It’s Time to Disrupt the Sampling, Tasting, and Activation Models in Spirits, and Wine Promotion

It’s time to disrupt and innovate the promotion and marketing model of spirits, wine, and beer. Sampling and tasting methods of marketing are broken and hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted on what brands perceive to be tried and true models. 

In Blue Ocean Strategy parlance, there is a need for a new value proposition. One of the ways a new value proposition is developed is via the ERRC Grid in Blue Ocean Strategy.

One goes through the current strategic key factors of competition and makes the hard decisions around what may be eliminated, reduced, raised, and created. Hence, ERRC. The culmination of the ERRC exercise is a new value proposition. Ideally, one that creates Blue Oceans of uncontested market space. 

In the image below, one can see the power of the process. In the Four Actions Framework, the practitioner is lead to ask key questions around what should be eliminated, raised, reduced, and created. 

I contend it is well past time for these processes to be used to address the broken spirits, wine, and beer sampling and activation models.

Sampling and tasting as a marketing method are okay in and of themselves. They just aren’t good enough anymore. The competition is too strong and the market for spirits, wine, and beer are under more competition than ever. 

My take on what should be don’t in the marketing of samplings, tastings, and activations are made clear in the image below. 

Elimination should include street teams, point of sale merch and other schemes sold by agencies are useless spends. If the giveaways are not attached to measurable digital metrics the dollars may as well be burned at the distillery.

Reduction of out-of-home advertising, in-store tastings without real strategic planning, and poorly targeted advertising should be a priority.

Raising of priorities around highly targeted advertising and converting all samplings and tastings into actionable micro-moments with associated measurements. If you’re not advertising as a bourbon brand to the individuals that have visited the bourbon aisle of your retailers two to three times in the last six months, you’re dropping the ball. 

Finally, the creation of true brand ambassador success metrics that have to do with integrated depletion goals as well as truly individualized post-sampling or post-tasting marketing after every event. 

More on these topics will be forthcoming this week. If you’re seeking innovation and wish to discuss more advanced strategically-minded marketing for your brand. Reach out. I would be honored to chat with you.

Sherman Mohr is an Insead Blue Ocean Strategy Institute Certified Blue Ocean Strategist and CEO of Shared Spirits. Shared Spirits is a marketing, tech, and software firm specializing in the spirits and wine space.