Viral marketing refers to a marketing technique that uses a social network in order to increase brand awareness and eventual product sales. This is achieved through a self-replicating phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along their marketing message.

Although the word “viral” in and of itself is a negative in the pathogenic sense, in the case of a marketing technique, it refers to positive messaging of a brand or product, spread through word of mouth about the favored company.

Viral marketing has all the potential to become a really great marketing maneuver by the wine community.

It will take time for this catch on, as any innovative concept always does; however, it will eventually become another marketing device that’s used by wineries, because of the ever continuing consolidation of the largest wine companies. In order to survive, smaller independent brands must become increasingly more inventive in order to survive the shrinking shelf space left to them, and viral marketing should be taken very seriously as a new avenue.

While it won’t be the be-all-to-end-all, in other words, wine brands as they embark on this new way to market should not give up their other PR and marketing plans already in existence, this new concept for wine companies needs to be closely studied and considered as a new marketing tool for which the millennial generation is already deeply attuned.

A wine company that’s started to use this new way of consumer loyalty brand building for increaded sales is Donati Family Vineyard (DFV).

Donati’s launched a wine based community that’s very Web 2.0 + DFV + My Space = Wine Space

DFV Wine Space features:

  • Customize their own profile pages
  • Message and friend each other
  • Invite their friends to join
  • Meet new people, make new friends
  • Upload their photos, creating a slide show
  • Upload videos
  • Share music
  • See which members are online

DFV Wine Space benefits:

  • Wine space for learning and enjoying wine within a like-minded community
  • Attend exciting on-line events for their community; e.g., on-line wine tasting
  • Earliest access to newly released wines
  • Read instantaneous reviews from wine critics
  • Instantly communicate directly with the winery for all information

From proprietor Ron Donati, “The Web 2.0 technology trend for information sharing and associations that are being formed among its users has been an untapped innovation within the wine industry for wineries. We wanted to create a web-based community, because we realize that this is great viral marketing. We offer our customers the ability to make Donati Family Vineyard friends, and this also allows us to communicate with our customers in a way that’s not been possible to date. This is going to have a huge impact in reaching existing and new customers in expanding ways yet to be measured by pre-existing means. It’s very exciting, and is going to be fascinating to watch develop.”

The link to what’s been created: DFV Winespace