These are key educational points. When you offer education for women focused on these characteristics of beer, then you’re successful.
It’s really that simple.
KPAM radio in Portland Oregon called me yesterday to be part of the show because they were discussing “women’s beers”. There’s been some coverage lately of companies doing campaigns with products they think are geared towards women. Beer ‘made’ for them.
While I’d agree with Kristy on this point: “Women are an essential part of future growth for the beer industry and can no longer be ignored.” I’d totally disagree on this one: “We need to repair the reputation of beer among women by launching products that meet their needs.” [Caveat: this is all in the UK.]
Needs? Really – what are womens’ needs for beer? How about this: Fresh, quality, variety.
WEB can tell the American brewers: DON’T DO THIS!!!
Making quality beer is the right thing to do. American brewers: keep brewing what you’re brewing.
The problem that almost all beer professionals still have is that they don’t see that focused female education is the answer to getting women into beer.
It most certainly isn’t making a special batch of something. Start by asking them what flavor they like (then matching what beers are available), then talk to them about why they drink beer AND why they don’t drink beer. Therein lies the answer.
Psychographics will give you all the answers you need to help properly market beer to women.
It incenses and insults women when you pander to them by making a beer especially for them. Seriously, this is not the point at all. In fact if you think this, you’re so far off that you may as well close shop.
You’ve got to know the market your pursuing before you try to sell any product, good, or service. Read Marti Barletta’s book Marketing to Women. It’ll give you all the ammo you need to ‘get it’. Then when you’re ready to hone in on marketing craft/beer to women, call me.
Think about the converse: there isn’t a “man’s beer” being marketed just to men. That’d be ridiculous. To know what people want is important, yes. First you have to find out why they do (and don’t do).
If you’re not understanding this, you’ve got a huge problem.
FYI: I’ve posted on Molson-Coors before. Every time I do Kristy chimes in. They’ve yet to invite WEB to help them in this arena.
Feel like Sailing though summer? You can do so with Full Sail Beer – it was the brewery we featured at our meet up last Thursday night at one of our favorite hosts, 4 Daughters Irish Pub in Medford OR.
In honor of Oregon Craft Beer Month, we chose Full Sail for a number of reasons: We know some of the great people that make the beer, it’s very high quality beer (made in a nice clean environment), and they brew really tasty beer.
*This beer is a terrific one for educational purposes. It’s the perfect anti-beer racism beer. It was also the favorite course of the night.
Do you notice gender of people in pictures? If you are interested in what consumers think at all, you better be.
Here’s an example. What do you notice? What do you notice is missing?
If you said Women for the component, you’d be right. If you missed it, start looking at and changing the images you use to market your goods and services.
I guarantee you women are noticing.
A very good male friend of mine is getting more and more astute about noticing and then mentioning it to me too; when he sees women or doesn’t see women in beer marketing. Progress.
He’s always been open minded and enlightened (even in my bias) AND he’s noticing it more and more and also realizing how much it matters. To show all genders involved in the beer community is good for the consumer (inclusivity), your business (awareness which leads to more business) and beer gender equality.
Expect to see more women engaged in beer when you include them respectfully and regularly as the average consumer in the images you choose to use in marketing.
Don’t expect women to engage if they don’t see themselves in the images you are projecting. Why should they involve themselves and support your brand if you (as the company) don’t seem to think enough of them to include them.
There are other industries and competition for their dollars eager to appropriately include them in their marketing efforts. And that’s where they’ll go and keep going as long as you exclude them, however intentionally or unintentionally.
p.s. any sexist or otherwise disrespectful female images set your backwards.
Read closely. It’s the same answer as any beer enthusiast should give. The favorite is the one in front of them.
WEB gets regular contacts from students in college and grad school, doing projects or papers on beer and women. Some are marketing students, some are in other disciplines. All are curious for free information. Another one rang this week (always happy to get phone calls by the way).
Here’s the deal: Women like beer. Are you getting that?
If you’re any kind of beer business you better start doing something about it now. Some of the coming changes in the world are for the worse and now is absolutely the time to be earning female beer market share with a solid marketing plan; not after the schmidt hits the flan.
Why market beer differently to women? Because (and watch the sarcasm here) they’re different than men consumers. You don’t market tampons to men and you don’t try to sell elder care to teenagers.
Identify who your market target is, do some research on their beer and buying habits (this is critical) and then start developing a plan. Put a time value on plan development and then start.
All effective plans need maintenance and revisitation. Work that into the plan so you can nimbly adjust as need be. I guarantee there will be surprises, good and not so hot.
What kind of beer women likes depends on everything. Find out what those ‘everythings’ are.
How many times we’ve heard the myth perpetuated: “I don’t like dark beers.” “I don’t like light beers.” “I don’t like beer.” And so on….have you heard any of these?
These are all easily changeable statements WHEN you find out why the brain attached to the mouth that is offering this nugget is stating it. The psychographics – The Why – of peoples’ reasoning puts the value in finding out what consumers like and don’t like. Unless you know The Why, all other data is benign.
Since marketing craft/beer to women is our speciality, we’ll expound on a few of the actual meanings behind these curt and abrupt sentences.
1.“I don’t like dark beers.” Color in beer comes from the ingredients. Somewhere along the way people have built this really strong and inaccurate bridge to the the 2 thoughts that dark has to mean ‘heavy’ (another most unfavored descriptor). Dark simply means it has a dark color. That’s it. If you’re in the beer business you MUST help shatter this myth of dark color = heavy experience. When women say this they may mean they have not liked the darker colored beers they’ve had before (for myriad reasons), they may be uncomfortable in drinking another dark colored beer because they had one (!) before and didn’t like it (again, for multiple reasons), or they are a beer racist which can have a few points of origin.
2. “I don’t like light beers.” Again, the correlation to what light means is the staring point for helping educate women and beer color. Do they mean light flavor? Light color? Light body? Education is the key to soundly shattering these color racism myths. Take every single opportunity to talk about what ‘light’ can mean with women and men in relation to their beers. Because it’s almost a crime in some beer snob circles to be caught drinking a light colored beer under the assumption that they are wimpy, inferior or otherwise “not craft”(which is a load of compost), some enthusiasts are not going to order them. This is the wrong kind of peer pressure to apply to beer enthusiasm. Like what you like and don’t judge others. This comment can come from a woman who simply does not like the flavor of the light colored beers she’s had, perhaps has drank a skunked beer in some setting that happened to look like other light colored beers available, or have other emotional experiences that conjure up the ‘no thanks’ reaction.
3. “I don’t like beer.” This is perhaps my favorite response to women whom I listen to and talk with. There’s the lean in – they get just a smidge closer and lower their voice slightly and utter this phrase like it’s a confession. I smile and ask them why, what kinds of beers they’ve had, and we take the conversation from there. This response almost always comes from a few consistent reasonings. They have a bad beer memory (self induced or otherwise), they are allergic, they have alcoholism in the family and stay away from all alcohols, or they simply have not had a beer they have enjoyed. Here again, once you know The Why you can engage in a conversation about beer. And they don’t even have to drink it to enjoy it.
All of these are great entrees into beer conversations. Whether women like/drink/hate beer or not, there is a fascination that cannot be denied and must be talked about.
We’ll keep talking with women, finding out The Why and offering educational moments of enlightenment. The story could start “it was a dark and light bodied beer…”
What are you doing to fight beer racism?
July 4th in American is a huge beer holiday. Lovely!
Now that the holiday is past, what are your continued plans for brand engagement by women? What are you doing post holiday buzz? Pack the Red, White and Blue decorations for another year (although a well placed and lit flag year rounds is terrific).
It’s easy for everyone to cash in on the surge of a major holiday for sales and attracting customers. Ask yourself now:
No resting on any laurels, however big the pile.
Knowing what you’re doing long term post holiday is what makes your brand tick. And what can set you ahead of the pack for courting long term female market development. Get on it and stay on it.
If you’re in the beer business, particularly as a brewery, you may wonder why:
1. With the tremendous demand that the smaller brewers of this country have created, why you should be looking at developing new market share in women.
2. Women as market share matter for your future.
1. You need to plan now to develop the female market share. Think of it this way: Yes, you’re up to over your eyeballs busy just trying to keep up with demand you’ve created for yourself. At the same time, do you save for college when the child is a junior or senior in high school? Thinking ahead is the answer.
2. It’s a fact that females make 80% of purchasing decisions, across category lines. Why wouldn’t you be thinking about how women impact your brand and success? They already do so you need to be paying attention to it.
1. Women driving next to our red car with the Women Enjoying Beer decals regularly honk and give a big thumbs up/heck yea!/big smile or otherwise “yes-I-love-beer” feedback. Men too.
2. Women at my bank, in the grocery store, at the post office and farmers market are compelled to comment their support. My banker all but tackled me today with her enthusiasm over a new beer she’d discovered.
3. Women all over the online community regularly send us emails with comments, questions, and different requests.
4. My husband will get #1 & #2 above when he has the car or some other signal that he’s involved with the idea.
5. Kate has had one of the magnets stolen off her car when running errands. Stealing isn’t cool. The fact that someone wants our logo with them is not all bad (they can buy one from us though).
6. More and more curious industry people are contacting us with questions and comments.
7. Festivals find our table/booth mashed full of interested women and men wanting to know more, media like to take pictures with our logo/us (perhaps still a curiosity beyond being ‘just another vendor’…?).
8. I’ll get cornered out and about on what I “do” and then get peppered with lively questions and invariably an email address to be kept up to date.
All of these add up to one thing: Women + Beer = Good.
What signs to you see that the 50+% of the population is engaging in beer? Look around, pay attention, listen, learn, ask, talk, act.
Like the song says, “Signs, signs, everywhere signs…”
If you know even one of these, great. 2 or more – super. 3+ – well, you are truly paying attention and on the right track in serving the customer. Can you do better? Of course – we all can improve. It’s a moving target after all and it’s a target we definitely need to chase even though we know it’s dynamic and not static.
Part of WEB’s research in our focus groups is to talk about communication. Communication from them to you, you to them and all the facets therein. Frequency, method, topics, and so on. This is important stuff to know because it directly affects what investments you should be making and making accurately in your marketing efforts.
Know this: Marketing your products are not an extraneous or secondary budget item. Marketing is critical to your success. Marketing to women should be at the top of that list since they make 80% of all purchases.
It’s important because:
We have answers that can help you. Get in touch to find out the how/when/why of women + communication with your brand.
p.s. Resource du jour
Professional Beer Community Members:
When will be the right time for you to think about women as a market share, as the ones who make 80% of purchasing decisions and are the majority global population?
When you started your company did you wonder where you’d grow, who would support you, and how you were going to get there?
I am constantly mystified by the lack of professional beer community members’ inaction to engage women as a full fledged market segment. Are you “so busy” that you don’t want to make time to think about the future? You’re already buying commodities and products years in advance (e.g. hops, equipment) to fuel your breweries and business down the road. Who’s going to buy all that beer?
Saying you’re too busy is an excuse. We all have the same 24/7/365. And we know what it’s like to wish for 35/8/400 just like you do. So do all the women out there you’re not yet paying full attention to. All market segments start small first.
YOU MUST THINK ABOUT WOMEN NOW.
As consumers, as supporters of your brand, as your survival – and of the survival of the entire industry. Heck, how about as integral family members that support the brewers directly? Don’t they deserve attention and action?
If you are stuck on the idea that only men, the current already 70+% of the male population, that is already engaged, is going to fully support the industry, think again.
With the mercurial growth of the craft beer community AND the enormous not-slowing-down global population, you’re going to have to see the light sooner than later if you want to survive.
Here’s a familiar story:
“I wanted to respond to your request [WEB had been asked to consider it previously, it wasn’t a cold call] and let you know that while we think your insight would be helpful for our members, as the newest XXX group/chapter/organization/arm, still trying to get a little breathing room in the treasury, we cannot afford the requested terms at this time. I have seen some of your work on the BA forum and New Brewer, and hope we can make it work down the road.”
While it’s ‘nice’ to know we’re getting noticed, what’s not happening is people really truly seeing the short sightedness of not taking action now. Did you have the money to open your brewery without taking a loan or money from supporters? You borrowed on your future. “Helpful”? How about critical. “Hope” is empty. Action speaks. And women are listening – although they’ve little to tune into right now.
The Craft/Beer Community (all supporters there-in too) would be wise to echo their roots: Look past the next few years of simply trying to meet demand (of which you’ve created and apparently wanted…). You didn’t start or get into your business to only think about the next week, month, or few years, did you? Well, did you??
Like Hugh Sisson told me at the CBC last year, why aren’t more people taking advantage of finding out what they can do per marketing beer to women?? Great question, Hugh.
Now’s the time, actually yesterday was even better, for all professional brewing community members to be seriously interested in what’s going to happen 5 years from now when you haven’t fully pursued marketing your beer to women.
The craft beer brands will be even more saturated with choice and you’ll start cannibalizing each other with existing buyers.
You should be frustrated that not more than the paltry high 20 something % of women are enjoying your beers. Would getting only 25% of your grain order be satisfactory to you? Or only selling an average of 27% of your beer that’s ready to go?
Regardless of what your brand looks like and appeals to now, liken it to equipment maintenance. You know you need to get the filters changed and certain things checked by professionals periodically, yes? The same follows here. Securing the right expertise to ensure you’re headed in the right direction with relevant, timely and current information is as critical as getting your grain on time.
Does this sound like a rant? Maybe. Just know WEB is the voice of hundreds and thousands of women all across the country who want to engage in your beers. It’s the voice you need to listen to now.
It’s frustrating to be sitting on explosively useful information that can fuel your long term success and yet no one is interested in it.
There are some enlightened souls throughout the industry (too few) who grasp and understand how important this is: marketing craft beer to women properly. It’s frustrating to be at the voice for a very large group whom your (you, not me) business depends on and have that voice be all but (still) ignored. Women are speaking up to WEB because they want to be heard, they have something to say, they want you to listen…and….it’s not happening.
The time to start saving for retirement isn’t when you’re close to retiring. It’s decades before. Your investment needs to start now.
What are you waiting for?
Women Enjoying Beer has two Marketing Craft Beer To Women (MCB2W) workshops coming up this summer.
If neither one of those is in the cards, look for more soon. Please call us at 515.450.7757 and request one in your area. Women are global, beer is global, women + beer is, well, you get the idea.
WEB is available worldwide and we’re ready to collaborate with you to make it work.
What annoys you, perturbs you, irritates you or otherwise bothers you? Are they everyday things or things that you notice and when you do – every time – you think ‘why doesn’t someone else notice this/fix this/I need to fix this‘?
How often does this happen at restaurants and bars? You notice how you always get the table that wobbles (or maybe they all do) and you think – why hasn’t the manager/owner/proprietor done something to fix this?
How about: do they even know it’s an issue? Do they visit the tables to check on you where you can have face to face interaction and share this info – or do they seem to care and/or do they even really want to know your feedback. How many empty “We Care/Want To Know What You Think” slips of paper have you filled out in your life to no avail?
So when you notice these things, it’s time for you to realize this is the exact same concept for marketing beer to women. It’s the things they notice, over and over and over again because they matter to them.
For example, do you have purse hooks under the bar top, in the bathroom and in others places where they’d be convenient for women? They can double as coat hooks and umbrella hooks too.
What about how chilly or warm the bathrooms may be? For women the temperature of the bathroom is important. I can think of two places immediately that I used to patronize whose bathrooms were like braving Antarctica. Good grief!! Pay attention and set it straight (and it’s so recklessly wasteful – which is another sent message).
Or how about the retail choices. Do you only have men’s shirts – if so do you only want to sell to men? Or worse yet Unisex. What is “Unisex”?? Women make 80% of all purchasing decisions and over 50% of the global population. If you’re a man, let me ask you: Do you shop in the women’s section at the store? Of course not. Then why do you expect the women you care about to shop in the men’s section? And don’t tell me because women still buy the shirts anyway. You’d eat rotten food on a deserted island too if it was your only choice.
Small detail? Absolutely not. Here’s the deal: They do have choices. And to make your stand up and out front you must notice and make changes to welcome them in.
These thing matter. Start paying attention and making corrections, you’ll see rewards pile up.
A purse hook takes 3 minutes to install correctly. Isn’t 3 minutes worth the investment for a happier customer?
Mmmmm…I’m still licking my chops from last nights beer & gelato pairing event. Since Women Enjoying Beer is in the business is education (consumers and professionals), we love to mix things up – actually tun them completely inside out – and shine light on possibilities.
Last night we featured a flight of 4 beers partnered with four fresh locally made gelatos. And what a lovely thing it was!
In talking to the attendees last night, one thing we found most curious is that almost everyone had no idea how the two would mingle and go together. A few had experienced a stout float, which is a good step into this. At the same time, most of the women we’re telling us, “I’m not sure what to expect tonight.” PERFECT!
Education happens when curiosity engages and the mind is open. Even several of our veteran attendees who come repeatedly were amazed at the combinations and the thinking surrounding a frozen dessert type food with beer.
All the gelato was from Mamma Mia Gelateria.
Here’s the menu we featured:
Geoff Schaffer, the manager of the coffee house (host) is an accomplished home brewer and culinary school grad and fun foodie. Whenever we get together, the conversation invariably goes on and on – happily for both of us. He collaborated with us on the menu, with success I might add.
As a slight aside, bear in mind: beer education is not within the exclusive domain of a beer oriented host location. We’ve held successful meet-up’s at non brewery oriented places with very positive results. What’s critical are open minded guests and hosts.
Beer and gelato. Time to open more minds. What’s on your weekend menu?
It takes so little to make people happy.
Quality beer, lively company, fun atmosphere, and terrific hosts. When I say ‘little’ I don’t mean minimally or small things. It’s the effort part. Let me explain.
If you’re going to do something, then you’re going to put effort into it, right? And if you’re going to put effort into it, you may as well make sure you’re doing yourself, the effort and all related resources to good use. Otherwise, don’t bother. Plus – women don’t like half-baked attempts.
At the All Ale The Ladies event Sunday last (6.5.11) in Washington DC, everything was spot on. Yes, it was crowded (how many dozens of women wanted to come that got turned away!?). And the energy was off the charts!!! The energy compensation alone made the squished-in-a-small-space-college-party-feel totally acceptable.
It was a distinct pleasure to be a featured guest speaker – in great company, might I add – as well. In honor of the women in attendance (and a few sporting men), during my brief spotlight turn I spontaneously had the entire room raise their right hand and pledge:
“I am a Woman/Who enjoys my beer/
And no one else can tell me/What beers to like or drink.”
It’s almost needless to say that there was a huge and uproarious ‘Cheers!’ to the pledge when we were done.
Really, it’s simple: get engaged participants in the same room (women), serve them right (fresh quality beer and food), take care of them (service again), thank them for coming (external customer experience), thank the generous hosts (internal customer experience), talk about beer (education), treat them with respect as consumers (no-brainer for too few), and you’ll hit it way beyond out of the park. Try the next county.
My sincere gratitude goes out to the following for inviting me to be part of this event. And for putting together and executing such a successful and impactful evening of Women in Beer:
Thanks from the bottom of my glass and heart! Hope to see you all sooner again that later.
Here’s a whole slew of fabulous pictures by Heather McAndrews to enjoy.
Smirk if you will – just know that I love vinyl records. And in listening to them lately, going through the literally stacks of them I have, I came across one called Fifteen for Fitness. It looks to be a 50’s era elementary school classroom fitness exercise set to music.
So I tried it this morning. And when I was done, not only was my blood pumping, I realized the simple overarching idea can transfer to female craft beer consumers.
Here’s “Fifteen for Female Craft Beer Fitness” for you today. Fifteen simple things you can do to earn more female craft beer participation.
Let’s shatter the misnomer some people think (women don’t like beer) here and replace it right now: WOMEN LIKE BEER.
Women of all kinds like all kinds of beers. Women like beers they’ve had already, they like beers that haven’t had, they don’t like all beers they’ve had nor will they like them all either.
The key is to remove beer racism. Remove any thinking or preconceived anythoughts from the idea that there is such a thing as a ‘Ladies beer’ (and kill the term ‘Ladies’ too while we’re at it).
All people will engage when given the chance in anything they may be interested in. Women are part of these ‘all people’. Don’t think of craft beer as a drink for just men, as some brewers have clearly and mistakenly communicated over years and years of time and advertising. I seriously doubt that the bad ad progenitor actually asked women “would you like to be portrayed as all jiggle and no brain” in past campaigns.
Okay – I take that back. Do it if you don’t respect women or want to insult the females you care about in your life (family, friends, colleagues).
There is no such thing as a ‘woman’s beer’. Just like there’s no such thing as a ‘man’s beer’. Anyone who even remotely thinks that (or that idea is the answer) is seriously misinformed. Or pandering. Or both. However well intentioned – they are misinformed. This kind of thinking sets movement in a reverse motion, not moving forward.
The next time someone asks me, “what kind of beer do women want/like/enjoy?” – I’ll smile and tell them the answer I give myself: The One In Front Of Them.
Can you see the mountain in this picture?
Assuming you don’t have SuperHero powers to see through clouds, does it mean that the mountain is not there? Of course not – it’s still there, whether you recognize it or not.
You have to look through what may be unclear or unsure to see the future. If you have been involved in any way in bringing your beer to market, then you do know how to envision the future. Take it further be developing and serving women. Let me clarify.
Like this picture, there is most certainly something ‘there’ even though you may not be able to see it right now. Chances are good there is already a portion of your sales that are from female consumers. Women as market share to significantly grow your craft beer brands is like the cloudiness here: You must have a belief in that fact that women already do and will continue to help your brand either grow or wither.
Women influence 80% of purchases across all categories. To ignore them simply because you don’t see them as 80% influencers in your brands’ success would be shortsighted and foolish.
Seeing the forest and the trees is how you must approach the female beer consumer. They are there. They are waiting. Some are engaged. Some want to be more engaged. Some don’t even know they want to engage until you do help them (I’m a former poster child of the last variety).
All brands start small and all market share is small until you actively pursue and attract the target. Make sure you not only see the potential. Make sure you proactively do something about it.
Would you leave 80% of a batch of your beer just sitting there? Then why would you not see women as worthy market share?
Can you afford to not recognize this opportunity?
Here’s what’s good about it:
Here’s what’s still off about it:
The majority of the population on the planet are female. Women directly and indirectly affect fully 80% of purchasing decisions. In all categories.
If you want to build market share in any business, good or service, wake up and smell the beer. Ask women what they want before you assume or put your own opinions on them with out asking them first. Seriously, how is this not obvious??
**Hundreds of female consumers all across the country share they do not want products marketed to them in the color pink. They state clearly in research focus groups that the use of pink is effective and appropriate for those brands that already own it: Barbie, Breast Cancer, and Victoria Secret.
Let’s face it, the Craft Beer Industry – the beer industry in general – has tended to overlook the female side of the market. The point is not so much marketing TO women, but in making sure they are included in the party. Ginger Johnson is not only adept at educating brewers to open their eyes to this under served market segment, but in giving brewer’s practical ways to tap this enormous market potential.
Hugh Sisson, Founder and General Partner for Clipper City Brewing Co.
Brewers of Heavy Seas Beers