Cue the team meeting on a bright morning full of promise:  “Okay team, this week we are focusing on ____ to improve sales…”

It’s a scene all too familiar to tasting room managers and winery owners — picking something new to increase sales (or club signups/visitation/Yelp ratings) in your tasting room.  But how do you know what to focus on? Was it effective and what did you learn? If it was successful, have you ever found yourself asking what exactly worked and how can you keep the momentum?

One of our favorite Harvard Business Review articles on How to Run (And Analyze) A Business Experiment outlines the seven keys that will help answer these questions to make these tasting room experiments more effective.  Here are highlights:

In the tech startup world this is known as the Build –> Measure –> Learn Loop:

And it all starts with writing a hypothesis you can learn from (or what HBR says is “identify a narrow question”) and then take major action i.e. “Use a big hammer.”  

What we actually need to do is Learn-Build-Measure. In other words, think first about what you already know about your business and customer, then form a testable hypothesis to validate, and then move on to building and measuring. –James Birchler

At the end of your experiment, when you are in the  “Learn” or “Let the Data Speak” phase, it’s critical to compare results with your peers.  Did all that effort actually end in more growth than similar DTC operations? Is your differentiation strategy actually working?  These are the questions that we are keenly answering for wineries every month. 

What experiment will you run?  Have fun!


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ABOUT Community Benchmark: Community Benchmark is a Santa Rosa, CA based software company helping wineries identify growth opportunities by comparing key performance metrics with their peers.