As the craft beer industry continues to evolve, marketing tactics continue to evolve with drinking tastes. With the introduction of new marketing trends to harness this change, creating and utilising marketing strategies to stay authentic and engage social media adept drinkers is a challenge many brewers face today.
Understanding the challenge and learning how to navigate this changing landscape was a topic discussed at a panel at the WA Brewers Association’s Beer & Brewing conference.
The panel included Bronte O’Donoghue, head of marketing at Eagle Bay Brewing, Meg Coffey, managing director of digital marketing agency Coffey & Tea and Tom Jockel, head of marketing at Shelter Brewing Co.
Accepting that tastes have evolved through generations is a key aspect in understanding the market, as Coffey explained.
“The ‘what are they drinking?’ has completely changed and it’s not just you don’t drink what your parents drink, because it wasn’t cool,” she said.
“It is that tastes and desires and wants and needs have completely changed through the generations.
“Especially when we look at the younger millennials now. They’re not drinking, or at least not in the same degree that I drank or that you drink, these two probably are a mix of you and I and the younger ones.
“The behaviours have completely changed. So, how do we talk to them? Well, that’s the big question.”
Eagle Bay Brewing’s Bronte O’Donoghue said communication is key, but it has to be done right and through the multitude of channels available today, which can be difficult.
“If you’re looking at a younger millennial, they digest information so quickly these days across multiple platforms and our attention spans are really short,” she said.
“So you need to be punchy, you need to be quick, and you need to be everywhere, which is obviously difficult.
“But I think it’s important to be across all of these different channels and I think it’s something as an industry that we’re quite far behind on, perhaps because we didn’t grow up with that, stereotyping the industry being a little bit older.”
One way to do this effectively is to ensure businesses have a diverse set of employees, not just in age, but with different cultural backgrounds and experiences as well.
“You can’t get away with having five 50-year-old dudes in a room that think the same way and digest information in the same way, it’s just not gonna work,” O’Donoghue said.
“I think it is really important to have diversity, not just age, but people from diverse backgrounds with diverse interests, because you need to have diverse opinions and a strategy that’s shaped to appeal to a wide audience.”
Shelter Brewing Co’s Tom Jockel said that when it comes to marketing, businesses should embrace all social media platforms to deliver the right tailored message, especially newer platforms like TikTok.
“I think if you’re not doing TikTok because your 50-year-old managing director doesn’t want you to, you probably have bigger problems than not being on TikTok because, just like a sports team, your brewery team needs buy-in from everyone from top to bottom,” Jockel said.
“Individuals need to be able to leave their ego aside, and have faith in that person to do their job. The managing director isn’t coming in and telling the brewer how to brew the beer, and shouldn’t be telling the marketing person how to market to millennials.”
While it’s important to utilise all options, it’s also key to provide authenticity, as Eagle Bay Brewing’s Bronte O’Donohgue said.
“Everything that you should be putting on social media should be adding value to your audience,” she said.
“It’s quality over quantity, there’s no point chucking something up for the sake of it. It needs to be adding value to your audience.
“You need to understand your audience first, so that you can communicate with them and then you need to be putting up timely, relevant content that adds value, and that all takes a lot of time and planning.”
Jockel agreed and said it’s important to understand the business’ audience and have a call to action when communicating with consumers.
“Sometimes people have to be careful not to forget to sell,” he said.
“At some point, in the email or in the post, maybe once a month, or whatever it is for you, there is the ‘hey, we’ve got this product, which we make, and you like our personality and our brand, this is what it is.’”
The panel discussed these key factors as well as other arms of marketing, the importance of education and diversifying in a saturated market.
Listen below to the full panel discussion from the WA Beer & Brewing Conference which is proudly brought to you by Bintani Australia.