Cool Marketing for Icewine? Investigating Producer’s Product Positioning, Segmentation, and Marketing Mix for Canadian Icewine: An Abstract
Compared to the relative importance of icewine for the Canadian wine industry and the uniqueness of the product in the luxury wine and spirit segment, little attention has been paid to the marketing mix used by its producers. As a first step in addressing this gap, Paschen et al. (2016) developed a modified aesthetics and ontology framework to classify consumers of luxury wines and spirits with a focus on icewine. The framework separates the novice and the expert in the aesthetic dimension, while it distinguishes between transience and endurance in the ontology dimension. Working from these two dimensions, four distinct consumer groups have been identified: Carousers are novices on the aesthetics scale, while the ontological mode emphasizes the transient. Cabinet collectors are also novices, but the ontological mode emphasizes enduring. In contrast to the two preceding types, the connoisseur is an expert and a true consumer whose behavior emphasizes the transient. Finally, the cellar collector is an expert where the ontological mode emphasizes enduring. The current paper examines where icewine producers place consumers within this typology. Using semi-structured interviews led with representatives of five icewine producers, the authors gathered information on production, product range, positioning, and consumers. The interviews uncovered remarkably homogenous approaches to positioning and marketing icewine. Most purchasers were regarded as novices. With duty free as the predominant sales channel and on-site winery experiences a secondary channel, only limited efforts to address or create experts were discovered. The ontological dimension of the typology was defined by icewine’s changes through cellaring, making the predominant customer group the “carouser.” The marketing mix used was also similar between the different brands. Product variances uncovered were comparatively minor, with very similar price points and packaging approaches. This one-dimensional marketing approach bears risk for the category, which should be further explored and addressed through appropriate variations in the marketing mix.