Are You Getting Your Beer Money?
I studied beer for most of a semester in college.
In one of the most interesting marketing classes I attended at Ohio
University, the professor discussed beer, a product with many distinct brands
yet similar attributes.
During the first lesson, the professor poured 10 different beers into glasses;
we students had to identify them. Out of 30 kids, only three were able to
identify more than three of the brand names correctly. The professor then
introduced us to the concept of positioning a product to market it to a
taught me a lot about the power of positioning and, perhaps just as important, that
beers will forever need advertising to brand and sell their product. Which
brings me to the point of this article: Are you getting your fair share of beer
Beers primarily are after young men 21–34, so these suggestions are
directed at radio stations targeted to reach that demo. (However, before you
toss out the can with the suds, I’ve witnessed non-demo stations win over the
local beer boys too; we’ll get to that at the end.)
If you’ve got great ratings in the target, you likely are getting called
in for pitches already; but just because you have a seat at the table doesn’t
mean you’ll get your unfair share. Beers want promotions, and they’re going to get
them one way or the other … if not from the ratings winner, from someone else
who knows how to play ball.
Assuming it’s legal in your area for a radio station to “present” parties
at bars, then by necessity you must deliver on this need. Beers love to “give”
parties promoted by stations to their clients (bars) for free, because the
clients assume you’ll drive a crowd to their premises. In turn, this allows the
beer to pressure the bar to serve (more of) their product.
As voice-tracking has taken out so many live bodies at radio stations,
the number of parties presented by stations has dropped. As a manpower
solution, I have seen stations hire part-time professional “hosts” for bar
parties – mobile DJ companies are great source of talent – and provide the
“host” with attractive prizes and an on-air promo schedule to drive attendance.
Sometime beers and bars ask for live broadcasts to drive attendance. Nothing
wrong with airing a few 30-second on-air call-ins from the bar done by your
“host.” To really impress, you could consider doing an entire live broadcast
either on one of your HD channels or streamed live on your website.
The truth is
that for the beers and bars, it is often as much about the theater of doing the
“live show” as the number of actual listeners.
Action Item No. 2 in your pitch is branding. In how many ways can you
include the beer’s brand name in your major events (where they may also get
pouring rights)? Or in your on-air programming? “The Molson 90’s Six-Pack at
Six … when you get six in a row from last century.”
Perhaps most important, you’ve got to have decent merchandising.
This is where I’ve witnessed stations out of the demo grab the biggest
order. Merchandising includes anything the local distributor can use to their
advantage for the clients or their own sales force. Hot tickets to concerts and
events are a winner. Electronics always bring a smile – imagine being able to
offer a 12-pack of iPads for a certain spending level! My personal favorites
are prizes that can’t typically be purchased. The tried-and-true include: The
“best seats in the house,” a couch on the side of the concert stage; a
voicemail message recorded on your mobile phone by a favorite recording artist;
lunch with a celebrity; and being guest photographer at a professional sports
event, with your pics being placed on the station’s website.
beer companies and distributors also is very much a relationship business. Your
reps must invest the time to really get to know the decision-makers. This takes
patience. It helps if the rep likes … what else? The specific beer!
The author is president of Lapidus
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