Many business owners fool themselves into believing that if their product is excellent, people will just buy it. This is the current and prevalent thought amongst brewery owners especially. The category is super popular with customers and new is in, so if you’re new, things are going well. But what happens when you are no longer new? What happens when four more breweries, or ten!, open within five miles of your location? That’s the point so many brewery business owners are reaching.
Consider this – the craft beer category has seen explosive growth:
Or this – across microbreweries and brewpubs, we’ve seen a decline or marginal growth while simultaneously seeing an increase in closings.
The failure rate varies by industry, but in a study by Statistic Brain, Startup Business Failure Rate by Industry, the failure rate of all U.S. companies after five years was over 50 percent, and over 70 percent after 10 years.
Retention vs Acquisition
Ask yourself, when does a customer find out how good your beer is? The answer of course is – once they’ve bought it and tried it. Great beer is a great customer retention tool. But, if they never buy, they never try and they never know. And you never grow. This is especially concerning as the number of breweries increase – everyone’s competing for the same amount of customer attention.
There are only so many drinking occasions, and consumers are turning to a wider set of alcohol choices, including craft spirits. The proliferation of brands and styles has made it increasingly difficult to drive growth. Retail shelf space is crowded and on-premise locations have limited tap handles. Even with the growing number of bars/restaurants with 20+ handles – you need to be top of mind when the waiter hits them with “what would you like to drink” as soon as their butt hits the seat.
How are you acquiring customers? Acquiring new customers must be a top priority if you are going to survive in the new crowded marketplace.
So how do you implement ROI positive marketing?
- You need a plan. You need a marketing strategy. Operating without a marketing plan is like crawling around in the dark hoping to bump into a potential customer.
- You need to measure as much as possible. 80% of desired results come from 20% of actions. If you aren’t measuring you could be blowing money on things that aren’t working – that’s a surefire way to give up on marketing and label it as a “waste of money.”
- You need consistency and persistence in order to move the needle. The occasional Facebook ad or email to subscribers isn’t going sell more beer.
- You need someone in your corner you trust –
- Someone that has done this for other breweries.
- Someone who will focus on growing revenue.
We are Fifty/Fifty
We, Jason and Laura (a two person consultancy), have worked on developing marketing plans for emerging food and beverage brands for over 15 years. We’ve applied this collective knowledge to grow one of the most popular Charlotte brands, The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery:
- Established a consistent brand message around their position of purity and freshness
- Grew sales from 9,000 barrels to nearly 25,000
- Established the beautiful biergarten and brauhaus as a destination and event space.