Martha Stoumen Wines: Connecting with Community through Testimonial Videos

Engaging with community is a key part of Martha Stoumen Wines' business - learn how this small winery accomplishes this online.

Martha Stoumen Wines makes precise and joyful natural wines that seek to accurately reflect California’s terroir. The tiny team (Martha herself and two full-time employees) spend most of their time consumed by everything from the art and science of winemaking, farming vineyards, careful work in the cellar, to producing memorable events for wine club members.

Martha Stoumen at her cellar. Photo credit: Andrew Lee

With no physical tasting room to meet with customers and potential customers, Martha Stoumen Wines faces a challenge in how to connect with their community. The wine industry has traditionally been very dependent on high-touch, face-to-face interaction with customers but this kind of overhead is simply too expensive for many smaller producers.  Martha underscores this in her video,

Very seldomly do people just buy a bottle of wine and not expect some sort of experience around that wine.

Always on the hunt for new and better ways to engage with their community online, Martha Stoumen Wines turned to Vocal Video to understand what drew buyers to natural wine in the first place. The campaign included a short video introduction from Martha, and enabled the team to listen to their customers, then create short videos slated for use on their website, Facebook & Instagram, and their newsletter.

Watch the winery owner & Sales/Marketing Manager tell the story about how Vocal Video has helped Martha Stoumen Wines connect more intimately with their community and is “light years ahead” in terms of getting testimonials.

MS Wines also faces a challenge that transcends industry. As Martha puts it,

No one wants to hear directly from the winery itself that their product is great. It's not a believable story.

With this in mind, MS Wines also used Vocal Video to access the opinions of customers and experts alike to capture their testimonials about the wine.

The winery’s focus on high quality, playful wines has paid off in love you hear from the fans of Martha Stoumen Wines. Customers consistently cite these qualities in their testimonials, and more than once we hear that an early experience with these wines changed their whole perspective on natural wine as a whole. Here’s an example of one of testimonials from a campaign Martha Stoumen Wines ran with Vocal Video: Kate Hodges on how she feels about MS Wines.

In future campaigns, Martha Stoumen Wines plans to use Vocal Video to collect reviews of their current release of wines to give buyers an easy-to consume way to learn about the wines before purchasing.

Video Transcript

Speakers:  Martha Stoumen, Owner & Lorren Butterwick, Sales and Marketing Manager, Martha Stoumen Wines

Why are testimonial videos important to your business?

Martha Stoumen: Wine is a product that is very hard to advertise for using traditional channels. In the past, we've relied on experts or wine critics to let our customers know that this wine is good, but no one wants to hear directly from the winery itself that their product is great. It's not a believable story. In recent years, wine criticism has become more egalitarian, and it's come from the customers themselves. Vocal Video is just a really great way to capture that.

Lorren Butterwick: Testimonial videos are very important to Martha Stoumen Wines because it is a way for us to connect with our community in a more personal way. This is especially important because we are a small winery that really values authenticity and bringing people together. Yet we do not have a brick and mortar tasting room, and most of our sales happen online. Because of this, we're continually searching for ways to foster online community and engage with them in deeper, more meaningful ways. And these testimonial videos do just that for us. They allow our customers to genuinely share stories and experiences, to dive deeper into their wine reviews and to connect with us and the entire Martha Stoumen Wines community in a very unique way.

If you had to describe Vocal Video in one or two sentences, what would you say?

Lorren Butterwick: Vocal Video is a unique new platform that allows businesses to gather authentic and comprehensive feedback from their customers in the form of personal videos. These videos can then be repurposed as a powerful marketing and customer success tool.

Martha Stoumen: Vocal Video is quick, easy and effective. It's easy to navigate, easy to edit. It's quick as well to get videos out the door, and it's effective for our customers to see testimonies in video format, which is a really rich interface.

How are you using Vocal Video?

Lorren Butterwick: We're using it (Vocal Video) for product or wine reviews that can then be shared with other direct to consumer customers, retailers or distributors. It's kind of like crowdfunding tasting notes, if you will. We're also using it as a tool to ask questions and learn more about our customers so we can strategize ways to engage with them more deeply and more effectively. We plan to share the videos on our website, on social media platforms and in our newsletters.

Martha Stoumen: So far, we've been using Vocal Video for two things. One is to test the temperature of the category in general in which we operate. So in our case, that is natural wine, a small subcategory of the entire wine industry, which we don't have very many metrics. The second way we're using Vocal Video. Is to actually ask specifically about Martha Stoumen Wines. Why customers were drawn to it. This is a richer method for us to receive videos than to just put out a survey or something like that.

How does video help Martha Stoumen Wines connect with your audience?

Martha Stoumen: Selling wine involves high touch customer support. Very seldomly do people just buy a bottle of wine and not expect some sort of experience around that wine. Generally this has been in the form of a wine club or wine release events and parties. But the whole idea of wine as a product is also, there's a sense of community that needs to happen, whether it's a wine club or people belonging to the community around that particular producer and that wine. It's very unique in this way. Vocal Video has allowed us to connect more intimately with our customers because they can give us direct feedback. We can then repost those videos to the community and, it really helps bolster this in an online format, which is something we haven't been able to do in the past.

Lorren Butterwick: Vocal Video helps us connect with our community on multiple channels, specifically on our website and on social media. I am the most excited to have product review videos linked to all of our wines that potential customers can watch and then get to know the wine before purchasing.

Would you recommend others try Vocal Video? Why?

Lorren Butterwick: I would most definitely recommend Vocal Video to others. It is such a powerful tool to share and gather important information from customers and then to use that information for marketing and other business development.

Martha Stoumen: Yes, I would absolutely recommend Vocal Video to others. It's light years ahead in terms of testimony building.

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