Guest Blog Post by Ken Majer – “How to Create a Successful DTC Culture”


DR.-KENNETH-MAJER-211x300There are many programmatic approaches that can enhance Direct To Consumer wine sales. These can include a focus on building your wine club; establishing partnerships with the hospitality industry, transportation companies, travel companies, and destination management companies; an efficient tasting room strategy; systematic personal outreach efforts; and an efficient use of social media. Each of these alone can be helpful; however, what is needed is an overall single approach that aligns all of these activities into a successful DTC Culture.

DTC is not a series of programs, it is a mindset about how you approach customers and everything you do. It is a 24/7 sales philosophy that drives how your people behave as representatives of your winery. In other words, culture is “the way we do things around here.” Your culture is defined by how your team behaves each day—how they relate to customers, to each other, to your vendors and suppliers, and how they impact everyone who comes in contact with your winery. Your DTC Culture is what your winery will become known for. It will be part of your brand and an essential component of your marketing strategy; and stories about how your workforce engages your customers will create your legacy.

Think of Southwest Airlines and you will not only think of on-time arrival and low fares, you are likely to remember that Southwest employees are “fun.” Nordstrom is known for “customer service,” and what drives the famed Blue Angels is “trust.” These best-in-class organizations have cultures that enable them to outperform their competition.

Like these world-class examples, a first-rate and successful DTC Culture is established by consistent actions. It means that tasting room employees use their individual personalities to provide accurate product information, they behave in a heartfelt welcoming way with customers, and they represent your winery and build your reputation by how they behave everyday on the job. Your DTC Culture will align your workforce, enhance your brand, and build your reputation.

Here is the secret to creating your successful DTC Culture: Everyday actions that define your culture are driven by the core values of your team. Values drive how we act. For example, people driven by honesty act in honest ways. People who value trust are trusting and trustworthy. The core values of your team form the foundation for your culture.

Here is a five-step process for building a Values-Driven DTC Culture:

  1. Establish your core values. (By the way, core values come from everyone in the company, from leadership and all employees.)
  2. Define your core values to reflect the uniqueness of your winery.
  3. Translate your core values into expected behaviors…how people act every day in their positions in your winery.
  4. Embed your values and expected behaviors into your business processes.
  5. Sustain your DTC Culture with a long-term communications campaign.

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About Sandra Hess

Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops and the DTC Consultant Network is a public speaker on the subject of direct to consumer wine sales and customer retention in the US.