Marketing Takes Action

“I took it to heart what you said today. ‘What is the one thing I am going to do today?’  I came home and organized a group, came up with dates and contacted members of an [philanthropic] group I had been put in charge of.  (without being asked if i would be in charge of it ) I had been putting that on ‘the back burner,’ so now I am relieved. Everyday I would mark off all these things on my to do list and move that one  eventually to the next days list. Thank you for your wisdom.”

Take action. Make things move.

Take action. Make things move.

The above is an example of someone acting on professional advice from us. I presented an idea at a business event, all of 30 seconds in front of 50+ people. This person took and ran with it.

Progress favors the active. Call us for plenty of helpful, useful, and proactive ideas.

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Where’s the Service? What’s the Experience?

Remember the “Where’s the Beef??” campaign? Today I’d say, “Where’s the Service??”

Service is a funny thing. So many people Want It. Too few people know What It Is. Lots of people practice What It Isn’t.

Service = what you give.

The key here is that we often mistake service for experience.

Experience = what we get.

Are you ready with the Servant Mentality?

Are you ready with the Servant Mentality?

They are vastly different and still very much related. Round and round they go. For example: if someone is shopping at a store, say for a pair of trousers, a sales person approaches (hopefully) to inquire as to how they can help. True service and servant mentality isn’t “are you finding what you want?” Servant mentality is service focused – how can one serve another. What can I help you find, what it is you are looking for today, and ‘these whatevers would be very sharp with the pair of slacks you picked out.’ It’s help at its core: service.

Experience is the result of being served. A woman walks into a bar….

She is seated or seats herself (being greeted and seated is the best service) and awaits a beertender to assist. An in-tune and well-educated tender will introduce themselves (starting a relationship), inquire as to what they may be in the mood for (making suggestions so the guest doesn’t have to do all the work herself), and also makes recommendations to complement her choices (beverage, food, both). Providing an experience is what creates a meaningful memories. Memories drive people to want to repeat their experiences, the business sees the customer again – perhaps with friends they brought along – and round it all goes.

Service Tips Today:

1. When serving the female customer, ask open-ended questions. Service inherently starts with genuine conversation (not hollow, the real stuff).

2. If she gives you a closed return comment, then give her space, let her know you’re available, check back and ensure she’s finding what she wants and needs.

3. Offer appropriate recommendations and suggestions per the conversations you are able to have with her. If she’s rather tight-lipped, simply pointing our features and specials can engage her in a professional and polite way – you’re sharing what’s new, improved, in season and available.

4. Give her space.

5. Thank her for her business and visit – whether she buys now or not. Her experience of your service will greatly affect her support of your business.

Smart service leads to a positive experience. Get it right and thrive. Get it right and she’ll help you.

Resource: Paul Paz, Waiters World is an excellent Servant Leader.

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Success Formulas

Challenge. Solution. Invitation.

Lisa conducting a useful marketing workshop at SBDC, Medford OR.

Lisa conducting a useful marketing workshop at SBDC, Medford OR.

This is the success formula for nationally recognized Lisa Manyon, “The Business Marketing Architect.”

Lisa got tired of the negative model of problem, agitate, and solve. I agree. We spend way too much time being negative instead of channeling that energy into what we CAN do.

Ditch the can’t – go with the can.

Read more about Lisa, her message and brilliant services here.

Marketing is communication. Knowing this and how to do it effectively as it suits your goals is key to success.

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The Worth Of Word Of Mouth

So many people in business talk about “word of mouth.” They say ” Oh – I don’t advertise, I rely on and see business from word of mouth.”

So what precisely is word of mouth? And what’s it’s worth?

I’d encourage you to redirect and start thinking of Worth Of Mouth. The worth of the words from many mouths is what we’re really looking at here. And who’s mouth is it?

What's the worth of mouth of your business?

What’s the worth of mouth of your business?

The value of word of mouth – the worth as it were – is dependent on the mouther, so to speak. Is the person reputable, reliable and knowledgeable to put worth in the words of mouth?

In marketing, that is, bringing something to market, word of mouth has a long herstory of value when it comes from the right people at the right time for the right reasons. A worthless word can be more than worthless – it can be damaging. And that’s definitely worth considering before hand.

Be careful what you say and how you say it. Be careful what you think words and phrases to mean. They are as elastic and ever-changing as the weather.

Go for value, experience, respect, fun. That’s the worth the mouths are looking for.

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Are You Looking At The Right Issues?

Recently I got wind of a professional webinar within the beer world. It was supposed to be addressing the market, who and where the areas of growth for beer. Pretty straight forward idea.

I had registered for this said event and simply had to pass it up to tend to other business, though the topic is right up my alley.

Once it was over, I heard from a valued and reliable colleague that the talk had focused on areas of the market and population, yet not women. Apparently one slide of dozens addressed women as beer buyers and consumers. Excuse me, what??!!

What issues are you looking at?

What issues are you looking at? Are they right in front of you or elsewhere?

Instead the focus was on the Hispanic market. Yes, it’s growing globally. Yes, it’s an excellent population to work with and for. AND it’s still misses the point if the beer industry wants to really capture new, long-term, loyal market share that covers all ethnicities and facets of humanity: females.

After I shook my head in shock, and got my bearings again, I realized this: The Professional Beer Industry Community for the most part still has no foggy clue about who’s buying the beer in America. Scan data is a partial picture and dangerously lacking in deep lasting understanding of the female beer buyer.

I’d ask the people in business in the beer arena: What issues are you looking at? What do you want to accomplish, what are your goals, who is your target market and why, what are you doing to bring in outside expertise you’ll never have to build and support your brand?

Time and time again all someone has to do is to surf a bit on the web to find consistent and reliable data to support the fact that women are the primary buyers of all goods and services. Read here, here and here for a sampling.

So when you’re looking at business development – from beer to cotton swabs to cars to tools – take note. You’ll be successful when you carefully examine the female shopper and buyer.

Beer people beware: you’ll stagnate and deflate unless you make some drastic changes in patterns, habits, acceptabilities and practices towards and involving women.

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What Does Craft Mean To You?

“Health is a relative term that means different things to different people – kind of like the term craft beer, right?” – Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program Director, Brewers Association

Words. They’re seemingly loaded with meaning and thrown around with no weight simultaneously. How do you handle words?

Exhibit A: Natural.

In the 1970’s in America, the word came on like a tidal wave. It was all the sudden on packaged goods and signs everywhere. Natural This and Natural That. What’s a consumer to do?! In a huge rush the shopping of food became a miasma of words, which at first felt meaningful.

Is a manufactured (intentionally planted) landscape natural? Is it crafted?

Is a manufactured (intentionally planted) landscape natural? Is it crafted?

Then, with everyone getting on the Natural boat, it began to get muddy. Muddy understandings, definitions, and meanings. What did Natural mean by 1980? Who was still using it and to what end? Here’s a thoughtful article on the term.

Exhibit B: Craft.

It’s the current counterpart to Natural. What does Craft mean?

Like natural and all labels and titles, definitions are somewhat elastic. They may be ‘defined’ by some organizational body or person, yet who gives them the authority to define a word that can mean different things to all different folks? And who’s to say we have to abide by them or adopt them as our own?

Craft is a buzz word in the alcohol beverage industry right now, and especially in the beer world. It’s a word I’ve used, questioned, and not used (in that order) since I got into the beer world professionally.

What’s in a word is up to the brain holder – you and I, our neighbors, colleagues, family friends and enemies. Who’s to say what a word can and cannot mean, as well as the sticky middle of “ya, but’s”….

To come up with my own definition of craft I look all around me, both at home and abroad. To me, well crafted is going to be more important than any otherwise-defined delineation of any word. It’s my word to use as I wish and I wish the meaning to be non-exclusive, though not necessarily inclusive. See my quandary? It’s neither here nor there, and it’s certainly not in between.

I’d encourage you to rethink your words and terminology. I’d suggest you focus on brands and what they are about, what they mean to you, and how they relate to your world. I’d recommend not using the craft word. From our research I can tell you that most women don’t have a universal singular definition of “craft” as it relates to beer. Size has little to do with quality (pun intended here).

Knowing that what is in your glass is well crafted with care is my go-to. What’s yours?

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Why A Marketing Pro Should Never Cut Their Own Hair

So…who else out there has ever cut their own hair?

If you use a razor daily, like my friend Charlie, that may be the exception. If you’re like me, with hair of any length (though mine is short), it’s best to use a pro.

Why a marketer should not cut their own hair

Why a marketer should not cut their own hair

Drew’s been my stylist for going on 5 years now and I know that he’s the best fit for me: He’s a trained pro who continues his education, is very good at listening and asking the right questions, and he deserves the fees he charges for his services.

Me: I’m a marketing pro. More succinct: I’m a marketing pro, not a stylist. I should leave the haircuts to him. Here’s why.

I’m impatient when it comes to my hair. To me, it’s just hair. And I keep it short for low maintenance. Quick, simple, professional – that’s what I’m after here. I want to get up, get to it, and get on to other things. I’ve never been a take-a-long-time-getting-ready person. No thanks. My college roommates, whom I adore, did plenty of that for me.

So why compare haircuts to marketing? Because I know better than to take the scissors into my own hand. Because I want people to hire me for my professional skills and that means I hire the right pros when I need them. Here are some helpful tips for hiring a marketing pro.

Drew helps me stay professional in my appearance. As much as you want to deny looks and say “it’s what inside that matters”, how we look still does in fact matter.

So I’ll let it grow, as it always does, and then call him when it’s long enough to trim again for a proper, professional styling. I’ll be at the ready for him and others when they want to work on their marketing strategy and tactics.

Go for the pro.

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Staying At The Top Of Your Field

Staying at the top of your field of work means continual education. Education comes in many shapes and forms, some very easy to identify and some more ethereal.

Lisa leading her talk at SBDC, October 2014.

Lisa leading her talk at SBDC, October 2014.

Case in point: I went to a marketing workshop a few weeks back hosted by the Small Business Development Center, Medford OR. They’d brought in a national presenter who gave us an hour’s worth of Great Stuff.

Lisa Manyon, Write On Creative, shared her insights on Marketing Messages with Integrity and Messages That Matter. A few things I really appreciated about her talk were a positive can-do message and audience participatory style.

Much of long-lasting learning is hands on – at a minimum: brains on. In person, butts in seats, get up and move, talk, and in general participate. Your learning is your responsibility.

I’d invite you to look for specialists like Lisa. She’s competent, real, and helpful. Pros are always worth the attention and investment – note: Always interview your potential pros. A short (15 minute) exploratory meeting is the best first step after you’ve researched a bit and narrowed your choices.

 

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Saving Your Brand (And Your A**)

Real (recent) email conversation – Contact:

“Hi Ginger,

I have attended several of your seminars at CBC in past years, as well as your Marketing Beer to Women workshop last year in Denver.  I remember you commenting on the topic of lewd or crude beer names and imagery and marketing that use sophomoric or inappropriate humor.  I think the basic point was to stay away from this kind of marketing so as to not alienate potential customers.  It makes total sense to me.  
I am the only woman working in our small company (10 employees) that is co-owned by my husband. Generally my colleagues are reasonable, and while our branding leans toward an edgier, younger crowd, it hasn’t crossed the line into inappropriateness, until now.  My colleagues (including my husband and his partner, inexplicably) have come up with a name for a new beer that I find completely inappropriate and vulgar.  I have voiced my opinion about this, and have been outvoted thus far.  
I was wondering if you could point me towards any articles or other resources that would help me validate my points to the other 9 people in my company who insist on acting more like boys than men?  I think if I could come at them with some clear talking points, and link to some actual sources, that would help my case a great deal.  I am supposed to be creating signage for this beer to go on tap this weekend, so this is my last chance to stop this ship from sailing.  Thanks in advance for any help you can provide to steer me in the right direction.
And thanks for all that you do!  Cheers!”
WEB Reply:
“Good to hear from you! Hope life is good and you’re well.

Thanks for the email. How’s business?

Hmmmm…well, there are two things that enter my mind.
1. It’s always unfortunate that a “majority rule” gets instituted even when the majority opinion is off. Think slavery. Ideas are powerful and interesting things. I find it unfortunate, if it’s as you say, that females may end up being blatantly disrespected. Your brand  – like any – can ill afford to put forth an offensive label or name. I’d obviously have to see the materials to factor that in.
2. If you’re asking me for professional advice to assist the brand damage avoidance that may occur, that’s my product and hence a fee is involved. Like any label review or brand question, I can absolutely assist and contribute to your continued and increased success, as well as citing research of thousands of females across the country who in fact are the majority buyers in America. If a brand wants to piss off women and alienate them, they choose ill conceived names, labels and titles.
3. Lastly – on a sheer gut level: what females do the people (women & men) have in their lives they care about? Do they want them intentionally insulted and denigrated? If they say no to this question, how can they say yes to dubious labels? It’s completely hypocritical and tragic. The Great Brands have never resorted to these tactics because quality is genderless, gives full respect to all, and class, tact & diplomacy reign supreme.
This is obviously off the cuff, since I’ve no idea what the materials actually are and we aren’t in a work situation. While I’d love to help you more, please appreciate my vantage point.

Be in touch when you’d like to engage. I stand at the ready and will be curious to see what I hear from you.

Cheers & be well – “

Contact Response:
“Thank you Ginger!  I ended up writing a very well-researched email (at least I thought so!) to the team. I linked to a few of the articles that are on your website, and laid out some of the main points.  The points that I thought applied best to our situation were:

  1. It goes against our whole philosophy.  Our tagline is [socially inviting] and we’ve always described our brand and our establishment as a place where everyone is welcome.  An offensive beer name is alienating to multiple segments of our customer population.
  2. It’s unnecessary, and if our beer isn’t quality enough to stand on its own without a gimmicky shock value name, we’ve got bigger problems.
I told them, and I think they understand now, that I can take a joke and am not being uptight for the sake of being uptight.  This name goes too far, period.  I did also allude to your #3, by asking if they cared about their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters, and asking if they would feel comfortable having any of those women that are close to them order a beer by this name.  I think this was the one that really hit home.
I got emails back from almost everybody saying they hadn’t considered these points, were just reverting to this boyhood vulgarity because they thought it was funny, and hadn’t considered the wider implications.  Most also thanked me for opening their eyes and providing links to your site, and said they would be looking at issues such as this in a different light in the future.  So woohoo, small victory here I think!
Thank you again for responding. I really do think that your services would be useful to us, and I think some of the guys are starting to think so too.  So now on to my next quest – to convince them that we should actually engage your services!  It might be a bit down the road, but I will absolutely let you know as soon as we can swing it.  I have so much respect for all that you do – keep on doing it!
Thanks and Cheers,”
WEB Reply:
“Hello –
Thanks for the update.

I’d like to talk with you – what is your direct number please.”

This request to talk has gone unanswered, which is disconcerting. In light of what transpired, I’d be hard pressed to offer this advice again. The contact isn’t placing a real monetary value on the conversation – even though the advice they were asking for and which helped avoid a hugely expensive and stupid mistake.
Suffice it to say, I shouldn’t have helped. Yes, I’m compelled to do so. Though with the lack of return communication, clear no-value understanding, this person has blown it for others. If your brand – which is sometimes you whole life  – is worth the investment, then assume paying for professional advice is part of that investment.
I just saved their brand from serious damage. And they won’t even call me upon request. I don’t ask for free from others – don’t you ask for free either. Expect to pay professional specialist what they are worth.

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Making It Tough For Customers To Find You

Are you only on Facebook? Having a page can be valuable only if you already have a webpage first.

Are you only on Twitter? Instagram? Pinterest? All of these are the same as above. How the heck do you expect people to fully access the information about you, to patronize you if you don’t have a universally available website first….this is a rhetorical query.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Website. Hire a pro to help you create a professional, brand image reflection online. A simple landing page with contact information is sufficient to start AND you must have one. Name (first and last), direct phone number, direct email (info@ is really impersonal by the way), street address for any brick and mortar, and hours of operation.

2. Website. Hire a pro to create a simple website with the pages necessary to really communicate your core message, products and services, and provide necessary contact information.

3. Website. Hire a pro to develop a world-class website that will serve your customers and audiences for years to come. Knowing that sites are dynamic, factor in review and updates as well.

Does this look like the person trying to find your website??

Does this look like the person trying to find your website??

By the way – The argument of “I don’t have any money for a website” is a load of crap. If you have a vested interest in the success of yourself and endeavors, then you budget and allocate the money. This is a critical marketing piece, people. Marketing properly is not optional – it’s foundational.

By the way – Interview web developers first – never go on complete faith or recommendations. Get recommendations from qualified people first, then interview, then sleep on it and decide.

By the way – Hiring a pro to develop your site is one of the best investments you can make with your dollars. People are very wise to what “looks good” and what looks amateur on-line. You can’t afford to screw your online presence up with sub par work. And it’s extremely difficult to turn around a bad first impression if you have a shoddy site first then change to a professional site.

ONLY AFTER YOU HAVE A WEBSITE/PAGE:

1. Investigate other avenues. Websites are free and universally available TO EVERYONE. If you want to explode your audience potential, business revenue and returns and really run an operation right, get your website first.

2. Make sure the other avenues enhance and augment. I find it incredibly insulting, stupid and aggravating that organizations and companies will only have Facebook or other formats. Seriously, it repels me since I am not on Facebook (I stopped by happy choice). So now what they’ve done is eliminate my ability to communicate.

Did I mention hiring a pro? If you want it to look like an accomplished 8th grader or college sophomore did it, fine. Sit and wait for the damage to be done. If the 8th grader or sophomore is that talented and puts forth fully professional work, pay them. DO NOT barter or otherwise denigrate their abilities. Plus a transaction in a relationship sets a higher tone of expectations and business.

So – to all of you who have websites first: YES!! Keep them sharp, updated and current.

To all of you who only use a non-public membership sign-in format, I’ll take my business elsewhere. Why are you limiting your potential and alienating future customers?

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Driving Beer Marketing Home

The last time you were on a highway, street or other road, what did you notice? Did you see any vehicles with branding on them – signs to indicate a business or entity on the vehicle? What kinds of vehicles do you notice have any sort of branding?

Farmer friend, Jennie, Butcher Creek Farms, and Ginger before the Home Free Tour 2009

Farmer friend, Jennie, Butcher Creek Farms, and Ginger before the Home Free Tour 2009

When I first started Women Enjoying Beer, I immediately got magnetic brand signs – here’s a photo with the first set, shortly before setting out on our Home-Free Tour, 2009.

They traveling 15,000+ miles across the country with success, no loss or theft or magnets blowing off. We got countless thumbs ups, vehicles passing us and the passengers taking pictures of the logo, windows rolled down at stop signs and traffic lights and quick conversations. Suffice it to say: vehicle branding is one of thee most effective tools you can use and add to your brand development.

Here’s an article worth a read on Brand Development Models.

Once we landed, ironically enough, the first magnet went missing – I was torn: “Wow! Someone likes the logo enough to want it.” And “Stealing’s bad, no matter.” (So if you see any of 3 various large WEB logo magnets, grab it and return it – they were stolen and I would like them back).

Ironic because here we traveled allll across the country with no incident – including parking in urban San Diego overnights with no disappearance.

After the 3rd magnetic sticker was stolen I found the solution: Decals. A’shopping I went and with success! Lo and behold the professionally created and applied brand decals have been an excellent choice for WEB brand presence, opening conversations and brand development. There’s no doubt in my mind its been some of the very best dollars I’ve spent anywhere in the company, for any purpose.

Hard working car & logos - always on the job.

Hard working car & logos – always on the job.

Seeing is believing. Seeing is engaging. Seeing your brand image and logo will have a farther reach than you can surmise. While you may not know who exactly is seeing the images, you do know they are being seen. Usually to happily unexpected people who are in fact curious and will engage with you and your brand.

Here are a few tips I want to share to increase the decal impact:

1. When driving on freeways and highways, don’t speed. Drive a reasonable pace and let traffic pass you if it’s multi lane. People will pass, they’ll slow to get a picture and give a smile. You want people reading the images so a slightly slower speed will give them the chance to do so.

2. Drive smart and carefully. You’re a brand rep now, not some anonymous driver. If you use courtesy in a branded vehicle, it’s noted and an indirect positive impression of the brand. If you cut people off and don’t use your blinkers, your brand suffers blows due to your carelessness.

3. Logos makes vehicles more notable. Said another way, I’m very aware the words “Women Enjoying Beer” are on my vehicles, prominently displayed and that all varieties of police and other paramilitary folk see it and may be curious or suspicious of what’s inside. Giving beer a good name by driving carefully is a subliminal message we can communicate.

4. Be SURE to put a decal on your rear end. When people are stopped in traffic, parking and driving, they generally see the rear of the vehicle first. Prime real estate for a brand message! I quickly lost count of how many people I see in my rear view mirror who point or take a picture of the decal I’ve got on my trunk. Yes, use the sides – and know that static traffic can’t and doesn’t read your signage right then and there.

5. I’ve got brand stickers on my bicycle too – use every mode as opportunity. My bike ONLY has my logo, so there’s not a clutter the looker has to wade through to see what I want them to see.

Have fun developing your brand. When you’re ready to hire a marketing specialist for ideas like these to increase your sales and develop creative ways to communicate your brand and message, call us.

A little strategy coupled with fun equals success. Drive on.

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What Needs To Change With Women’s Beer Group Names

This article is still very true.

And it makes me wonder when women and going to stop perpetuating and creating “clever” monikers for females beer affinity groups. Bad names do way more damage than they do good. Here’s some I’d strike from the list:

  • Pink Boots Society
  • Girls Pints Out
  • Pussy Cat Beer Guild
  • BABES

All of these are – perhaps well intended – and have intentionally chosen names for the groups that will only continue to hold women back. Education can’t be packed in a sexist wrapper and called good.

It’s absolutely mind-blowing when you consider they were created by women. What the heck do the men then think – “If she calls herself a girl/chick/babe/broad, then why can’t I?” And they’d be right. Double standards in public are a poor and stupid choice.

Cheers to smart women who are helping create progress - Ginger (c) with Krissy (l) and Rocky (r) of Snake River Brewing, Jackson WY - where they recently hosted a women + beer event

Cheers to smart women who are helping create progress – Ginger (c) with Krissy (l) and Rocky (r) of Snake River Brewing, Jackson WY – where they recently hosted a women + beer event

Correction of ills, overcoming everything from the female/male wage gap to prostitution, are all part of gender equity it’s a big picture issue. It’s global, local and everywhere we can and can’t possibly think of. It’s up to women mostly to stand up and say. Men, you need to speak up as well.

There is no room in my mind for any of these names to be related to beer. So let’s bring beer into the picture.

If beer’s been modernly perceived as a male drink of choice, and women want to get into it – great! They must do it with full respect to themselves. Cheekiness or being coy or clever with words isn’t helpful – again, it’s damaging and negates and reverses progress. Women are smarter than that. The days of going to university or college for women to find husbands should be dead. This behavior and thinking will never deliver full equity. Don’t be lazy and let this mindset persuade you into thinking it’s okay. It’s not okay.

A cheesecake type calendar is circulating in the beer world of females who work at breweries in seductive poses. Women, this isn’t helpful or cute or even good. It’s simply perpetuating that you are the sum of your boobs and legs, smiles and eyes. Be the sum of your brain cells and backbone, your fortitude and intelligence.

The kicker for me is that the women voluntarily featured in the calendar I know to be otherwise smart women. What broke down? Where was the idea that “this is cool!” when all it does is further objectify them instead. Missteps and selective ignorance and blinders to what’s right, especially intentional ones, need to become extinct where women and beer are concerned.

If we can change the way people think about two universal planetary things (Women + Beer) we can indeed change the world for the better. I’ve seen it. It’s possible and I’m going to stay at it.

Here’s the good news: It’s easy to encourage and make change happen. Stand up, speak up, be vigilant. Women and men everywhere are responsible for making equity and equality happen.

Here are some groups who do it right:

  • Ales 4 FemAles
  • Crafty Ladies
  • Fermenta
  • Women Enjoying Beer

They’re highlighting education to a population that has not been focused on or considered to enjoy beer. They’ve chosen names and titles which build up respect for women learning about beer, not breaking it down. It’s about education first to a powerful population they recognize are curious, deserve full respect, do a majority of buying in the USA and are fun to have around.

Are you part of the solution or problem?

FYI – If you read this and want to take issue, you better be prepared to tell me how these groups and titles truly encourage equality and equity. No ranting from a lopsided perspective allowed (no, I’m not being hypocritical).

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Marketing Beer To Women

This afternoon found 26 guests, 9 hosts and myself at our Marketing Beer To Women workshop. We’re holding them pre-CBC and pre-GABF to really deliver useful insight on how to successfully market to the most influential population on the planet: Females.

These workshops are free with a refundable deposit required to hold required reservations – making sure we’re both vested in the event. The first time we held it we had all 40 show; today 25 of 26 were present and listening.

Here’s the deal in marketing to women:

1. Females make up the majority of the human population.

2. Marketing is communicating. You better know how to communicate with all the target markets you wish to engage.

3. It’s about opportunity – not gender.

WEB was launched 6 years ago. I looked around and wondered “why aren’t more women enjoying beer?” That seemingly humble question has propelled and motivated us to delve into that question and the myriad replies and insights women want to share.

Black Shirt Brewing taproom

Black Shirt Brewing taproom

In 2012 we offered a voluntary Women + Beer Survey – over 240 women all across the North American continent replied with heartfelt and specific input. I could tell they were felling *finally!!* some one is asking me what I think about beer. The flood of input was encouraging, fascinating, incredible, and useful. (here’s a link to the original post)

Marketing beer is about knowing your audience and clientele, as is marketing for all goods and services, organizations and associations. Know your market. Pursue it correctly. Have fun and be successful. In that order. The workshop today covered a lot of ground, based in our qualitative research an don specific Women + Beer survey reports.

  • Thank you to The Neenan Company for their First Pint sponsorship – all attendees were treated to a fresh beer at the workshop.
  • Thank you to Black Shirt Brewing for being our host location. Carissa, Chad, Mary, Casey and crew were on top of things, have a clean brewhouse and taproom and it was a conducive space for education.

Call on WEB when you’re ready to skyrocket your success in marketing to women. We’ll come to you, educate, enlighten, assist your internal and external growth. After all, we’re about Bringing Beer To Life.

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Keys To Successful Brand Message

Successful brand message = reach + frequency

Reach of brand is the “where”:

  • Where can I find X beer
  • Where do I locate Y service
  • Whom do I call to find what I need

These are all considerations of the consumer. The female consumer looking to participate in beer wants and needs these answers.

Where in the world is your brand message? How often is it seen?

Where in the world is your brand message? How often is it seen?

Frequency of message involves:

  • Regularity or irregularity of communication
  • Method of communication
  • How often the message is delivered and to whom

Anyone can open a business. It’s developing a solid plan and continual evaluation and evolution that makes a brand great. Like Good to Great, there are many reasons entities succeed and many why they die.

If you want to be good, go ahead. If you want to be great, tune into brand message. These tips can help you get going in the right direction for success.

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Marketing Tools: Essential, Optional, Insights

Marketing: noun \ˈmär-kə-tiŋ\

: the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc. (courtesy Mirriam-Webster)

Here’s a beginning list of essential marketing tools.

1. Business cards. These are strong silent sales people and traffic directors. When you have a well designed, easy to read and information savvy card, you’re putting forth an excellent impression of your brand. Include: First & last name of person, direct phone number with area code, direct email and website. If you’re a brick and mortar, you must include legible full street address with zip code. Not including information makes your customers work harder to find you – make it easy.

2. Website. It’s critical to have a webpage, if not a multi-page website. In today’s world, it’s not optional to have one – you must. It’s where the world goes for information. It needs to properly communicate what you do, who you are and what you offer. Bringing you to market is what the site is doing – the market is global and the first impression is tantamount to success.

3. Vehicle graphics. If you drive a vehicle and the business would be well represented on a moving marketing tool, do it. Professionally created and applied decals – even magnets – can be excellent marketing tools. WEB routinely gets stopped at rest stops, pictures are snapped by passing vehicles on the passenger side, and the questions are steady and constant when we are parked, parking or anywhere close to the vehicles we drive. Incredible return on investment here.

Where's your marketing showing up?

Where’s your marketing showing up?

Worth considering though not necessarily necessary.

1. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…etc. Choose the best tools for you by researching which tools do what, how they fit with your mission and then engage. Or not. The key is to choose what works for you.

2. Phone book listing. Take a hard look at what the modern phone book and directories are used for and who uses them. If they still fit the mission and sales goals of your entity, by all means. If they don’t, don’t.

3. Program listings. How many times do you get solicited to “take advantage of this incredible opportunity” to be in someone’s program? Think about these hard before deciding: sometimes it’s a feel-good donation type marketing piece, sometimes it’s not a fit so graciously pass. Don’t fall for the “exposure” line – exposure gives you frost bite or sunburn, but not necessarily business.

A few tips and pointers.

1. Solicitations. If solicited, as the solicitor how much they know about your business or organization. If they’ve done even cursory homework, then they merit attention. Those who want something from you and haven’t done a lick of investigation – don’t bother. If they want something from you they should take the time to look into the fit. Sales of every kind means matching two pieces of the pie together, knowledgeably.

2. Sleep on every offer. You should be able to think and consider every offer, if you wish, at least a day. High pressure is great for a fire hose, it’s not good for decision-making. If the solicitor says they “must know right now!”, pass. You both need to think about things in advance.

3. Advance protocol. Institute a 30 day in advance request period (or 60 day or 4 month….whatever suits you). All requests can be directed to a streamlined and appropriate process if well designed and communication is strong. Making people think ahead is a strong attractant for the ‘right’ people, and a good deterrent for the ones who don’t have their act together.

Be fearless in changing directions too. WEB recently discontinued Facebook as it wasn’t the fit to drive the brand forward to the clients we’re interested in serving. We use twitter with much success as it fits better with our goals and strategy.  It’s a relief of time and undue pressure to not use something that was not as useful as we wanted it to be for our purposes.

Marketing is bringing you and your company to market. It’s about impression, communication, and tools. Consider, research, and use the tools that fit your mission and vision, strategy and tactics. Doing so is smart marketing.

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How Funny Is Your Beer? AKA Beer And Good Humor

I want to talk about humor in your brand today.

Most people enjoy a pleasant experience. Beer has an inherently pleasant aspect to it, from the community around it to the celebrations that happen with it to the deliciousness our bodies enjoy. Fun is good and fun is appropriate with beer.

Humor used effectively and with respect towards all is an excellent element in marketing beer. In our research over the last 5.5+ years women have solidly stated that appropriate humor is attractive when they are making their buying and consuming choices as well. Here’s where it can get sticky – or not.

What precisely is good humor? What’s appropriate, to whom, and when? While there’s a subjectivity to humor there’s also a lot of (un)common sense that should guide us. Ask these questions of the brand to see if they pass:

1. Is there any sexism in the humor? If there is, in any direction, it’s inappropriate.

2. Is there any ageism or racism or any other -ism that degrades any population in the humor? If so, it’s inappropriate.

3. Can a three-year old see it, can a pre-teenager read it and can my grandparent read it and also think it’s funny or do they miss the humor all together?

Respect = Good Humor.

Respect = Good Humor.

Appropriate adult humor does not invite disrespect or insulting any population. This is the time to hire a pro outside the company to review ideas. I know since we’ve been invited to engage with clients who want a fresh eye to help the brand grow, not put off a potential customer or 10. Like Eugene Simor, President of Alamo Brewing:

“Thank you so much.  You pointed out much that I missed myself.  Very valuable info.” – per reviewing potential new label changes.

You can be clever and funny in a thoughtful manner. That’s what makes Carol Burnett and Bill Cosby and Ellen DeGeneres so funny – they humor us with reality and honestly funny stuff; never needing to denigrate or bring anyone down.

And here’s the kicker: Beer should be elevated, not brought down by people on beer companies that find toilet or racy humor suitable for their companies. If they’d ask themselves: Do I have a female in my life I care about? The answer would undoubtedly be yes – so relate those ties that bind and execute humor that respects those loved ones as much as it should respect your beer.

That’s where humor in beer is appropriate. Use it wisely and most likely you’ll get good feedback and consumer engagement.

2 comments

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Features and Benefits of Beer

  • Feature: an interesting or important part, quality, ability, etc.
  • Benefit: a good or helpful result or effect

Now that those two are clearly defined, what are the features and benefits of your beer? What are the features of the brand that differentiates You from Them? What are the benefits of choosing Your Beer over Their Beer?

Here’s some insight:

Female beer buyers and consumers all want 3 things in their relationship with beer: a social component, an educational facet and a value proposition. All three of these fit the specific person and situation, every time, sometimes varying widely from another time. They are ever-changing so if you’re a beer business you must be aware of this fact.

Features & Benefits of beer: talking about them with customers is key.

Features & Benefits of beer: talking about them with customers is key.

Another thing to note is that consistency of positive experience will bring women in and keep them there. Consumers move around – they like to try, go and do whatever it is that catches their eyes and tastebuds.

By extolling the virtues in the form of brand features and benefits you will give them a reason to come to your brand, and hopefully, reasons to stay.

Women want the positive too, by the way. Don’t denigrate another brand to build yours up. That’s political BS and no one really likes perpetual negativity. Plus if your brand can’t stand on the quality platform alone, then it has no business being in the beer business to begin with. What women do like is quality, a flavor that appeals to them and a good interaction.

Invest your time outlining, honestly not myopically, features and benefits of your brand, how to utilize them for success internally then externally, and keep moving forward.

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Be In It For Good

  • Remain connected to the experience and flavors
  • Be generous hosts – make everything feel easy
  • Who are you, what do you want, what do you want to say

The above thoughts all came from a friend and colleague whom I much admire, like and respect; Fred Bueltmann, New Holland Brewing & widely known as the Beervangelist.

Fred’s words often resonate with me as I believe the philosophy of what he is communicating is not prevalent enough in the industry. I’ll expound.

1. Remaining connected to the experience is where the consumer starts. The consumer wants to connect with your beer and brand. The industry professionals already involved need to constantly and emotionally remember this every day. The customer is who you are making the beer for. Yes, you have to love it yourself to really do it justice. That said, you can’t drink it all yourselves so keep one eye on the customer, always.

Be in it for good.

Be in it for good.

2. Remain connected to the flavors. I am a huge proponent of flavor, not style. Consumers 1. Don’t necessarily know about style 2. Consumers don’t necessarily care about style if they do, 3. Flavor is where the conversation needs to start with everyone, no matter their experience. Flavor is a common ground topic. Every one tastes and explores flavors. Start with this common denominator to make steady constant progress.

3. Be a generous host. Do all of your guests feel welcome to the brand? Do they buy your products on sale or off sale or both? What does the environment in which they purchase your beer look like? What do the labels look like? Who do they speak to? Who do they repel? Being generous implies a cognizance and awareness of Who The Customer Is. Many times the “who” is she.

4. Make everything feels easy for the customer, including buying your product and consistent taste of beer. Attention to quality is key here. Successful businesses, otherwise known as brands, build their worlds on consistency. Something the consumer can count on, to return to over and over again, for the experience they are looking for. How specifically consistent? That’s up to the company and what they want to be consistent. I can guarantee if you have a flagship beer (or more) they must be the same, every time to the consumer.

5. Who are you? Who you are is part of the story. The story is what the consumer, especially the female buyer and consumer, want to know and embrace. The story makes a brand.

6. What do you want? Knowing what your goals are, aka what do you want, is critical in every endeavor from playing musical chairs (I want to be around til the last chair) to businesses (I want to deliver a delicious high quality product every time).

7. What do you want to say? Communication is addressing your story and message forward, it’s called marketing – bringing your product to market. It’s a good word and a principle concept in building and sustaining a solid beer company.

Your female customers deserve no less. You deserve no less. Be in it for good.

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What Makes Your Customers Happy?

Do you know this answer? If you do – how many replies are there? How many customers did you ask? Did you only ask existing customer? Did you ask potential customers?

Do this exercise to get invaluable and high value insight you can use:

1. Ask current customers, one person and one questions at a time, what makes them happy in relation to your brand and business. Listen, record, thank, move on.

Ask your customers questions. Listen, thank, reflect, use, move on.

Ask your customers questions. Listen, thank, reflect, use, move on.

2. Ask former customers what made them happy about your brand and why they haven’t been around to it lately. Listen, record, thank. Asking them what it would take to get them to return (or return more often) as appropriate will yield constructive insight.

3. Never argue, only listen. This is not the time for a debate or even a discussion. Respect their time and move on.

4. When you get insight that makes you happily cheer, congrats! There’s clearly a fit of What You’re Doing + What They Want.

5. When you get insight that makes you wonder, congrats! This means the customer is giving you open and honest feedback (you asked after all). Thank them sincerely and then examine the insight to see how, what, when it all fits together.

6. All consumer input is valid if asked for an opinion and they responded.

7. Never assume you know what they’ll say. That’s precisely the reason you’re asking. You’re too close to your brand to be objective. You must ask your patrons.

Most consumer insight has applicability. It’s up to you and your team to revisit your mission and vision and see how the input fits and can be used. Hire a pro to interpret the input, as all data needs interpretation to properly utilize it. From stats to opinions – yes, interpretation is necessary.

Why did you start your business? Why do you work where and with whomever you do? Stay in tune with those original drivers, stay in tune with your customers.

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7 Ways to (Soft) Market When You Travel By Air

As a Marketing pro who enjoys a regular amount of air travel, I find the opportunities to gently promote my business are plentiful.

How do you do that subtly, softly and appropriately? Take a look at 7 tips to encourage engagement.

1. Wear appropriately branded clothing with an obvious logo. People read whatever is printed and embroidered on other peoples’ clothes. Give them something attractive and thought-provoking to ask about. If you’re riding Business Class or First Class make sure it matches the setting – a tee with a casual screen print may or may not generate a conversation. A pressed button up in an unexpected color, like soft orange or purple, will capture imagination and provoke a comment.

2. Have your business cards handy. I plan my travel clothes with this in mind, whether I’m traveling during deep winter with coats or hot summer with lightweight gear. Your business card is your sales person – never be without them.

3. Smile a lot. Relax your face and let a natural “I’m friendly” look be your uniform. People like other happy people and during travel, which can be stressful, a smile may be a relief from the frowns and angst many experience.

4. If you have some small, clever, and appropriate promotional products, have them handy too. The classic pencil is one of my items of choice. They universally recognized, carry my website and brand name, and are easily transportable. Plus if someone leaves it behind after you give it to them, it quietly continues promoting your brand.

Converse, engage, have fun, build business

Converse, engage, have fun, build business

5. Choose conversation over silence. Business happens when you talk with other people. Have a few fun and safe positive opening questions and comments like, “Great travel bag/sack/backpack/laptop case – tell me where you got it,” or “Where are your travels taking you today?” Try to keep it positive. Misery loves company yet negativity is a real turn off and red flag for potential business relationships.

6. Use Please and Thank You a lot. Good manners are always in style and politeness, especially in the face of stress, goes a reallllly long way for everyone you’re around. Other travel customers as well as the hard-working folks from the airline and ground crews. Give them a reason to smile, not a cause to grouse.

7. Board later in the process. If you’re wearing a nice branded shirt or jacket, and the logo is on the front, walking down the airplane aisle with your brand in full view will garner looks and comments. It works for me regularly, which I plan on, and am quick to hand out a card and pencil to the smiling person making the comment.

Lastly, bring a hard copy book on board that you’d love to talk to someone else about. A classic like Marti Barletta’s Marketing To Women, a current hot topic book, or other reading material will tell people you’re educated. And you can’t read the cover of an e-reader…. Business people like to engage with others who are well read. The adage Readers Are Leaders is still very true.

Enjoy your travel, gear up for planned unexpected connections and have fun.

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