Toby Marion founded Golden Gate Wine in 2004 after recognizing a gap in Hong Kong and China for affordable, high-quality US wines. His angle was to import a spectrum of mid to high-end labels from Napa, Sonoma, and the best wine regions in the US, and resell to HK-based individuals, hotels, restaurants, clubs, airlines, governments, and distributors.
Golden Gate Wine’s clientele includes names like the prestigious Hong Kong Club and hotels like The Four Seasons and Grand Hyatt. If you see a Far Niente chardonnay or a Calera Pinot Noir the next time you are strolling through Hong Kong, you have Toby to thank.
After a decade of being in business, Golden Gate Wine grew to a staff of over 10 people, serving more than 5,000 clients. Sales were driven mostly by the inside sales team, and at events and trade shows. They built a popular brand with an active Facebook fanbase and sent regular newsletters that drove attendance and sales leads.
Yet staying in touch with customers, managing their sprawling contact base, and making a dent in Hong Kong’s notoriously low online wine sales remained a challenge. So they decided to invest in marketing automation to grow awareness amongst their customers, friends, and partners.
As a part of their new direction towards automating the customer journey, Toby’s team scrubbed their database down from 5500 to 4200 over six weeks, eliminating duplicate contacts, soft and hard bounces, and uninterested subscribers. Or as Toby would say, they “cut the chaff.”
To engage this newly refined contact base, Golden Gate Wine used a combination of feedback surveys, keep-in-touch emails, and ongoing newsletters and promotions. The team focused on high-value customer segments including VIPs, paired wine preferences, business types, total purchases, or recency of meetings.
Their secret weapon? Sending follow up promotions to clients based on products purchased, pages viewed, and emails clicked. In other words, the red wine lover receives offers for red wines she hasn’t tried yet. Her palette is happy and Golden Gate Wine’s sales grow. Brilliant.
Over a 6-week period, Toby’s team created four customer marketing journeys engaging 3,500 former customers. Customers who had “gone cold” for years clicked and opened emails, inquired about new wine labels, registered for events, and provided valuable feedback.
The impacts were immediate - online sales increased by 150%, email signups jumped by 20%, and dozens of dead clients were revived.
To keep growing, Golden Gate Wine plans to keep their contact base up-to-date, continually refine customer segments, and launch more targeted, personalized promotions. Because just like a good vintage, it takes time to produce the perfect blend of remarkable marketing.