Today I finally found a bottle of Murphy Goode wine in NYC, on my 7th attempt. I went to three stores in New Jersey and three in NYC. Partially it was my own fault because I didn’t use the store locator (on Murphy Goode site) for the first four stores; I just figured that if it’s a pretty major store, it would have a good selection.
The last two didn’t have the MG wine, even though they were listed in the official store locator. Curiously, one of them had a wooden MG display unit, but no wine. I asked the store owner why they didn’t have it, and he said it was a space issue. I asked if demand was too low, and he said that if he had it, people would probably buy it, because it’s pretty goode (pun added by me, not the store owner). 🙂
I see two reinforcing issues here: poor presence at retail level and absence of consumer pull (consumer not asking for it by name). Poor distribution could be caused by several factors, such as: wine distributor politics (which I don’t know much about – but hope to learn – right now, I just know it’s a 3-tier system) and lack of field sales focus on the East Coast market (which can probably be attributed to distribution politics as well). Since the wine is not in the store, and most consumers haven’t been exposed to MG’s messaging in NYC, consumers lack the awareness to ask for it by name. In turn, because consumers aren’t asking for it, and sales don’t justify carrying the item, the stores just don’t carry it.
Since the A Really Goode Job contest started, awareness of Murphy Goode has shot up astronomically, and hopefully it’s just the beginning of growing the nationwide recognition of this brand. The Lifestyle Correspondent will need to continue building upon this momentum, to keep generating buzz and demand. As more and more consumers will ask for it by name and buy it, more and more stores will carry it, in turn reinforcing demand, and driving sales.
So what comes first: distribution or promotion? I think they have to be carefully orchestrated to work in synch with each other. After all, distribution and promotion are two of the 4 P’s of Marketing.