Themed Week Marketing: Achieving sales success with new marketing strategies

Thee illuminated bottles on a dark background
© Pixabay, User: tookapic

Declining beer consumption in western industrial countries has tightened the markets for brewers. But modern marketing solutions can help boost sales, and visitors to the upcoming drinktec will discover the latest concepts.

Following a lengthy dry spell, the craft beer boom is a welcome sign for the German brewing industry. With the success of the local craft beer market, the number of breweries is increasing again. While statistics showed fewer than 1,300 German breweries in 2006, ten years later there are more than 1,400 – and that doesn’t even include the new microbreweries. But the momentum is strongest among the small, creative manufacturers, and new high-quality beers are introduced almost weekly. “Consumers have never had as great a selection as they do today,” says Holger Eichele, head of the German Brewers’ Association in Berlin.

German brewers look to the U.S. market

Shrinking beer consumption coupled with the growing variety of beers makes business more complicated for established brewers, who need to invest more than ever in new marketing concepts. This is why many brewers are looking closely at the American beer market, where a remarkable development has taken place within the last twenty years – thanks to unusual beers and intelligent marketing strategies. According to U.S. industry associations, the large breweries have been overrun by a cottage industry of more than 4,000 breweries. A similar trend, while not on the same scale, is also occurring in many European countries.

The country needs new marketing concepts

This shift is forcing brewers to invest in new marketing strategies to distinguish themselves from the competition. Marketing centered around conventional retail markets and the church steeple no longer work here. It is now the young brewers in the craft beer scene that frequently generate new impulses for the market, test online sales channels and publicize their products through social media like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. While the master brewer in a traditional brewery used to be anonymous, the makers of craft beer – in keeping with the American example – are the centerpieces of their brands. Creative brewers, not sales managers, headline the numerous craft beer festivals, trade shows and events, speaking directly to their usually young consumers about what makes their latest pale ale, dry-hopped stout or ale creation special. Outstripping the classic sales atmosphere, they generate emotional and transparent connections with the customers.

The Craft beer movement makes traditional marketing hip again

The craft beer movement has also changed the traditional marketing environment by billposting and incorporating artful flyers, labels and stickers. Even traditional advertising items such as bottle openers and coasters feature fresh designs rather than the old-fashioned motifs. For the young brewers, beers don’t just quench your thirst: they’re a lifestyle product. Ultimately, the creativity that goes into producing individual brews should also be reflected in the marketing tools.

Marketing is about more than just packaging

Packaging is a crucial marketing tool for small and medium-sized breweries aiming to capture new market shares beyond the mainstream with specialty beers. Like a fine cognac or single malt whiskey, high-priced beers are increasingly presented with sophisticated styling. The perceived value of the beer plays a major role – as can be seen in the new designs of bottles and cans. But marketing specialists point out that all of these tools need to be integrated in an overall concept, as single solutions tend to quickly fizzle out. Marketing is not just about the packaging, but also the product’s details – whether it’s made with solar energy or organic ingredients, the color of the beverage, etc.

At the upcoming drinktec, marketing will play a central role. Many sources of inspiration are in store at the trade fair – all types of advertising material, PoS solutions, effective interior and exterior advertising as well as the development of complex marketing strategies. In addition, the Innovation Flow Lounge in Hall B1 will provide an opportunity for decision-makers from marketing, product management and purchasing, along with agency heads and designers, to meet and exchange ideas. Some of the exciting topics include: “What happens at the point of sale,” and “How can I influence the purchasing behavior of the customer.” More information is available in the supporting program.

Innovation Flow Lounge is supported by:

  • Döhler
  • FoodBev Media
  • KHS
  • Sahm GmbH

Mareike Hasenbeck

Mareike Hasenbeck is a freelance journalist with her own craft beer blog (Feiner Hopfen), she is also a beer sommelier and an international expert for beer sensory certified by the DLG (German Agricultural Society).