Wine not? Martin Long poised to take on new marketing challenge

Marketing wines from an award-winning Hunter Valley boutique winery is the exciting new venture for International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) Business School Program Manager, Martin Long.

2019 will see him pursuing this challenge that will directly feed back into his teaching. He will be responsible for the marketing of top-rated wines produced by Kelman Vineyard, located in Pokolbin at the foot of picturesque Mount View.

Long will straddle both academia and this industry-specific role as he continues at ICMS as a Senior Lecturer in the Business School from February next year. This dual approach reflects ICMS' goal of students being taught by lecturers active within the industry, able to give current insights into the careers in which they hope to pursue.

Long has been Program Manager for the ICMS Business School for the past two years and has been an integral part of the academic development of ICMS over the past decade. A seasoned marketing professional with more than 40 years' management experience, Long is a senior lecturer and responsible for marketing and leadership subjects.

"I've always had a passion for wine and the wine industry and when this opportunity came up to buy into an established small winery it was a no-brainer," Long said. 

Rated highly by wine critic James Halliday, Kelman Vineyard produces classic Hunter varietals such as Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz. All have won awards and the 2017 Shiraz recently earned a Gold Medal and a Trophy at the Hunter Valley Boutique Wine Show as the best wine in its class.

Long works closely with fellow directors to ensure the wine portfolio reflects the very best that the region can offer, concentrating on the quality of the fruit from a pristine vineyard with minimal intervention and careful winemaking.

"Marketing wine is a highly competitive and crowded business space and we have to position our brand very specifically to capture the right market segments," Long said. "Constant strategic flexibility is the key while staying true to the region's roots which date back more than 150 years ago."

Distribution is through the cellar door and via a new wine operation that was launched in October this year.

"Direct to consumer is the most cost efficient sales distribution path as it maintains margins and enables you to talk directly to your customer," Long said.

This practical marketing experience provides great case study material for the material for ICMS marketing students as well as for those studying Global Wine Tourism as a subject. Long is an active participant in industry marketing and brings all of that knowledge back to the classroom.

Long will spend more time at the winery from the beginning of 2019 and is planning some research into the effects of experiential cellar door activities and wine clubs on the longevity of purchasing patterns for boutique wineries.

"There is some research on this area but it all seems to focus on big wineries that sell most of their product through retailers such as Dan Murphy's," Long said.

"Our biggest challenge will be in overcoming this and finding alternative distribution and retention of customer strategies. We have to learn how to influence our customers to become loyal advocates for our brands and buy wine from us on a long term basis."

ICMS is an award-winning higher education institution located in the Northern Beaches Council, Sydney, NSW, Australia. For more information, click here: https://www.icms.edu.au

For more information on the Kelman Vineyard, click here: https://www.kelmanvineyard.com.au/

For more information on Martin Long, click here: https://www.icms.edu.au/staff/martin-long/

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