Successful Business Ingredients

The ingredients of business are pretty basic. Most of the foundations of planning, operating and sustaining a successful business are as they’ve been for a realllllly long time.

Marketing is one of those basics.

Marketing is:

  • Communication
  • Dialogue
  • A many-wayed avenue
  • Dynamic
  • Exciting
  • Methodical
  • Necessary
  • Productive

Marketing isn’t:

  • Advertising
  • Sales
  • “Only” any one thing
  • Nothing – aka “cheap” (as in ‘talk is cheap’)
  • Something everyone can do successfully

When you want a firm foundation, you must look to those who are the experts in the areas in which you can reply upon. Every business owner and operator should interview candidates for services and goods – everything from insurance agents to concrete providers, from web pros to marketers.

You want the best you can afford, when you can afford it for what you are working on. As well you should.

Ask valued friends, colleagues and other qualified people for their referrals. DO NOT ask your neighbor who isn’t in the same realm, or your cousin who is still in school , or even a best friend who can’t wrap their head around what you’re after. Ask people who will have an informed suggestion backed up by credible information, whether it’s from their own experiences or directly from another they know.

Marketing is communication. Well thought out professional marketing strategy and tactics help business flourish. Poorly executed ‘plans’ spell disaster.

Here’s what some of our fine clients and partners have shared about working with us.  Follow up with recommendations – ultimately your decisions are your responsibilities.

A few go-to resources I’d recommend to look at the foundations of business include:

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Women + Beer: Ask Lots of Questions

We’re curious beings, we humans. As with many species we watch, inquire, investigate and explore. Go with that impulse.

The number one person you should be talking with is your customer. In specific, if you’re in the beer business, talking to women customers, buyers and drinkers.

What are you talking to women about?

What are you talking to women about?

Here are 5 reasons why:

1. Women make up fully half the population. Include this powerful group of people in your brand conversations and marketing.

2. American women make between 75 – 85% of all purchasing decisions, across categories. You want them to buy? Then engage them. Visit Marti’s site for more affirmation. Faith’s work is insightful as well.

3. Women like to talk about their experiences. We’ve heard before a positive experience gets chatted about and a negative one spreads like wildfire. Go for the steady chatter pattern.

4. With all the talk about growing the beer business, I’ve yet to see brands really slap their forehead and exclaim “WOW! Why haven’t we thought about women before?!” Why indeed.

5. Beer needs women. Having equitable representation in the consumer pool as well as in the professional arena is critical to a better global equilibrium, better for societies as a whole, and again representational of the actual population.

Talk to your female customers about beer. Ask them open-ended questions, be mindful of their time, and thank them for their input. NEVER argue. Always educate.

Need help figuring this landscape out? Call us. As the industry leaders of women + beer, there’s much we can do together for your success, starting with her first.

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Marketing Navigation

Are you entirely 100% self-sufficient?

Please pause and think before you respond.

  1. Do you ever call a plumber, architect, gardener, mechanic, cook, or carpet cleaner?
  2. When was the last time you visited a doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, dentist, or business coach?
  3. Did you build your home, is it fully self sustainable due to your efforts?
  4. Do you get food at grocery stores and farmers markets?
  5. Do you use a dry cleaner, visit a pizza parlor, or make your own ice cream?

If you said yes to any of these and you’re a business, then it’s time to examine hiring the right person for Market Navigation.

Marketing is a crucial part of business life. Here’s a good article on the topic. Hiring the right marketing pro to help you build a business of any sort is a smart move. Just as hiring an architect is the best and usually only legal practice in planning a safe and functional space. If only businesses had to get the sign off of a pro marketer – what a great fantasy!

Hiring the right Marketing pro: The dawn of your success

Hiring the right Marketing pro: The dawn of your success

I don’t say that out of greed – I say it out of relief. Smart businesses, organizations, associations and groups that would have to have proper plans in place. It’d weed out a lot of inept and potentially corrupt folks, bad products and would help self police for professionalism across industry lines and categories. It’d greatly improve the general public’s view of marketing and advertising – though distinctly different, they are related. It’d be liberating to know that pros had been called in to get the businesses set up for best success, both internally and externally.

What a fantasy.

Thing is, this fantasy can be reality for all. Investigate marketers, call friends for recommendations, interview potential marketers and marketing companies to see how they can fit with what your dreams, goals, and practices are. Hire the ones that fit, develop a clear Letter of Agreement, and be totally wide open in your communications.

I guarantee it’d be good for the marketing industry as well. There are really good ones and really poor ones and everything in between. A bit more standardizing would be in order.

Look to a marketing pro for your successful business navigation. Think of them as partners in moving you forward by adding their strengths and skills to yours in a complementary fashion.

Being self-sufficient means knowing when to add a helping mind and set of hands to your pursuits. It’s a sign of strength and a productive way to make progress. Citing lack of money is a cop out and holds no water here. Everyone has money for what they need – and the world needs much better Marketing forethought and navigation.


A few recommendations:

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Comment on Big Data Download Article

Instead of signing in *yet* to another account in order to comment online, I opted to not do so. Since I had drafted the comment in response to this article, I wanted to post it freely here.

1. Here’s the Article, States That Drink The Most Beer, by Big Data Download

2. Here’s my comment:

“I continue to find it ironic and ignorant that articles like this and many writers and journalists who seemingly cover the beer topic (frequently to always) negate the potential female beer drinker. Where is this included in the future looking? If people are so damn reliant on stats, they must keep in mind: stats are static. They’re previously measured facts. They don’t account at all for the Why in the purchasing decisions.

Why wasn’t someone like myself or the authority of Marketing to Women Marti Barletta, Trendsight Group, consulted for this piece? It’s lacking, seriously. More than that it’s incomplete information and therefore connotes a certain ignorance, however unintended – though this day in age all populations need to be factored in.

The breweries of America – and the globe over – are surging. They will need new market share to be developed to support them. the fact that so many breweries overlook this STILL, of all sizes, absolutely baffles me.

You’ve got to know your market and you’ve got to know how to develop new markets. Women aren’t a new market, they buy the vast majority of all goods and services and are still not included. Stunning. Sad. Unacceptable.

Ginger Johnson, Founder, Women Enjoying Beer”

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The Value Of Consultants

The great thing about consultants is you hire them, they do the work you’ve charged them with, you pay them and they leave.

So says Dr. Michael Lewis – and he’s right, as he many times is. Dr. Lewis stated this sentiment at the 2012 Craft Brewers Conference. I made it intentional that I attended Dr. Lewis’ talk as he’s highly knowledgeable based on decades of experience, his information is always a great learning opportunity for me, and he’s quite entertaining.

When he talked about consultants, I all but stood up to applaud. There aren’t that many of us in the beer community and WEB is for sure the only one doing what we do. Anywhere on the planet for that matter. The small constituency of qualified consulting professionals that directly support the beer community has been incredibly fortifying and reinforcing for me. People like Sam Merritt, JB Shireman, Lucy Saunders, Mike Kallenberger, Scott Webber, and David Kapral. Marti Barletta has been open armed and super helpful and generous in her collegiality as well. I always want to meet and know more since we also can help each other out within the consulting ranks; sharing best practices, information exchange that helps us better serve the industry, and provide professional support.

Consultants serve a true purpose. They have focused information and expertise you can immediately apply. They are creative, innovative, flexible, and eager to help. They are solid value for what you are seeking out. They can see the forest and the trees, which not all business owners, operators and investors can when they’re in the thick of executing their passion and goals. We provide a neutral and reasoned perspective, bringing knowledge outside of the existing talent pool that greatly contributes to the successes you’re aiming for.

Hiring consultants for the job at hand is a smart move. See them as an available choice, just as you would staff. Before they were employees they obviously were not and there’s a reason for why they are now. Some were in fact consulting, and the rest were great choices (hopefully since you hired them). Seek them out, ask the consultants you do know for referrals since we all specialize in different areas.

Like Dr. Lewis stated, don’t view consultants as vendors. View them as colleagues. Bring them in to help you out. Do not ask them to work for free – you don’t. You’ll be glad you did.

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With a Nod to Marti Barletta

I’d be remiss if I neglected to thank Marti Barletta before the month was over. She’s been supportive and receptive and helpful. Marti is THEE one I go to for learning more about marketing to women.

Allow me to expound.

Marti’s book, Marketing To Women, was one of the first books I bought when I launched Women Enjoying Beer. It was fascinating, eye-opening and affirming all at once. I was no longer a lone voice in the woods – although there are still too few people who seriously even begin to understand the value, sustainability and loyal customers women can be. And the beer community at large is still in need of knowing – hence, why we keep forging ahead.

I was grateful to ‘find’ someone else in this forest of specializing in marketing to women.

Her second book, Prime Time Women, is equally helpful and “YES!” style.  In it, she talks very clearly and plainly about the fact that women in their prime time years are one of the markets for any marketer and hence business to pursue.

You can find her books here – and I recommend you buy them. I rarely give so strong of an endorsement. Marti’s due that, with a vigorous nod.

Today I want to thank her sincerely. Keep it up, Marti! Can’t wait to enjoy a beer with you again.

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Marketing Beer To Women, Part 2: Know Your Market

Yesterday we launched what will surely be a long series about Marketing Beer To Women. Yes, it’s different than marketing to ‘everyone’ or marketing to men. You don’t market tampons to men and you don’t market elder care to teenagers. While beer is universal, marketing is not.

Today’s topic is Knowing Your Market. Marketing isn’t a difficult concept to understand, yet you do in fact need to understand it to market effectively. Marketing is marketing. Marketing ISN’T advertising, sales or anything else. Just as brewing isn’t distributing or reselling beer.

Know Your Market

One of the resources that helped me understand that marketing isn’t advertising is Sam’s book, Brewing Up A Business. I’d highly recommend this read. Sam is straight forward and on target.

Another primary resource I’d absolutely recommend reading, if not require for all marketers, is Marti Barletta’s Marketing to Women. Anyone selling anything that does not yet understand that women make 80% of all purchasing decisions across category lines needs to get up to speed.

Here are some of WEB’s research based guidelines for you to follow in marketing beer to women:


  • If you don’t know your market, get to know it First – THEN market to it
  • All this applies to both genders
  • Assume nothing
  • It’s an equal and different playing field
  • No sexism is ever necessary or appropriate (any -ism for that matter)

Market research to me used to be an “out there” term. Now I totally understand it and can help any business, particularly the beer community, in properly marketing to women based in research.

Let me put it another way, if you’re not researching your market before opening your doors, you’re setting yourself up to go backwards. Building it assuming they will come is naive and short sighted. And it’s not only disrespectful to the market you think you’re trying to encourage, it could be fatal.

Set yourself up for success: Know Your Market. Market research does just that.

Tomorrow – Part 3: General Guidelines to help you Market Beer To Women

Yesterday – Part 1: Three Universal Truths

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Worth Repeating: No Such Thing As A "Woman's Beer"

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.]

Photo by Kate K Parks

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).


  • Women influence 80% of purchases, across all categories.
  • Females comprise over half the global population.

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.



Here's a Lot Of What Matters Now

Hats off to Seth (again). Marti (Barletta), as usual, it’s a productive inspiration to read your thoughts. Thanks. Here’s Marti’s piece on Strengths.

“Forget about working on your weaknesses —> Focus on supporting your strengths.

I worked on my weaknesses for 40 years to little avail. Still “needs improvement,” as they say. Why? Easy. We hate doing things we’re not good at, so we avoid them. No practice makes perfect hard to attain.

But my strengths – ah, I love my strengths. I’ll work on them till the purple cows come home. When we love what we do, we do more and more, and pretty soon we’re pretty good at it.

The beautiful thing about being on a team is that, believe it or not, lots of people love doing the things you hate. And hate doing the things you love. So quit diligently developing your weaknesses. Instead, partner with someone very UNlike you, share the work and share the wealth and everyone’s happy.

Relatedly, women are rather UNlike men and often approach problems and opportunities with a different outlook. Yet books and coaches often encourage us to adopt male strengths and, lacking understanding, to relinquish our own. Thee irony is, studies show that more women in leadership translates unequivocally into better business results.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for both men and women to appreciate each other’s strengths so we all work on what comes naturally?

Marti Barletta, speaker, consultant and author of Marketing to Women and PrimeTime Women; is currently working on her next book, Attracting Women: Marketing Your Company to the 21st Century’s Best Candidates”

I highly recommend you download What Matters Now – it’s chock FULL of good stuff, things to act on and ponder. Then use to go out and change the world.

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10 Things Women Want Series: Part 1 – Address the Consumer as the Consumer

When’s the last time you intentionally educated yourselves on marketing beer to women? If you’re a business – what’s your answer? If you’re a consumer, when’s the last time you spoke up directly to a brewery or beer business about what you want?

Today we launch a 10 part series of What Women Want – 10 things women all over the USA have told Women Enjoying Beer specifically about per their relationship with beer. Let’s get to it.

Ask Women What They Want

Part 1: Address the consumer side from just that – the consumer angle.

WEB is the only group anywhere on the planet doing specific work anchored in the relationship female consumers have with beer – or why they don’t have one at all. There are other industry and recreation groups. WEB info is singular in that it comes right from the woman’s lens – not the agency or marketers lens, not from the men’s lens, not from the existing female enthusiasts lens.

In order to really understand marketing beer to women, you have to throw out any expert lens, any snob or geek glasses, any preconceived notions and thinking and see it from the fresh perspective of a consumer.

Females want to be asked then listened too per their relationships. They don’t want to have false assumptions and philosophies based on incorrect data, inaccurate stereotypes or otherwise incorrect information shoved down societies collective throat. That’s not only dangerous, it’s intentionally ignorant and lazy.

If you did that you’d be dead wrong and your business would suffer accordingly. Pay attention to what women have to say – not what you think they think or base it on a narrow slice of the female pie.

In order for your accuracy to be just that, you also need to talk to women 21 years of age to over, well, as aged as the female beer enthusiast gets. And here’s a nugget – the female baby boomers are a huge opportunity within the female market share. Numbers’ wise, it’s an incredibly large portion of all women everywhere. Bigger than a few other ‘desirable’ marketing categories – combined. Read Marti’s book for more information.

So when you are looking at addressing the 50.9% of the population who happen to be female in relation to your beer, go to them first. Make sure it is from the consumer side.

Nothing else will do. And the potential gain is huge.

Parts 2 – 10 coming soon. Sign up to get the daily scoop and be ahead of the pack.

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Marketing To Women

Marti Barletta's M2W - great resource

Yesterday I shared one of my highly recommended resources and today I want to share another.

Marti Barletta has been specializing in Marketing To women for a while now – she’s sharp, dedicated, knows her business and has been highly valuable to companies who want to truly and authentically market to women.

Women Enjoying Beer nods in her direction. I read Marti’s Book, Marketing To Women, 2nd Edition, when I started WEB. It is also one of my go-to and return-to resources.

Marketing beer to women, while not Marti’s specialty, is mine. When you can understand and acknowledge that marketing to different groups is just that – different – then you are headed in the right direction.

p.s. The Bittersweet group should read this book….

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What tools are in your tool box?

Adage from Sullivision: Tools left in the toolbox never built anything.

And, adding to that, unless you pick up the tools to build something new or repair something in need of attention, you’re never going to get anywhere.

For those of you in the beer business community – breweries, restaurants, vendors, suppliers, retailers, distributors – you’ll never go one step farther earning female market share unless you pick up the right tool to genuinely garner the female beer consumers’ attention. You don’t deserve it if you don’t use the right tools and you’ll certainly pay for it if you use the wrong tools.

How do you know which tools to use?

Ask women what they want, gather data from them, apply it properly. As a specialist, I can tell you that there are so many ill fated attempts to market to women because the lens is all wrong.

The lens has to be from the woman’s perspective; not from yours, no matter how smart you think you are (or actually are). And regardless of if you’re a women in the industry – being of the industry is different than being the consumer.

You’re not the woman, she is. Ask her, act on that information and you’ll both come out ahead.

Like Marti Barletta says, the first rule of marketing is to understand your market. The second? Understand your consumer.

Here, here!

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Marketing to Women.

Marketing to Men.

Marketing to Martians.

Good heavens – if you can’t figure out that you first have to KNOW YOUR MARKET, then you shouldn’t be pursuing the share in the first place.

When you don’t know your market, of course, your efforts may be clumsy, off the mark, inaccurate, insulting. So – back to point A. KNOW YOUR MARKET (KYM).

Any market segment is no harder than another when you know the KYM rule first.

Booze News take note. (here are a few good ideas…not all applicable)

The answer is no because the industry has traditionally, not entirely though, seen marketing to women through a male lens. Of course that won’t work. Duh.

Stupidity is insulting.

Start with Marti Barletta‘s Book, Marketing to Women. That will start anyone wanting to authentically capture womens’ market share a good start.

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