process that took many hours.”

But now, Wine Enthusiast can refer to Convertro reports and spend recommendations to maximize marketing results across all channels. 

Changing The Coupon Game

Before implementing Convertro, redeemable coupon affiliate networks were a key component of Wine Enthusiast’s customer acquisition efforts. 

Although prior analysis indicated that results were up to par, Convertro confirmed that certain affiliates were not delivering the results required to justify investment. In fact, results revealed that many consumers would visit the Wine Enthusiast site first, then refer to an affiliate network to get a coupon before making a transaction. 

Edelman learned that coupon sites, overall, were “not helping us in any way. Many people would leave at the cart just to just Google the term ‘Wine Enthusiast coupons,’ and then visit one of the coupon retailers. Then they would basically just find out that any promotion we were currently running on our site was no different than what was shown on those sites.”

To create a better online shopping experience, Edelman removed all couponing sites from its affiliates program and purchased the domain name to create its own branded coupon site. As a result, Wine Enthusiast has been able to cut actual costs paid to affiliates by 33%, while increasing ROI by 49%. 

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