How Digital Strategy Helps Spirits Brands Scale Smartly

We have seen brands save upwards of 75% of their overall budget by shifting to a digital strategy that not only builds their brand in ways that are not possible through traditional means but also informs them on how, when, and where to scale their business.

Bryan Monteleone, Co-Founder of Drinkubator

The age of guesswork in spirits sales is officially over

Thanks to the advent of digital marketing and the exponential growth it sees year after year, craft spirits brands can now spend smarter by knowing exactly who and where their customers are and direct sales and advertising accordingly. But let’s be honest: the spirits industry has been living in the proverbial “marketing stone ages” for decades. Historically, how many brands have made the wrong move by investing in markets where they thought they would succeed, only to discover that there weren’t as many buyers as they had hoped?

Brands would do their best to match their juice and lifestyle with the geographic and psychographic markets that matched and invested in a sales force, distribution, field marketing, etc., hoping their efforts translated into case sales. However, potentially tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars later, they find themselves several steps back instead of a step ahead due to those decisions.

Most scaling decisions by spirits brands have been reactionary, AKA “this worked here” or “this didn’t work there” mentality. Without a doubt, failure is the world’s best teacher, but why take a hit when you don’t have to? Digital marketing empowers brands to make well-informed, proactive decisions instead of costly, time-wasting, reactionary decisions. To quote the great Sir Francis Bacon, “Knowledge is power.”

Ignore the landlubbers at your own peril

We find one great example of how digital marketing strategy can inform strategic retail growth with one of our clients, a premium rum brand. For client confidentiality purposes, we’ll call them The Rum Company. The Rum Company spent most of its sales and marketing efforts along the coastal United States, specifically the Southeastern US. The thinking was that their core market lies in nautical-minded people or those most exposed to the boating life often associated with rum drinkers. However, after testing markets across the US with digital advertising campaigns, The Rum Company found that one of the top-performing areas in the US for their ads was in the Midwest. Shock and awe ensued – and after that, they began putting boots on the ground.

As case sales soared in the region, we kept hearing, “Who knew we had a boatload of rum buyers in the Midwest?” and “We probably never would have considered putting feet on the street in that market.” These sentiments have their merit. What small rum company in their right mind would invest in the Midwest market without the knowledge they had from their digital advertising results? They would risk all of the incurred time and financial costs discussed above, and these setbacks can be deal breakers for small brands.

The power to scale smartly is within any brand’s reach

This proactive digital approach is the new playbook today. Deploying a holistic digital strategy that includes tracking and real-time analytics takes the guesswork out of the equation. Now brands can see exactly where they should invest and take on overhead based on digital campaign data. Then, using a fraction of what they would typically invest in traditional scaling tactics, brands can run digital campaigns, have a heatmap of their Tier 1 markets delivered each month, and make sales and distribution decisions accordingly.

While this seems like a no-brainer, the digital transformation of the spirits

industry is still in its infancy, and brands that get on board now will be pioneering the space while saving capital resources. With real-time analytical data and uber-specific targeting capabilities, digital marketing allows any spirit brand to find its audience wherever they are.

Forget entering a new market to wildly disappointing case sales. Forget the guesswork that has plagued our industry for decades. Digital marketing is here to stay, so hop on board and don’t look back. Instead, make knowledge your power and spend smarter towards the people that matter to your brand.

Drinkubator is purpose-built to help spirits brands scale efficiently and increase their enterprise value much faster than those stuck in the antiquated methods of growing spirits brands. So start the conversation today, and we’ll craft a transformative digital strategy together that propels your brand to the top of your category.