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5 Marketing Lessons Everyone Can Learn From Beer

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2. Tribal experiences matter.

So if demographics matters less than it used to in marketing beer, what really matters is how involved they are with beer, how much they spend thinking about beer.

And, says Scott Taylor, “When it comes to a product like beer, we often find that people who have high involvement have similar characteristics: They hang out with people like themselves.

“They watch the same shows, or participate in the same sports or fitness activities. For example, there’s an association between drinking Bud Light and [watching] Game of Thrones,” he says. (This insight is new enough that nobody knows yet exactly why.)

“Beer brands are succeeding by not just relying on age, sex, or income, but on things that bring people together,” he says.

So, for example, a data-driven marketer might realize that people who go to dog shows or particular dog parks like their beer brand. A well-timed invitation to a local pub—to existing customers and to people who have a data profile similar to those existing beer fans—could help to cement brand loyalty by creating memorable experiences associated with a given beer.

Teasing out such important insights—and encouraging people to have such experiences through advertising, events and carefully personalized offers—can often involve billions or trillions of data points, with everything from social media interactions, to which web pages customers click on, to weather data. (In the Beer Conversion Wars, there’s nothing like a hot day and an accurately timed suggestion that a cold beer might be good right about now, and is just around the corner at a pub you’re about to pass.)

To process these huge datasets—and apply the kind of sophisticated machine learning and AI algorithms to the data—many marketers are turning to high-tech platforms, dubbed “customer data platforms,” or CDPs. A good CDP can handle huge quantities of data in near real time and craft highly individualized profiles of each customer, allowing for much more targeted and segmented marketing. These profiles typically include everything from CRM data to social media information and can be used to look at existing customers, tease out their characteristics, and automatically look for new customers, a process called “lookalike matching.”

3. Data-driven personalization works.

Some beer brands are already experimenting with targeted personalization on a grand scale—and they’re getting results.

“The significance of personalized marketing was clearly confirmed by data,” says Naoki Nakajima, a digital marketer at Kirin, which pioneered an effort to consolidate vast amounts of Kirin’s customer data into a customer data platform. Kirin then modeled customer behavior based on that data and used that data to personalize offers and customer journeys using that data. It was clear from the data that personalized customer journeys and tailored promotions work. “All customers purchased Kirin products, but those exposed to the personalized engagement were more likely to become loyal customers than those just exposed to standard campaigns,” says Nakajima.

4. Location matters, and location-based apps help you understand how.

If I perceive a beer as culturally relevant to the food I’m consuming—even if it’s not truly an authentic one—I’m more likely to consume it in the restaurant, as misguided as that might be. Marketers can play on that. It might be inaccurate in some cases, but it makes money.

For example, Taylor points to the craft brewing industry’s PintPass app, which is free to consumers. Users get points by checking in at a location, and with enough points, it can turn into something like a virtual debit card, says Taylor. The GPS checks you in and you say what you’re drinking and post something to social media. Brewers can get important behavioral data, including where and under what circumstances any particular user drinks beer—a real treasure data chest of information for marketers who can harness it.

5. Discovery experiences work, so craft stories and customer experiences of discovery.

Everyone—but especially the Millennial generation—wants to feel they’ve “discovered” a new brand or experience.

“Discovery counts, and it hasn’t really been used as much,” says Scott Taylor. “Not only are people discovering beer, but they’re discovering a community, and locality is connected to the community. More companies should try that; we’re not using that enough.”

Practical discovery-based marketing strategies include partnering with tourism boards. Developing apps for the brand also works, not just to get you near-real-time data, but to drive in-the-moment engagement with brands over the long term and to collect more data for new campaigns and strategies.

“If you’re not doing that, you’re losing money,” he says.

Tom Treanor is global head of marketing at Arm Treasure Data, a leading enterprise customer data platform (CDP) provider. He writes on topics related to marketing, Martech, and customer data. Get news and updates from Tom on Twitter.

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