Wednesday, June 2, 2010
For me it is annual budget time for the business. It's a hard one this year, as we try to build a robust plan against a background of a global economic crisis, which seems never-ending; yesterday Greece and Spain, tomorrow who knows what. What I do know is that this crunch has had a huge impact on wine prices and has driven a shift on consumption patterns. No more $100 wines on corporate expense accounts, two $9 wines at the supermaret instead of one $20 one, and less dining out are just a few things I've noticed. Result? Less sales of premium wines, which are our main focus.
This puts planning pressure on wineries and their budgets, and we are not immune to that.
All of which makes budgeting a challenge, particularly in a climate where banks are not that sympathetic either. All sounds a bit gloomy, but while things are tough our social media initiatives are really helping offset flat exports and slow domestic sales. Our Facebook, Twitter and Blog activities have introduced a lot of new people to Murdoch James Estate and our wines. We have shared experiences and ideas with lots of folk and made a lot of new friends. While it is hard to show with direct evidence that this contact is helping with sales, it is no coincidence that, since we embarked on our social media journey last year, our direct and internet sales have increased dramatically.
On top of that we have made great contacts to help with things like label designs, names for new wines and potential new distributors. It is all very exciting and stimulating, and certainly lift the cloud of economic gloom off our shoulders!