I'm looking to do two things:
1. Collect a list of frequently asked questions about local marketing
2. In return, give some real feedback that will help grow your business
Specifically looking to hear from people who have a local business, had a local business, or intend on building a local business. "Traditional" businesses. So hit me with your best shot. Let's do this.
I am starting a local craft brewery that will be marketing locally for the first few years. After establishing ourselves locally, we plan to spread to surrounding cities and hopefully beyond that. We will have a few months of lag time between when we order our production equipment and when we have a batch ready to sell. We have a pilot system that can make small test batches, but not enough capacity to get our unit cost down to make a profit.
We have been invited to an art show to serve our beer, and it seems to attract nearly our exact target market. I have to double-check with our attorney to make sure everything is legal, but they have invited us for next month. When should we begin promoting our test batches? Is it a bad idea to begin promoting several months before our products hit the shelves?
I would say "why not?" It seems every business that starts wishes they would have started earlier.
The only challenge is if your product is any good and there is some demand for it you run the risk of pissing people off if you cannot fulfill orders. But yes, you should be marketing before your product hits the shelves so when it does you actually have sales.
But the question you should be asking is how to build a list - you have this opportunity in front of you, if you have a great product, how do you follow up with them? Collecting emails, numbers, addresses will be key to the event being a success or a flop. Staying in touch with these people is the difference between "he's the guy we buy our best beer from" and "oh I think I met that guy at some thing once."
When should you promote your product? Yesterday.
I will keep updating the Facebook page with cool pictures of the construction and little teaser descriptions of our test batches, but I am not sure if I would be annoying some people by contacting them too soon. Would you contact these people in the meantime, or would you wait until you were closer to having a finished product to send updates?
Not trying to hawk my wares(notice it's just the video, no opt-in). Keep the questions coming. I'm looking for a least a dozen FAQs.
The three main markets (cities of Houston, Austin, and Dallas in that order) we intend to serve are all within 200 miles of each other. Would you emphasize the "locally made" concept if we hope to expand beyond those markets in the future?
A few brands promote themselves heavily as local brews, but are often just re-branded versions of the same product on a national scale. For example, Ziegenbock is a brand "for Texans, by Texans" made by Anheuser-Busch and is possibly identical to their national brand: Michelob Amber Bock. They released this brand to compete with Spoetzl Brewery, mostt commonly known for Shiner Bock.
How would you develop marketing strategies for an initial focus on the local market, with future intentions to expand beyond the local market?
As you're suggesting, the big boys create different brands. I'll never forget the story Daymond John (founder of Fubu) tells in one of his books where he was at a night club and a random guy came up to him and said "Man, your Fubu is whack these days! When you going to come out with something fresh?" - it was hilarious because the guy had on Coogi clothing head to toe (his other brand).
Unless you have hundreds of millions of dollars to throw at the marketing behemoths that are alcohol companies you won't get the market penetration you are looking for. Your success will more than likely (and almost has to) come from grass roots guerrilla style marketing.
Again, if you you have a great product, part of the marketing takes care of itself. But do what you're talking about - brand per market. Who isn't proud of their own city? As silly as it might seem these days, it's an important part of people's identity. So create Austin Ale, and Houston Hopps, and Dallas... Drunkard... hell - hold taste testing competitions where people are blindfolded and forced to chose between Austin Ale and Houston Hopps, if they don't pick their city they'll get a bunch of shit for it
From what I know of the alcohol business bar and club owners want ready-made campaigns for them so it's easy to bring into the fold.
I met a guy recently who created a tequila (not even very good tequila) and the guy was 13 million in debt with the company and was just goofy. After several questions and watching him try to sell the stuff it was a disaster. Sure he brought in product to taste for the staff but had no promotional materials, had no free product to test it with customers in the bar, and very little margins for the owner to make any money (I'm sure being 13 million in debt he could not afford better margins! ... I mean yeesh 13 MILLION!?) This guy probably had twenty years on me but was like a kid in his approach.
Anyways, hopefully that proves my following points. You'll need:
Ready made campaigns for bars and clubs (which would include scripting for the staff to explain the taste and the story behind it)
Promotional materials (signs, coasters, etc.)
Incentives for staff to push the beer
Is all of this helping you so far?
Another local marketing concern I've been thinking about seems a little unique to the craft beer industry. Craft breweries will sometimes do special collaborations with other well known competitors. It seems brewing is less cut-throat competitive than many other industries. Do you have any experience with collaborative marketing strategies?
Here's what you do: Come up with 10 frequently asked questions people ask about your product, and 10 SHOULD ask questions. Now you can do many more than 10 but this is extremely powerful. Sounds silly but it can be the basis of your entire marketing campaign.
I know nothing about beer (pretty sure I'm allergic also) - so I'll use my marketing services as an example..
An example of a FAQ is "When is the best time to market a new product/service?" The answer is... as soon as possible! As long as you have a working product you should be marketing it, but the question your SHOULD be asking is how do I capture leads to to market them before, during, and after a product launch? Well my friend, see, you should be doing this...
Get the idea? What questions do people have about beer? How is it made? What is your process? What ingredients do you use? Where is it made? Think of as many frequently asked questions as possible and start to answer them. Then come up with the SHOULD-ask questions (SAQs) - what would they ask if they only knew what you knew?
You will be surprised of 1.) how much you really know about your product, and 2.) how easy it would be to create all of your marketing materials based on these things.
Also, as I'm sure most people will ask "what's different about your beer that every other beer doesn't do?"
You can respond with this structure:
You know how most beers _____________?
What we do with our beer is _______________.
If good enough, it will force a response of "how do you do that?"
And there's where you move into your FAQ, SAQ sales presentation...
I'm scaring myself I'm so good...
Feel free to invite me to the wild parties.We will also be doing a decent amount of distributing ourselves and I will be going on "ride-alongs" with our distributors to keep the energy up and make sure everything is going well. That will be the fun part!
Hmm interesting. It only makes sense in your sales funnel that if someone doesn't want your product you sell them another one (and thus still make money). Most people don't utilize this in their sales funnels because they think so narrow-minded-ly...Another local marketing concern I've been thinking about seems a little unique to the craft beer industry. Craft breweries will sometimes do special collaborations with other well known competitors. It seems brewing is less cut-throat competitive than many other industries. Do you have any experience with collaborative marketing strategies?
To increase sales you can easily offer complimentary products as well as competitive products. Not every single person is going to want your product and if you only sell to 10%, what's that other 90% want? You can't just leave that money on the table - it doesn't make sense!
I'm sure I will have tons more questions when we get up and running, but for now I have one more. Do you market differently to resellers as opposed to consumers? When selling B2B, I assume that I should be pointing out the benefits of carrying our beer, and dispelling any of their concerns. When selling to consumers, I assume I should be getting more specific to the individual. Does this sound correct?
I would venture to guess that they each have a different set of frequently asked questions and questions they should be asking! Education based marketing solves a lot of things.I'm sure I will have tons more questions when we get up and running, but for now I have one more. Do you market differently to resellers as opposed to consumers? When selling B2B, I assume that I should be pointing out the benefits of carrying our beer, and dispelling any of their concerns. When selling to consumers, I assume I should be getting more specific to the individual. Does this sound correct?
Think of it more as entering the mind of the prospect. Really dig deep into who they are and what they're after. My guess would be that a distributor is looking for ways to make money with your product (although I could be way off - you never know until you actually ask them!)
I'll be thereIf you're ever around the Houston area, come on!
Ok, a little late, but I thought of another question. Craft beer has been experiencing a ton of growth over the past few years, so I'm a little concerned with branding and product differentiation. I have some incredible market research showing a lot of what is going on with the craft beer market. One of the reports I've been focusing on is the styles that are selling best.
What I am concerned with is producing products that are not much different than the competition. Most craft beer sales fall under 3 different styles, and a lot of competitors have those styles covered pretty well. There are definitely some improvements or "twists" we could include in these styles, but I want our brand to transcend the ordinary. While craft beer is not quite ordinary yet, I think over the next few years it will begin shifting that direction...the evidence can be seen from the explosive growth in developed markets, and the increased interest coming from big breweries.
So I guess what I'm asking is how do you differentiate your brand when several other local competitors are producing similar products? I have some ideas for unique packaging and slight changes to popular styles, but what would you guys do if you were opening a brewery?
Before I give an in depth response why don't I turn this question back around on you - what is it that makes you different? What is your unique selling proposition? Is your product better? cheaper? Does it solve some kind of need that isn't being met in regards to taste or quality or whatever?
The worst thing a business can do (and this is what the majority of people ARE doing - which is the cause of dismal advertising results) is they get into business and say "me too!"
With craft beers on the rise you have a golden opportunity to catch that wave but you must differentiate yourself from your competition. So number one, what are your competitors saying, and two; what can you say that they can't?
I'll give you a hint, usually it comes down to education. I'll use Schlitz again as an example where they told the process of making their beer (everyone used the same process), but they did it before anyone else did so the rest of the competition was forced to say "me too!"
So again - what is your USP, what makes your product different, better, or cheaper than your competition?
The surge in craft beer demand seems to be coming from differentiation and quality competition. So much of the competition is putting out very similar products, and this is where I must have lost focus on my own product. The best craft breweries seem to be doing one of two things:
1) Build a few high quality brands and focus on quality control/consistency, marketing, and scaling up your distribution network.
2) Creating unique, even"weird", products that you can't find anywhere else. Craft beer drinkers are always seeking out the latest and greatest.
I think as the market becomes more saturated, the breweries with a reputation for uniqueness will be at an advantage. I also think this is where educating the market would have more effect. I'm a little concerned about trying this strategy, because we will be limited on capacity at first. I am afraid of trying something funky that might fail. As I'm writing this, I am reminded of a post where vigilante said that if there is demand for the product the market will support you. I know I can get people to try my products, I just need to focus on how to get them to buy from us again.
Book links provided by Amazon.com affiliate program. Sponsored ads/links are not endorsements or recommendations from MJ DeMarco and/or Viperion Corporation.
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)