How to Sell Wine in August

or, What I Really Mean When I Say That

Selling wine in August. That sentence means something very different to me than it might to you.

Why?

Let me tell you a story.

I was working in my dad’s liquor store back in the mid nineties. One day, out of curiosity, I asked him, “Dad, why are we always running ads during Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter but barely any other time of year?”

His response was because that is when people buy wine. Those holidays are cornerstones for the wine business and, historically, a great time be selling because a lot of people are buying.

But I was thinking of it differently. That was the day something clicked for me. My response to him when he was talking about the ads was this: “Dad, people come into our store every day to buy wine.”

Everybody markets at the same time because they presume that is when people are going to be most willing to buy. They use the logic of “This is when people are going to be doing _____” to figure when the “best time to sell” is.

So what happens?

It gets super noisy.

Here’s an example: The Oscars. Every year, there are brands making content, trying to break through and jump on the next big meme. It’s no different for the Grammys, or the Super Bowl. Brands and businesses keep trying to jump in and say something funny.

Meanwhile, let’s talk about any other day of the year. Maybe today if you’re reading this at the right moment. An average Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday. You could do something, anything, on this day, and overdeliver. It could be the smallest gesture, but it would still feel like a lot because nothing else is happening.

So let’s go back to that wine in August thing I was talking about. Somehow, not sure how, I convinced my dad to take out full page ads for wine in the middle of August. In case you didn’t know, that is the most dead season for wine retailers.

But do you know what happened? We won. Because we were the only ones talking.

So as the holidays approach, if you’re trying to figure out how to say something really cool and funny and original to say, consider putting your efforts into a random Friday.

Easy supply and demand of attention. Create value when no one else is.

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