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December 15, 2022 22 min

Understanding why people drink wine allows you to use their attitudes and behaviors to improve your marketing to keep your customers coming back. This research is exactly what Kathy Kelley, Professor of Horticultural Marketing and Retail Business Management at Penn State University loves to do. In her studies, she has found that sustainability is very important to customers however it can mean different things to different people.  While 7 out of 10 adults in the United States consider purchasing food and beverage with a sustainability component a priority, one-fourth of these respondents could not articulate sustainability. This gives the industry a great opportunity to better communicate what sustainability means.

Communicating sustainability should be incorporated into a brand's DNA from point A to point B through all marketing channels including face-to-face, social media, print, and website. Storytelling is a great way to convey your brand values because consumers are more likely to remember stories. By describing specific practices and why they are important, you set yourself apart from the competition and create an emotional connection with your consumers. Kathy’s research on sharing cover cropping practices found that customers were willing to pay one to four dollars more per bottle after learning about the specific sustainable practices. Listen in for more tips on how to determine your customer demographic and refine your marketing.


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Craig Macmillan  0:00 

I'm your host, Craig Macmillan and with us today is Kathy Kelly. She is professor of horticultural marketing and retail business management at Penn State University. Kathy, thanks for being here.


Kathy Kelley  0:08 

Thank you very much. I appreciate the invitation.


Craig Macmillan  0:11 

Tell us a little bit about the work that you do and where your kind of research interests lie.


Kathy Kelley  0:15 

So I've been a faculty member at Penn State since 2001. And I have a teaching extension research appointment, all three of my aspects deal with some sort of marketing component. And my research, I really became very interested in learning about why people drink wine, how to kind of use those attitudes and behaviors to help smaller producers, medium sizeed wineries, focusing on the consumer and use that to their their benefit. So I've really kind of done a bit of research in the mid Atlantic area to understand why we buy and then what type of product characteristics and tasting room components really make that an experience for consumers that the want to come back again and again to the facility.


Craig Macmillan  0:58 

That is super interesting. So based on consumer research, how much do consumers care about the origins of the products they consume in terms of sustainability.


Kathy Kelley  1:06 

So sustainability is very important to consumers and more so with the younger generation, then maybe generations that are a little bit more mature. But sustainability can mean quite a few things to many different people. Sustainability not only refers to the environment, but to the social, a

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